Concert Review: The Faint, Schneider TM (April 11, 2003, Omaha, NE)

I went up to Omaha last night to catch The Faint on the opening date of their new U.S. tour. A Faint show is always an event for my friends and I, though we don’t quite go to the extremes that others do. However, there is definitely something about a Faint show that makes them must-see events. Without a doubt, they’re one of the best live bands I’ve seen, and their shows just keep getting bigger and better.

Schneider TM opened the night, but unfortunately, I think they suffered from “first band of the night” syndrome in that nobody paid attention to them. Of course, it didn’t help that whoever was running the sound decided that treble and midrange were unnecessary because the mix was far too bass-heavy. At times, I could hear some really cool bits and pieces (such as their cover of “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”), but they were quickly slathered under chest-rumbling waves of bass. As Liz put it, “I bet this CD sounds really cool,” but you’d be hard-pressed to tell from the live show, thanks to the mix. On the plus side, the obscene levels of low-end vibrations did wonders for loosening up my sinuses, which had been clogged for most of the week.

I’d heard from reliable sources that Les Savy Fav were insane, but that still didn’t prepare me for what I saw. Although the music was sloppy no wave stuff à la Liars, Moving Units, and The Rapture, it was the antics of Tim Harrington made for some of the night’s most memorable (and disturbing) moments. Whether it was stumbling across the stage looking for stuff to break, pulling a guy from the audience onstage for a little humping action, or prancing around in a jaunty sailor hat and scarf, I never knew what Harrington was going to do next.

However, the pièce de résistance came when Harrington climbed from the speaker stack to Sokol Auditorium’s balcony and proceeded to walk around the railing while screaming “Don’t wait up/We’re not going home tonight”. I was standing under the balcony when he hung himself upside down, and I just kept expecting to see a large bearded man come tumbling down to the floor, but the rock n’ roll spirits were looking out for him.

The Faint put on some of the most incredible shows I’ve ever seen in terms of energy, stage presence, and just sheer fun. I’ve never seen a band that can turn a bunch of indie kids into a dancing mass, but The Faint do it every single time. Like I said, each show seems bigger and better than the one before, with this one bringing a video element to the band’s stage presence. Bizarre collages of cut-up imagery and video played behind the band on two large screens, including the very cool “Agenda Suicide” video, some haunting imagery for “The Conductor” (one of my fave Faint songs) and “Paranoia Attack” (a new song), and a lovely nipple slideshow for “Worked Up So Sexual.”

Unfortunately, everyone and their best friends were trying to make it into the center of the crowd, and I think they were all trying to enter by my friends and I. After awhile, it just got ridiculous because there was obviously NO MORE FREAKIN’ ROOM, but yet people still tried to cram themselves in there. If everyone would’ve exhaled the same time, it would’ve been an ugly seen.

The drive home was slightly less uneventful. At about 1:00am, I got trapped between a couple of guys trying to reenact scenes from The Fast and the Furious on the interstate, which was a surreal experience. There’s nothing like having to avoid two trucks playing a game of tag at about 90mph to wake you up. But the Mint Bomber pulled through and got me safely home.

I spent the rest of the night watching the first disc of Rurouni Kenshin until 4:00am. I now have yet another anime series that I need to start devoting part of my paycheck towards.

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