The Faint | 06.12.14

The Faint soon found its groove by slipping into what the crowd wanted: songs from its Saddle Creek heyday.

live the-faint

Gothic Theatre, Denver

The last time I saw The Faint had to have been a decade ago. As is my preference, I was up front, anxiously awaiting the time when they would take the stage. And then they did…and I was almost bruised by the slam dancing. This time around, there was none of that. Although some of the audience danced—mostly to the songs from the band’s heyday—the crowd seemed to have aged more than the band. I saw more beards, long hair, and mullets (!) than indie hipster kids; as a matter of fact, I didn’t see any kids. This was a 31+ crowd, easily.

After opening with two songs off the latest album, Doom Abuse, The Faint found its groove by slipping into what the crowd wanted: songs from its Saddle Creek heyday. Following “Desperate Guys” was a two-hour set heavy on tracks from breakout 2001 album Danse Macrabre, as well as welcome selections from Blank-Wave Arcade and Wet from Birth. It was six or seven songs before vocalist Todd Fink (looking very much like Beck with his long hair and brimmed black hat) spoke, and when he did, his voice was hoarse. Perhaps this was the reason for the muddy vocals at tonight’s show. The keyboards swelled and dominated; they did the singing for him.

At times, I watched members of the audience to see how they were reacting. Most of the crowd was restrained, moving in place, standing, or even sitting (seriously??). Along the upstairs balcony rail was a guy in green t-shirt who danced ecstatically during the older songs and stood still for the new ones. Despite the fact that there was very little pot smoke curling up artistically into the fog machine’s output (this is Denver, after all), a short-haired girl in front of me wore a bandanna like a Western outlaw. And behind me, the most annoying gay guy screamed himself hoarse—and me almost deaf—calling for “Erection.” I was beyond happy that he never got it.

As is the band’s M.O., video images ran occasionally in the background. There were five screens: two on either side of the drum set and one in front of it. I found myself yearning for the old video that accompanied “Agenda Suicide,” but it was not to be. What we got instead was distracting and unimaginative, with far too much eyeball imagery. More effective were the colorful, strobing spotlights, shining spastically into the audience.

I spent a lot of time watching Jacob Thiele, who ruled the night. His energy and dancing and flying hair and backing vocals and bass guitar strokes and lead guitar insanity was The Faint. (I’m sorry, Dapose; you’ve been deposed. What I remembered was a wildly flailing whirling dervish; although energetic, tonight’s performance paled in comparison.)

Touring behind a relatively good new album, The Faint tonight proved they can still work up a crowd, even if in a tamer manner than in years prior. That crowd, however, prefers to live in the past, dropkicking the punks, getting worked up so sexual, disappearing, and dancing through paranoia attacks. Still, we left happy and satisfied—and isn’t that what it’s all about? | Laura Hamlett


About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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