A few things to remember the next time you go to a Faint show:
— Don’t go if you have a splitting headache.
— Get there early. On Monday night, Ladyfinger didn’t hit the stage until around a quarter to 9. Knowing this, I figured I could get down to Sokol at around 9:30 and catch the second act, Orenda Fink (No diss to The Mariannes, I just saw them a week ago). Wrong. Last night’s show started at the stroke of 8, so I got there just after Orenda left the stage and just in time to see 30 minutes of tech guys walking around with flashlights adjusting things.
— Be prepared for the heat and stink. That was one of the hottest shows temperature-wise I’ve experienced at Sokol. Everyone in the capacity crowd (I assume it was a sell-out or damn close) was slathered in sweat before The Faint even started. Combine cigarette smoke with overwhelming body odor and you got yourself some serious stink.
— Wear hearing protection. I always do and did. I don’t know how you could stand it if you didn’t. The sound in Sokol Auditorium varies more dramatically by location than just about any venue I’ve been in. For example, if you were standing under the stage-right-side balcony all you could hear was the bass and kick drum, so loud that your body shook from the vibration. Dapose’s guitar and Todd’s vocals were barely audible. The preponderance of bass was almost as bad directly in front of the stage among the squirming crowd. Walk behind the soundboard in the back and the sound becomes more tinty. The best mix was heard from the room adjacent to the ballroom (the gymnasium). “You think this is loud?” one guy yelled to me over by the merch table. “You should have been here last night.”
— Dance, if you want to. If you don’t, get the hell out of the way.
— Don’t go if you have a splitting headache. It’s worth repeating.
All in all, it was a typical Faint show. Their staging and lighting have reached beyond state-of-the-art. Extremely well-choreographed spots along with the usual big-screen presentation and smoke made for a light show as good as any arena show I’ve seen since, say, Kansas rocked the Civic Auditorium in the ’70s. But other than the lights, the cameramen filming for the DVD and the huge crowd, nothing about last night stood out over, say, The Faint’s Mid-America show earlier this year. I left before the encore. The mantra I heard from everyone I spoke to: You should have seen them last night. Apparently Monday night’s show was a landmark performance many notches above the usual Faint show in energy and enthusiasm both from the band and the crowd.
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