Live Review: The Faint plays ‘Danse Macabre’ at tour-closing hometown show

The Faint perform at Sokol Auditorium.

Friday night felt like four years ago all over again: The Faint sold out Sokol Auditorium and turned the polka hall into a hotbox on a frosty December night as the kids flailed and danced to every bass crunch and whirring, taccato minor melody.

The only thing different was that The Faint played every song from “Danse Macabre,” not just the three popular ones, and the band played a couple new tracks, including “Evil Voices” (a song that stands up against tracks such as “Agenda Suicide”).

Todd Fink wore his floppy fishing hat and was elsewise clad in what you would call skinny jeans if it were a general style of fashion.

Jacob Thiele moved constantly behind his keyboards (how does he dance like that and play at the same time?) while Dapose shredded and Clark Baechle cranked out drum beats somehow more precise than a drum machine.

Observers would note that the band was missing Joel Petersen. That’s not to say that they didn’t play as well without him or something – quite the opposite, in fact – but it seemed odd seeing The Faint as a four-piece. In Petersen’s place, Dapose often took on the bass when he wasn’t shredding on guitar and Fink even picked up the bass and guitar a couple times.

After knocking through songs such as “Drop Kick the Punks,” “Desperate Guys” and new track “Unseen Hand” before raging into “Agenda Suicide” and the rest of the “Danse Macabre” album.

People started positively freaking out: Dancing en masse with their hands held high like frenetic cats grabbing at yarn.

“There’s nothing like playing in Omaha,” Fink said when “Agenda Suicide” came down.

Many of the tunes played from the album are great – say “Poison Spill” – are great fun, but probably not in the band’s regular rotation. In fact, Fink said this tour was the first time that one had every been played.

Much like when I saw this band in high school, I found myself dancing. It got so hot that I looped my sweatshirt through my belt while The Faint worked through “Your Retro Career Melted” and my friends and I began to wonder aloud why The Faint isn’t more popular.

The band finished “Danse Macabre” and went into “The Geeks Were Right” and just the right time. (The end of that album kinda slows down.) The end of the set meant more favorites such as “Psyched Up So Sexual” and their cover of Sonic Youth’s “Mote.”

“We love looking around and seeing so many familiar faces,” Fink said. “This si the last night of our tour and there couldn’t be a better way to end it. Thanks for that!”

“Muchas gracias,” Thiele added.

Icky Blossoms warmed up the crowd well, but ended on “Perfect Vision.” I always like when a band like that ends on an energetic, crazy-high note (say “Heat Lightning” and its infectious final lines: “keep on dancing while the lights keep flashing.”)

Unfortunately, not many people showed up early enough to see Icky Blossoms - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the next big thing to come from this town.

Still, they played a great set and were a perfect way to get into The Faint.

Unfortunately, Trust killed the vibe. I didn’t like them at all. It was an interesting setup with a singer, DJ and someone on keys. Unfortunately, it was really one-note. The second song sounded like the first and the rest of the set was just like the first two tracks.

I engaged in conversation with friends and hung out. We were most excited for the main event. We weren’t the only ones. The north side of the building (near the merch tables and the bar, naturally) looked to be as full as the main floor.

The Faint was the big draw. Things didn’t get so sweaty-hot until they got the audience in its grasp. Of course, they saved the best for last.

New single “Evil Voices” came first in the encore and brought out a couple crowd surfers. If that track’s any indication of where the band is headed, I’m all for it. The song sounds like the best stuff from the “Danse Macabre” and “Wet From Birth” days.

“I Disappear” came next and really got people moving. (Play that in an arena and see what happens.)

Last is one of my favorite songs ever to be heard live: “Paranoiattack.” Say what you will, but hearing 1,000+ people scream “Paranoia” at the top of their lungs and then watching them bust into wild, orgiastic dance is one of the coolest things you’ll ever experience.

Again: Why aren’t these guys more popular? My friend guessed that it’s because no one wants The Faint to open for them and then get blown out of the water. Wouldn’t surprise me…

“We love you,” Thiele said. “Omaha, you’re always our favorite place to play. They say always save the best for last.”

* * *

Glowing review? Yes.

Why? I’ve never had anything but a good time at a show by The Faint and I’ve never met anyone who’s had a different experience.

* * *

This show brought up an eduring question: Why don’t promoters publish the times when each band will come onstage?

You know the drill: the bill says the show starts at 9 p.m. When there’s a couple openers, you know the headliner won’t come on until later, so if you don’t care about the openers, it’s a guessing game as to when the band is going to come on.

On Friday, I got half a dozen texts from people wondering whether Trust or Icky Blossoms would be onstage first. The confusion stemmed from people thinking of the concert as “The Faint/Icky Blossoms show.”

Trust, however, was the main support act. Icky was next. Generally, the bands go on stage in the reverse order that they’re listed. If the bill says “The Faint with Trust, Icky Blossoms,” you can usually bet the order will be Icky, Trust, Faint.

On Friday, what happened was a lot of people (I heard from a bunch after the fact) showed up 45 minutes after the listed showtime of 8 p.m. They therefore missed Icky Blossoms and were mad because Icky was one of the big reasons they bought tickets.

It brings me around to my question: Why don’t they list the times for each band? It works at festivals. It works at SXSW, which is sort of like 300 club shows going on at once.

The answer is a little murkier. I’m not sure if the bands have it in their contracts or it’s a venue thing. Either way, there’s plenty of reasons why both would want ticket holders in the door as early as possible.

If you don’t want to get caught missing bands, do what I do: Show up early. If you guess that the band you want to see will go on at 9:30 p.m., do yourself a favor and just get there by 9 p.m. Hell, just show up at the listed showtime. You’ll see all the bands and you’ll probably have a good spot, too.




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