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The Faint - Webster Hall (New York) - Sunday, May 27, 2007

29 May 2007

For the seventh anniversary of New York City’s renowned and resplendent roving dance party, Omaha’s own were the perfect addition to an eclectic night of rock ‘n’ roll depravity. Maybe it was the venue itself or the sticky early summer heat, but the general atmosphere felt flushed with more excitement than recent editions of Motherf***er. Creatures of all kinds roamed the maze of black and white rooms at Webster Hall dressed in styles of all incarnations, with a slight aesthetic emphasis on Edwardian finery, the theme of the evening. Thus, from the very start, the night felt like a gathering of minions from the houses of the unholy – with an especially eye-engaging mix of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the very very slutty.

After the crowd had filled in around the witching hour, MISTRESS FORMIKA and CHI CHI VALENTI took the stage to introduce THE FAINT. “Are you ready, a**holes? You only get one motherf***king life!” they shouted to screams that rippled across the room. And with that the lights went down, the band made their entrance, and singer TODD FINK quipped, “We’re the Faint,” as a short segue into “Birth.” The sound was great, even from up in the balcony where I found a front row spot against the railing. The video visuals weren’t excessively stimulating – more along the lines of graphic representations of soundwaves and other signs of sonic life. Fink had a bit of an Andrew Eldritch/Carl McCoy look going on with a black wide-brim hat, which he paired with a black jacket and flowery shirt. (Even he wasn’t too cool to follow the dress code!)

Next up was “Desperate Guys,” after which they played a new track that sounded quite promising, as the other new ones I heard at SXSW had been. Then came “How Could I Forget?” and a killer version of “I Disappear” with even stranger manipulations of that synth sound throughout. “Control” and “Dropkick the Punks” followed, which were both met with even more crazed dancing on all levels of the club. An old favorite from Blank-Wave Arcade, “Worked Up So Sexual” also garnered much excitement before “Paranoiattack,” “Agenda Suicide,” and finally “Glass Danse” brought down the house. Though I wasn’t close enough to gauge just how good the performance was, I’d say that The Faint’s sound and songs combined with the amped up (and amoral) crowd made the entire atmosphere just perfect. In short, it was just as much about the audience as it was about the band, which is a refreshing change from your usual rock show.

Although the stage was vacated soon after, there were still hours of fun left to be had. DJs XRIS SMACK, RYAN RAYHILL, and ALEX CHOW gothed it up in the Coffee Bar downstairs, and upstairs two large tables offered free condoms of all colors, flavors, and sizes next to the techno room. The general consensus seemed to be that the night was a wild success (as usual!) – I mean, where else can you hear CORONA’s “Rhythm of the Night” and NITZER EBB’s “Join in the Chant” in one place?! Thank you MICHAEL T, JUSTINE D, JOHNNY T, and GEORGIE SEVILLE for giving all the debauched children of New York City something to look forward to around most mundane holidays. Here’s to another seven years, Motherf***er!