Photo via Mark Smith
I was a little late to the party when it comes to The Faint. I had heard their studio works in passing and although I found them to be interesting, I had never felt compelled to absorb them into my system. Then at the end of a long festival day at FYF a couple years ago (see photos of The Faint at FYF), I stopped to check them out on my way out of the festival. I was exhausted and wanted to get out of the dusty environment but promised a friend that I was hanging with that I would check out a few songs before I left. Less than a minute into their set, I began to get a second wind. My muscles were no longer tired and my feet started moving. After the few songs I committed to were over, I decided that I wanted to see the rest of their set and after a long, hot day of festival-ing, The Faint delivered one of the most energetic sets of the weekend.
I was super impressed and immediately began backtracking to some previous releases like Danse Macabre and Wet From Birth. It had been over a decade since the release of the former and it became obvious to me what a huge influence The Faint had on the music of today. They accepted the responsibility of creating something original and exciting in the wake of the post grunge, pre nu-metal vortex, as the music industry took its last gasps. I see their influence on the indie bands of today who gained popularity through the “share button” rather than the record store. They have given shape to the identity crisis that existed between rock and dance music.
When I became aware that The Faint were playing three dates at The Roxy in West Hollywood this past weekend, I became excited to see them in a more intimate setting. My classification had changed from casual observer to an outright fan and unlike last time when I saw them play on a fluke, they were actually supporting a new album called Doom Abuse, released on SQE Music.
First of all, I love it when bands choose to play three small shows rather than one big one and The Faint could’ve easily booked the Shrine Auditorium and headed to the next city when that show was done. Instead they opted for good sound and a packed house. I went to night two of their three nights at The Roxy.
When the curtain went up and the first note was played, the crowd was instantly moving, clapping, dancing and singing along. I’ve noticed when bands play multiple dates in L.A. that night one is usually the worst. I always try to go to the second night because there is not the typical delayed reaction of the “me first” L.A. audience. On night two the connection was instant and the energy of the band lingered long after they left the stage. There is nothing like a clubshow for an established band. We all knew why we were there and who we were there to see. The audience was tightly packed but not oversold because there were three nights. We were close enough to each other to generate a little friendly friction but not over capacity so as to be uncomfortable and minus a few issues in the house mix, the band was PERFECT. The Faint delivered that same gritty, digitally woven, rock influenced, electronically rhythmic performance I appreciated the first time I saw them and with the benefit of a good view. I could really see the amazing stage presence of Todd Fink, the six-string prowess of Michael Dappen, the programmatic mastery of Jacob Thiele and even though he lost the click track a few times, Clark Baechle on drums did not make it noticeable to the casual observer.
A lot of bands since new wave in the 80’s have tried to fuse rock with digital and analog synths. I can comfortably say now that I’ve caught up with what the Faint have created that they are the standard.
Words: Danny Baraz