The Faint at First Avenue


The Faint’s music isn’t what I typically jam out to. I remember snagging up their album Wet At Birth when the promo copy hit the desk at the record shop I worked at. The only reason I grabbed it was because they were on Saddle Creek Records which, even though it was based out of Omaha, NE, seemed local to me when growing up in Des Moines, IA. Saddle Creek is home to some of my favorite midwest bands including Cursive and Bright Eyes. Both of those bands are pretty calm compared to the metal I’m usually blasting into my ears but it was still super catchy and I quickly fell in love with everything on the label. The Faint was a stand out for me. Their music didn’t match the rest of the albums from Saddle Creek. It was more upbeat and energetic and sounded much closer to the techno genre than the indie-pop genre that majority of the Saddle Creek bands were and I liked it.

The Faint is somehow able to give me the feeling of being at a rave (which I absolutely love because it’s so energizing) without the rave culture (which I hate because I’m not a fan of the copious amounts of drugs and passed out people). I am able to jump up and down with my hands in the area, looking like a fool, surrounded by hundreds of other people doing the same thing and it is absolutely perfect.

The lights that go on during The Faint’s set are blinding at times. The amount of strobes and flashes and colors is unreal. I remember the first time I saw them and thinking about how crazy the lights were and how I wanted to be one of the people that creates said light shows. I hate when bands use intense light shows and backdrops to hide the fact that their music is sub par at best but that’s not why The Faint does it. Their music can stand alone. Honestly, I could watch these guys play in a dark room without any lights and be more than happy with the set. The lights just add to the energy and fun of the show.

I was mesmerized throughout the hour and a half long set. I couldn’t take my eyes off of stage. The way Todd Fink, the singer, moved around the stage was captivating and watching all of the other guys make this truly amazing music was more than enough to keep me interested. Even though I was exhausted from a long day at work, I felt a second wind come over me and found myself bouncing along to the music with the rest of the crowd.

One of the openers for the show was Gang of Four. These guys are a super influential group that started back in the 70’s and have stood the test of time even with lineup changes. The band only have one original member left (Andy Gill) but as someone who doesn’t really follow them, I didn’t notice. It felt like the members had been playing together forever. The music was a bit too 80’s for me but I got it and definitely see why band like R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers list these guys as one of the most important influences for them.

The other artist on this tour was Pictureplane. What I liked about Pictureplane is that, even though he’s a DJ, he doesn’t rely on samples to keep people’s interest. His set seemed to be mostly, if not all, original backing tracks with his lyrics on top and I really really respect that. Although it’s not my cup of tea, I get why he opened and didn’t skip out on his set. He had videos playing in the background that really had me glued to the TV screens around the venue. The videos were of “proof” that some people are reptilian humanoids… yeah, you read that right. There were clips of celebrities showing “reptilian like characteristics” like snake eyes, flickering tongues… Man, I don’t know… it was weird but, for someone like me who gets bored just watching a DJ, it gave me something to keep me interested.

Whenever I hear that The Faint are coming to town, I get excited. I know it’s going to be a great show with great openers and an amazing energy. I love being able to see them live. They are by far one of my favorite live bands out there.The energy that they give off, the music, the lights… everything about their show is everything I want in a concert and more.

If I could only pick five bands to watch live for the rest of my life The Faint would be at the top of that list. Who would be at the top of yours?