Concert Review: The Faint @ 9:30 Club (8/3/19)

The Faint
The Faint live! (Photo from FB @thefaint)

Pull up a chair, and get ready for The Faint.

The Faint brought their exciting new album, Egowerk, to full bear for those ready to dance at the 9:30 Club on August 3rd. Egowerk is their eighth non-remix album since 1995, and of the 19 songs they performed over the course of the evening, they injected our minds with four from the new album.

They kicked off their late set (started about 10:30pm after Ritual Howls and Closeness opened) with “Quench the Flame” from Egowerk. We were blinded by the four giant towers of stage lights, flashing and pulsing throughout the set. Each song manifested the 9:30 Club into a live rainbow of colors; first orange, then red, then purple and everything in between.

Todd Fink (on vocals) consistently danced and strutted across the stage, mic ever poised to lips, his black hat a beacon amidst the lights. He often ended up at his keyboard during the musical interludes, maybe it was an opportunity to rest his voice, as most of the lyrics in The Faint’s songs are a mouthful to get out. Todd had to pause often and sway both body and free hand to the rhythm of his verbosely lyrical poetry. He told epic tales and we engaged raptly.

Dapose (aka Michael Dappen) was also all over the stage, shredding his three guitars like he was channeling a Van Halen video. Graham Ulicny (keyboard) and Clark Baechle (drums) furiously played on the edges, never leaving their posts, but never wavering to provide a rich atmosphere of dark and epic sound. Only Todd and Clark have remained in the band over it’s the entire run.

Then they went right into the classic “The Geeks Were Right”, providing all those in the not quite full 9:30 Club a spark of joy (presumably), bringing back memories of epic indie rock dance parties of a begone decade.

The weirdly titled and presented “Your Retro Career Melted” dropped robotic mating calls and a vocally enhanced chorus, giving Todd ample time to pretend like he was delivering a poetry slam. Next came “Southern Belles in London Sing”, which gives off a deep, resonate intro, almost like the score of an action movie.

“I Disappear” got everyone bounce clapping, with fuzzy guitars while “Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat” throbbed with fuzzy synth beats, and is about being bad on the inside, and spewing forth gossip and hate. Even though the song is almost 20 years old, it’s nothing like what’s happening today at all, right?

With “The Conductor” from 2001’s Danse Macabre, an album they drew from often (five songs), Todd went back to the distorted voice, amidst a doom and metal assault to the senses, and as you listen to the lyrics you can’t help believe it’s about him on that stage in that moment, intoning ‘They wave like a swarm of sound, you pull the sound from scores of notes, you step the stage and take control’. They ended the main set with “Paronoiattack” and elicited the crowd in motion to shout in unison ‘Paronoia!!’ at the top of their lungs, before heading off stage for hydration, and to stay loose for three more songs in the encore.

Refreshed, they dove into “Child Asleep” from Egowerk, and it instantly immersed us directly into the heart of a space opera battle, with its crashing computerized beats and faint-inducing hypnosis. It’s frenetic and fantastic. Certainly by now the stage lights had mesmerized us into submission, and this song pushed us over the edge.

But we weren’t done, they finished out the night with the even more intense “Agenda Suicide” and “Glass Danse”. We spilled out of the 9:30 Club in a wave of murmuring satisfaction.

Go to werk, and buy yourself a copy of Egowerk while it’s fresh in your mind. I also suggest treating yourself to 2008’s Fasciinatiion, that’s my favorite.

No doubt The Faint will be back, and the August show will be a hard act to follow, but definitely be there to find out.

Setlist
Quench the Flame
The Geeks Were Right
Desperate Guys
Your Retro Career Melted
Southern Belles in London Sing
Mental Radio
I Disappear
Chameleon Nights
Evil Voices
Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat
Skylab1979
Take Me to the Hospital
The Conductor
Young & Realistic
Worked Up So Sexual
Paronoiattack

Encore
Child Asleep
Agenda Suicide
Glass Danse

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Concert Review: The Faint @ 9:30 Club (8/3/19)”

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