The Faint & TV on the Radio

I went to go see The Faint & TV on the Radio, courtesy of the fabulously-coiffed Lauren, down at the Commodore on Friday night. For those interested, photos (& some commentary) are available.

I’d really come to see TVoTR, of whom I’d heard good things from Ben, and also knew a few tracks, but was intrigued by The Faint, who were reported to have a great live show.

You’ll be happy (or more properly, envious) to know that both bands lived up to their billing. TVotR opened, and played a ferocious set. They’re clearly not a great live band yet – they were nervous, a little disorganised and didn’t have great showmanship – indeed, I don’t think the bassist faced the front even once, and the sound wasn’t too good, but their songs are so good, and their musicianship top-notch, which makes up for a lot of other defects. You’d be well-served to give them a listening-to.

The Faint, by contrast, were all about the showmanship. Their music, while fun & enjoyable, is definitely derivative, and there’s nothing in their sound that sets them apart from other contemporary acts that are mining that post-new-wave (or is it neo-new-wave?) sound. What does set them apart is their collective charisma. They’re fun to watch on stage as they play, shaking their asses & striking poses. They’re also very tight, and seem to know what each other is doing, or going to do, at all times. They also benefitted from a beatiful & interesting A/V show behind them. It’s always a worry with these things, because we’re all so jaded and cynical these days, but they pulled it off. Of particular note were the seemingly unconnected word pairs (written on various body parts) sets that were displayed during their cover of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”, of which they played a pretty decent version.

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