Another Faint show is in the books. It must have been the 20th time that I’ve seen them play live over the past decade, and last night’s show ranks right up there with the best of them. “The best of them” being (to me) the Sokol Underground shows from around the middle of the decade and The Waiting Room’s grand opening gig. Last night’s, however, was definitely in the running — the usual high-energy sweat-soaked bounce-a-thon that the band is known for. Great fun and great music, but… it’s the same songs I’ve been hearing them play for years. Not that it matters to anyone, least of all the folks who continue to have a good time pumping their fists to “Paranoia” and “Agenda Suicide” and the rest of them. My hats off to the band for continuing to draw a sizeable underage audience even though they only release new material every four or five years. As I’ve said before, if these kinds of nights are what they’re doing it for, why even bother recording new material? They could live off this live show for years to come. But is that going to keep them satisfied artistically? Who knows. Joel and Mike and Clark all are involved in other bands (Joel also keeps busy producing new bands at Enamel). For the fans in the audience this week, none of that matters. Viva la Faint for as long as The Faint shall be (See photo).
While I dug their set, I was more interested in seeing Digital Leather, and they didn’t disappoint. Shawn Foree and his band (that includes ex-Shanks) ripped through a set of songs off their new album. And while that record is dynamically broad, on stage these guys tear through everything in one gear — bam-bam-bam-bam-bam for every song, with no variance in dynamics or pace, which I suppose is expected of the genre, though I could have done with a touch more of the variety heard on the record. There’s nothing wrong with pulling it back, in fact it only makes the loud parts seem louder. Despite that, theirs was a more compelling set if only for its ingenuity. Digital Leather is a band to be reckoned with. I’m told that they’ve also been invited by SXSW to play at this year’s festival. Oh lord, what those Austinites are in for (See photo).
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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, here’s the 2009 Year in Music story, complete with my various “favorites” lists including recordings and performances from ’09. Like I said Monday, this was written about two weeks ago, and some of the year’s best live shows were left out because they hadn’t taken place yet. If the story’s introduction seems dire, it’s because these are indeed dire times for the music industry, both nationally and locally. Who knows what the future holds, but that’s something I’ll be touching on in my “predictions” columns over the next two weeks (starting tomorrow). So without further ado, go read the Year in Music.
And while you’re contemplating the year that was 2009, enter to win a copy of the coveted Lazy-i Best of 2009 Sampler CD! I started putting together samplers 13 years ago as a way of sharing new music with friends and family who either don’t have the time or the resources to hear new music. And now you can become part of that “inner circle.” Just send me an e-mail (to email@example.com) with your name and mailing address and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free copy. Tracks include songs by Yo La Tengo, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Box Elders, Micachu and the Shapes, Cursive, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, The xx, Digital Leather, Pete Yorn and more. Full track listing is here. Enter today. Deadline is Jan. 18.
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Tonight is The Faint Part 3 at The Waiting Room. As with the other two shows, it’s sold out and has been for weeks. Opening are two Lincoln bands, UUVVWWZ and Plack Blague. Show starts as 9.
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