Reviews

Wet From Birth

Author: Ilana Taub
11/23/2004 | Synergymag.com | www.synergymag.com | Live Show Preview
You have to hand it to the Faint. For a band hailing from Emo-ha, they sure as hell know how to have fun. There could be no better setting for the uber-catchy dance indie music than the Los Angeles venue the Mayan, more often used for wild techno clubs than rock shows. The Faint took full advantage of all the lights and screens to put on an interactive visual show replete with synchronized video clips and lots and lots of flashing lights. Epileptics be warned this show is not for you. Everyone else however can put on your dancing shoes because you'd be hard pressed not to find yourself grooving to the most interesting and creative band from middle America since Devo.

Fresh off the release of their new (and totally amazing) album Wet from Birth, the Faint kicked off the show with "Birth," with a full montage of the birth cycle including little animated spermies and a naked woman's growing belly. The massive screens are meant to grab your attention as the stage lights hardly shine on the band at all during the show. Instead it seems every colored flashing strobe light was used to make the entire place come alive, as made apparent by the masses of people dancing from the floor to the balcony isles. Even the part of the crowd that was sitting was doing that ass dance you know, you ass is planted but your arms and head are getting funky.

Even though there are many images and colors to grab attention away from the main stage, this does not mean that the band was not worth watching. Singer Todd Baechle looks somewhat like a mad scientist with hair standing up, frantically moving about the stage as if he just created the most awesome sounding beast in his laboratory. It is a tough job being a guitarist in an electronic band because you aren't needed half the time, but that doesn't stop new addition Dapose from looking totally awesome on stage. He has this "I'm not using my guitar right now, but I'm gonna dance with it and do it well" thing down, going at it with his full body throughout the songs. He almost works like that guy from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones who dances around, except much cooler.

The Faint mixed off many songs from their last album Danse Macabre with new gems like "Erection" and "Paranoiattack." The visual show mixed up literal interpretations of songs with sneaky little editing tricks like during "Paranoiattack," where they took clips of broadcasters of the Fox News Channel and put in the lips of Todd mouthing the words. During their cover of the Talking Heads "Psycho Killer," the two main screens flashed images of ink written on arms with seemingly unrelated words (Crispy Dolphin? Infant Debate?) except for one flash in the middle: Heads Talking. One of the more original and entertaining video clips came during "Phone Call" where an animated man walking in a real park gets attacked by an animated snake and loses his arm. The catalyst for the clip seemed to have come from a carving on the park's walkway railing. Amongst the scratches of D + A and so-and-so forever, someone wrote Snake + Arm. Inspiration comes from the oddest places sometimes.

The hour long set concluded with the encore of "Agenda Suicide," their intense yet incredibly danceable semi-hit which got everyone moving frantically from every corner of the venue. From San Diego's record setting crowd of nearly 2,400 to the packed houses two nights in a row at the Mayan, the Faint had much of southern California shakin' it all weekend. Unfortunately it may be another year before they come back to Los Angeles to bring their joyful music to the masses. Until then, grab a copy of Wet from Birth, turn on your lava lamp and practice your hipster dance moves like no one is watching. The Faint will be waiting for you.
Wet From Birth

Wet From Birth

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