It has been some 12 long years since I last saw The Faint perform live. Back in 2005, the dance-punk scene was at its peak, led by the likes of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rapture and Death From Above 1979. While The Faint may have never reached the commercial success of its peers or fellow Saddle Creek records label mates, the band has always had a strong cult following and tonight served to only reinforce this point.
Short of two festival appearances back in 2017, The Faint have largely been on hiatus since 2016’s retrospective CAPSULE: 1999-2016. I was thus pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the band would not only be making a rare appearance in San Francisco on Halloween weekend, but would also be playing 2001’s Danse Macabre in its entirety, amongst other songs from its roughly 20 year history.
Being used to the strict and orderly schedules of concerts back in Japan, I made the mistake of arriving at the venue promptly at 21:00 and was greeted with a line outside of the club winding around the block. I then drowned out my boredom with several rounds of beers as I waited through the two opening acts, an unmemorable DJ and a local indie dance act not worth mentioning.
After what seemed like an eternity, the members of Omaha, Nebraska’s The Faint finally emerged from the darkness into a neon glow onstage. The band opened their set with Evil Voices and The Geeks Were Right, the only “new” songs they would play for the night. Having built up the momentum with the crowd now jumping around to the bleeps and bloops of both lead singer Todd Fink and keyboardist Graham Ulicny’s snyths, the band launched into an hour plus set that blasted through nearly all of the songs from Danse Macabre in addition to 2004’s follow-up Wet From Birth.
After giving the sweat drenched crowd a bit of respite, the band ended the night with an encore that included the crowd favorite Agenda Suicide, Danse Macabre’s first single about an overworked population’s preoccupation with the empty American dream, and Paranoiattack, whereby Fink and the crowd took turns screaming the song’s chorus back-and-forth to each other. Despite the band starting to show signs of their ages after 20 plus years, I was thoroughly impressed by the sheer energy that both they and crowd put out for the entirety of the 90 minute set.