August 20, 2008
The Faint (Todd Fink – vocals, Jacob Thiele – keys, Dapose – guitar, Joel Peterson – bass and Clark Baechle – drums) took the stage at the Roxy in a flurry of lights, sounds, and costume. Fink, dressed in white lab coat and goggles and looking like Beaker from the Muppets on acid, sang every word from his gut and that intensity radiated into the crowd. Song after song his antics and passion (think Thom Yorke without the flailing arms) energized the crowd. The lighting, including a large screen video in the background, enhanced the visual exhibition of the show, while the volume of the music was deafening. The result was a visual and audio spectacle rarely experienced in a small venue.
The show started out slowly, but quickly picked up pace when Fink belted out "Forever Growing Centipedes" from the recently released album Fasciinatiion. From that point forward the kids never stopped dancing. The low stage made the crowd feel more like a participants rather than just spectators, and enhanced the connection between the band and the crowd. That line was blurred even more when Fink beat back a kid who was trying to crowd surf his way onto the stage with the bottom of his shoe. And when Fink sang and danced his way through "Posed to Death," the crowd sang and danced with him.
"Mirror Error," also from Fasciinatiion, took on a life of its own, as Fink sang more directly to the audience, facing towards the first line of the crowd, leaning lower and lifting his goggles to his forehead; "I’ve been around a mirror enough/ To know it’s hard to change/ We’re like magicians when we dream/ but we wake up nothings different/ Cover up with jewelry/ But pierce all the parts you got/ If the packaging / design could fix the contents." Fink’s social critique about how we view ourselves and the world around us seemed at that moment personal. Very few artists maintain the ability to connect with a crowd at that level. Not too bad for a new-wave, post-punk, uber-hip band from Omaha, Nebraska.
During "Glass Danse", from their album Danse Macabre, Fink describes his relationship with the crowd, singing "Maybe I feel detached/ I may just look too shy/ It’s a disinterest not that I’m a timid guy/ I call them bodies but, they are attentive too/ I feel the social glare/ I feel the attitude."
Fink might feel indifferent to the crowd in song, but he did not show it tonight.