Online Extra: The Faint tear up the dancefloor in Cleveland

By By Justin Jacobs

‘ ‘ ‘ The venue of synth punks The Faint’s recent show in Cleveland was more than appropriate… ‘ ‘ ‘ The venue of synth punks The Faint’s recent show in Cleveland was more than appropriate ‘mdash; an old ballroom redone as a dark, booze filled rock club. While the audience certainly wasn’t waltzing, the band’s huge, thumping beats sure got the whole place dancing. ‘ ‘ ‘ The Faint’s December 16th show at Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time. The city was frozen in a thin layer of ice and snow, making the sweaty, grooving vibe of the club seem almost otherworldly. No wonder, then, that the show was a sellout ‘mdash; Clevelanders (and the few out-of-towners that drove in, including yours truly) wanted something to take their minds off the tundra awaiting them outside. Either that, or, well, the band was just damn good. ‘ ‘ ‘ Both, inarguably, were true. After a half hour drink break waiting for the headliners to set up after opener The Show is the Rainbow, the Omaha band took the stage to a crowd more than ready to get down. The Faint didn’t disappoint, nor did they wait to dive into the thickest tunes. Crowd favorite ‘Glass Danse,’ from 2001’s Danse Macabre, still the band’s most celebrated album, quickly pushed the crowd into a frenzy. The song, like the band’s best, featured front man Todd Fink’s rhythmic, almost robotic voice singing about ‘mdash; what else? ‘mdash; dancing and sex over chunky, rumbling bass and shooting synths. ‘ ‘ ‘ Songs like the riff-heavy ‘I Disappear,’ the shout-along ‘Paranoiattack’ and the dirty dance romp ‘Worked Up So Sexual’ got similar responses. Huge applause of anticipation after just the first few seconds followed by any and all sorts of dancing from the varied crowd. Some folks raved by themselves, others were human pogo sticks and some poor, misguided kids even tried to start a mosh pit. ‘ ‘ ‘ The inclusion of the stuttering, non-album cut ‘Take Me To The Hospital’ made things all the sweeter, as did the band’s stage set up. With more than a few constantly flashing strobe lights, the show would’ve been an epileptic’s worst vision of hell, and the distorted images of both the band and the crowd projected above the stage could’ve been a drug-free acid trip. ‘ ‘ ‘ Still, with all the band’s reliance on electronics, The Faint put on a surprisingly live show. Guitarist Dapose headbanged along with his angular riffs while drummer Clark Baechle added some double bass drum blasts to make the already-beat heavy songs even weightier. ‘ ‘ ‘ The one downfall of the show was, unfortunately for the future of The Faint, all the new songs included in the set. The band dropped its latest disc (and it’s first in four years), Fasciination, over the summer. While it’s got some solid tunes, not one has the synth punch of the dark thumpers on Danse Macabre or even the less-than-stellar Wet from Birth. Of the handful of new tracks The Faint played, only the single ‘The Geeks Were Right’ came anywhere close to inciting the same dance party atmosphere as the older tunes. ‘ ‘ ‘ Nonetheless, when the band finished it’s last song of the night, the absolutely huge ‘Agenda Suicide’ (from Danse Macabre ‘mdash; surprise, surprise) and the flailing limbs slowed down as the house lights came on, one thing was clear: The Faint can throw a dance party like few live bands out there. Save for actual DJ’s, this is a dance not to miss. ‘ ‘ ‘ And after an hour plus of dancing through the New Wave workout, the freezing air of Cleveland didn’t feel so bad.