It’s rare that you see a show where every act on the bill is like crazy over the top talented, but let me tell you, Friday night’s show (5/24) featuring the Faint, Closeness, and Choir Boy was absolutely amazing.
The Faint is touring in support of their latest album “Egowork” and they made a stop in their hometown for two shows at the Waiting Room. If you weren’t able to make it, you can catch them in Maquoketa, IA tonight (May 26) or Kansas City on August 13. Now, I know that the Faint is technically a “local” band, but many of the members have since moved to other states, so a show like this is pretty rare. If you have even the slightest inkling of interest in the Faint, I would highly recommend making the short drive.
When I arrived at the Waiting Room only a handful of people had shown up early to catch Todd and Orenda Fink’s band Closeness, which is a real shame because it was incredible. I’m still amazed that two people can fill a room with heavenly dream pop using just a guitar, bass, and a some electronics. Todd and Orenda have a great chemistry, and when their voices intertwine
It’s pure dream pop bliss
The room did start to fill in a bit, but most attendees probably missed a good portion of the set as Closeness only played about nine songs. Some of them were familiar, coming from their album “Personality Therapy”, but there were a few that I hadn’t heard before. I talked to Todd after the set and he said a lot of the new songs haven’t been recorded yet, but would be on the band’s next album. My favorite song was the last one in the set “More Romantic.” It’s lush, layered sound washed over the crowd and put a smile on my face. When Todd looks at Orenda you can tell their love is genuine, making the music just that much sweeter.
After Closeness was the dream pop group Choir Boy from Salt Lake City. Their debut album “Passive with Desire” notes on the cover “For fans of Bryan Ferry and Kate Bush.” I would add the Smiths, the Cure, Depeche Mode, R.E.M, and Spandau Ballet. From the very first song I was seriously impressed with Choir Boy’s sound. I hope they don’t mind getting compared to the Smiths, but man, they sound just like the Smiths with a new age twist! I mean, if you’re going to try and replicate a complete decade of music you can’t go wrong with 80s post-punk. Who doesn’t like the Smiths? I mean, yea, Morrisey has his issues but you can’t tell me he and the Smiths don’t have their place in music history. My favorite band Deftones wouldn’t exist without the Smiths! Sorry, I digress.
Choir Boy had a range of songs from melancholy wanderers to upbeat cuts straight from a John Hughes prom dance. I’m really glad the Faint brought them out. I mentioned to Choir Boy’s guitarist that’s what I love about going to shows. Before the show I hadn’t heard one note from Choir Boy, but they could become my next favorite band! You just never know what you’ll find until you get off the couch and go to a show!
Finally, it was time for the hometown boys to take the stage. It had been a few years since I had seen the Faint but I can easily say they haven’t lost a step. I actually thought the keyboard setup manned by Graham Ulicny (Thick Paint, Icky Blossoms) sounded better than ever! All night, the crowd was punched in the face with deep bass and funky synths.
Playing to a near sold out crowd, the Faint turned the Waiting Room into dance party central. Flashing strobe lights and sweaty bodies pulsed to a mix of songs spanning the majority of the Faint’s seven studio albums and a crowd favorite b-side.
The band started with “Quench the Flame” from their new album “Egowork” before kicking into the smash hit “The Geeks Were Right.” Moving on, the band turned up the heat with “Desperate Guys” from one of the Faint’s most commercially successful albums “Wet From Birth.” For this song and several others, the violin sounds from the album had been replaced with shredding solos from guitarist Dapose. It was a cool touch and something I didn’t see coming.
Later in the set, the Faint pulled out “Hospital”, a crowd favorite from the “Saddle Creek 50” release. This was probably my favorite song of the night. It starts with a dark and grimy synth clap and slowly builds into an electronic rager!
The Faint played 16 songs and took a small break before a three song encore. Todd thanked everyone for coming out before launching into “Child Asleep” from “Egowork.” Next, the pulsing bass of “Agenda Suicide” had people running to the front. With the heavy screams on this song I can see why the Faint gets a ton of respect in the metal community, this one is harrrrd!
Finally, the dance punk show came to and end with the wildly popular “Glass Danse” from one of the Faint’s biggest albums “Dance Macabre.” The crowd gave it everything they had knowing this was their last chance to let loose. The Faint bowed to thunderous applause, and Todd thanked everyone for all the support over the years.
This was such a great show for the Omaha music scene. All around I saw old friends re-connecting through their shared love of one Omaha’s best live acts. So thanks to the Faint for putting on not one, but two hometown shows and reminding us why our scene rules!
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