The Faint Setlist
Gang of Four Setlist
Fans who arrived early to the venue enjoyed music videos from DJ Jake Rudh. If you’ve ever been to his “Transmission” dance nights, then you know what he likes to play: a lot of 70s/80s bands (surprisingly a lot of David Bowie videos).
Opening up the show was Pictureplane (aka Travis Egedy) from Brooklyn, New York. He was a one-man DJ / singer / producer, playing for about 45 minutes, starting with one of his biggest hit song ‘Breath Work’.
Though Gang of Four has largely consisted of new faces since 2008, the current line-up of drummer Jonny Finnegan, lead vocalist John "Gaoler" Sterry and bassist Thomas McNeice more than capably fill the very large shoes of their musical forefathers. This ain't no tribute act; these guys are professionals and they have excellent chemistry with Gill. What I love most about Gang of Four's music is the funky groove of bass and drum - listen to any of those early singles like "Not Great Men" and "Damaged Goods" and try not shaking your head or wiggling your hips.
Finnegan and McNeice brought those sexy, vibrant rhythms to life; McNeice especially, who was playfully thrusting his hips towards the crowd (even members of band aren't immune it!) Sterry was working insanely hard, racing between all three mics when he wasn't straddling the speakers near the lip of the stage.
The most mesmerizing presence, of course, was Gill who, at the beginning of the set, strolled out on stage and proceeded to hammer at his guitar. The result was a fuzzy, squealing feedback, a sound that did not seem to please Gill all that much as he chucked the guitar to the ground. He grabbed it and threw it down for a second time as his bandmates took to the stage beside him.
The band then launched into the drone-y "Anthrax" and the next 50-some-odd minutes were a wet dream of hits: "At Home He's a Tourist" and "Natural's Not in It" from the band's much hailed 1979 debut Entertainment!, the sarcastic military kiss-off "I Love a Man in Uniform" from 1982's Songs of the Free (check out the 2005 re-recorded version of this featuring Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O) and new gems from last year's What Happens Next (2015). Though Gill had a stare that could send you to an early grave (maybe he was just concentrating really hard?), he could raise the dead with that needling guitar sound.
Before the First Avenue crowd could catch their breath, Omaha-natives The Faint landed on stage and turned the humble club's innards into a freaky rave-up complete with trippy visuals, seizure-inducing strobe lights and one hell of an energetic performance from the band themselves.
Being that this was the first date on their North American tour and also on the heels of the digital release of their career-spanning compilation CAPSULE:1999-2016 (physical copies of the album will be released on Saddle Creek October 28th), the foursome (Clark Baechle, Jacob Thiele, Dapose, and Todd Fink) were in top form and sharply dressed to boot (Fink's hat deserves its own spotlight).
The setlist had a healthy selection of fan favorites: "Worked Up So Sexual" from 1999's Blank-Wave Arcade, "Agenda Suicide", "The Conductor" and encore tracks "Let the Poison Spill Down Your Throat" and "Glass Danse" all from their breakout 2001 record Danse Macabre and plenty from the follow-up Wet From Birth including opener "Southern Belles in London Sing" and "Desperate Guys." But it was wicked new single "Skylab1979" that turned a transfixed audience into a good old-fashioned mosh-pit.
To me, the Faint are the musical equivalent of hanging yourself upside down and letting all the blood rush to your head; the warm, sparkly disorientation that follows is exactly what I felt listening to Danse Macabre all those years ago. Now, 15 years later, this great band can still give me that tingly sensation.
Remaining tour dates:
10.06 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
10.07 - Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero Theatre *
10.08 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
10.10 - Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge *
10.11 - Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage *
10.13 - Houston, TX @ House of Blues *
10.14 - Dallas, TX @ South Side Music Hall *
10.15 - Austin, TX @ Emo's *
10.17 - Scottsdale, AZ @ LiveWire *
10.18 - San Diego, CA @ Observatory North Park *
10.20 - Los Angeles, CA @ Mayan Theater *
10.21 - Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl *
10.22 - 10.23 - Santa Ana, CA @ Beach Goth V
10.23 - San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom *
10.25 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox *
10.26 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom *
10.28 - Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue *
10.29 - Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre *
10.31 - Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium *
* with Gang Of Four & Pictureplane
Gang of Four Setlist
The Faint Setlist
Gang of Four
The Faint at First Avenue, Minneapolis (29 September 2016)