In my continued effort to "put my money where my mouth is", I arrived at the club via the bus. I asked the driver of the #54 (Armour/Swope Parkway) if the bus stopped at 31st and Gillham and once getting the his nod of approval I slid in my dollar. He then asked me (in a way that was as much telling as asking) if I wanted a transfer, and when I told him no he gave me a double take. 31st and Gillham is evidently not a valid destination for a white kid in business attire.
The colourful ten minute ride put me at the club a tad before 7 where I was immediately hit with some bad news. Due to some sissy injury, The Elevator Division cancelled leaving only a two band bill. Although I'm a big fan of The Elevator Division, their cancellation gave me enough time to visit Pizza Hut around the corner and virtually insured that I would be able to get to Lawrence in time for Sea & Cake in only a few hours.
I saw The Clint K Band some months back opening for The Gloria Record and my account of that show wasn't quite glowing. Opening for The Faint, the same annoying rock star qualities still shone through (a drummer who addresses the audience as if they were headlining Candlestick Park, cordless mics on both bass and guitar, posing for the photographer the band brought with them etc.). The good news is the band has made significant strides in capturing their own sound. While I had earlier faulted the band for an obvious Everclear influence, that just wasn't apparent at this show. The band focused on their own punk influenced rock playing up the backing vocals and hook-laden choruses. If they can clean it all up and get it firing on all cylinders, this band could follow fellow Kansas Citians Onward Crispin Glover up to the top.
Here's a fun game you can play next time you see The Faint. Start your clock a tickin' when the band first walks on the stage to set up their gear. When the band starts playing (for real) note the time and do the delta. At the end of their set note the time again and do the second delta. If the band played for longer than they set up, you win. If not, well I'm sure they put on a good show.
The Faint like El Torreon because it gets dark. There are no neon beer signs, no bar that needs to keep well lit, and no windows, just dark. This is great news for fans as well, as the band brings with them an intelligent light show of various coloured spots and strobes that turn their shows into concerts.
This new tour brought few obvious surprises for the fans who have seen The Faint each of the four times they've been through town in the last year. The band are still playing the same songs as the last time with the exception of a lovely (though not entirely unexpected) cover of OMD's Enola Gay, they're still playing a remix or two from their last EP, and the rest of the songs come from their second CD Black Wave Arcade. The things that have changed seem to be largely under the covers: there are different and better sythns and sequencers, drummer Clark Baechle's electronic tom has been joined by an electronic kick drum, and there are better amps, mixers and PA's all around.
For those who haven't been stalking The Faint, they are like no other band in the indie scene. Their dark-wave sound borrows heavily from Gary Numan's Tubeway Army focusing on heavy beats, electronic blips, and processed vocals. Magnetic vocalist Todd Baechle sings frankly about the eroticism of sex and his audience has responded by making him their sex object. How involved the band are in their cold performance is up for discussion, but the band's stage show, and the atmosphere they create in the whole club, is everything it should be and more than you'd expect.