The Faint at the Fine Line, 5/24/14
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Just before the Faint took the stage, a large drunk man pushed his way towards the front row, turned around, and grinned. "Everyone forgot about the Faint three years ago," he slurred. "I heard Reptar four years ago in New Hampshire and they've kept their energy up this whole time. The people here, they don't know how to dance, but they can't help but dance when these guys are playing."
He was right. Reptar, the Athens, Georgia-based band who played just before the Faint, left everyone in the crowd with shit-eating smiles as they swayed to the beats of the dual drummers, synth player, and bassist. Reptar sounds exactly like what you'd expect of the grown up Nickelodeon generation on a few tabs of acid.
The set kicked off with an eerie Jurassic Park-like soundtrack and a few blasts from a smoke machine. The band sauntered unglamorously from the side door to the stage, with Todd Fink looking alarmingly similar to a scarecrow, and churned out "Animal Needs" off Doom Abuse.
Unfortunately, the crowd seemingly forgot how to dance at some point during the break between Reptar and the Faint, and an obnoxious electro mosh pit had formed with an excessive helping of elbows. By the time the Faint started playing "Desperate Guys," the folks at the front of the stage were being pinned against the wooden barrier. Those brave enough to ask the drunk culprits behind them to stop elbowing their backs were met with, "Suck it up, you're in the front row at a concert. What do you expect?" Dancing and not shitty moshing, perhaps?
Though the stage was small, the Faint worked it to their best ability, with the help of a light show that made their set feel like a live iPod commercial. Their live sound is flawless -- almost too much so.
After playing together for more than 15 years, it does seem that live shows have become a mechanical affair for the Faint. At times, it was difficult to tell whether Fink was disinterested, immersed in the music, or strung out. The scarecrow attire didn't assist in alleviating fears over the latter.