Friday nights in Los Angeles are always pretty eventful. The numerically parallel day of 8-8-08 is especially lively. Not only is it the opening ceremonies of the 29th Olympiad, but also an evening of frenetic drumming and electro-indie at its finest.
Let's begin with the drum part. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Los Angeles tonight is 88BoaDrum, brought to us by the Japanese noise rock band Boredoms. It's 88 drummers, performing an 88-minute set at 8:08pm local time.
I am in attendance for the LA show at the La Brea Tar Pits. Most of the drummers that make up the show are in bands that we know and love, like Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse, Zach Hill of Hella, as well as the drummers from Oneida, Hole, !!!, Jawbreaker, We Are Scientists, xbxrx, Pit Er Pat, Man Man and others.
There really is no other setting like it, what with the smell of the gurgling tar pits, weed, tacos and children. It is a magic scene. This isn't your average hippie trashcan drum circle in the park. All of these drum kits are surrounding the center stage, where the main drummers and the conductors, the Boredoms themselves, stand. As you could imagine, 88 drummers makes a lot of noise. The beat of the drums can be heard miles away. The sheer grandiose nature of it all is amazing. As the drummers start their cadence, a single synthesizer and a light show accompany it. The audience gets lost in the beats of all these drums. Cymbals are crashing, and bongos are beaten furiously. The whole thing is hypnotic, and a whole hour goes by without notice.
After this past hour whizzes by, you are anticipating a climax, that doesn't come until the 88th minute...which I am not sticking around for. As much as I want to hear this fantasmic closing, I must make it to the Shy Child/Faint show.
I get to the Henry Fonda Music Box in time to catch the tail end of Shy Child. It is a total disappointment for me because I've been waiting for them to come to LA, and it saddens me that I am not witnessing a full set due to my tardiness. I know that the headliners are The Faint, but I am really looking forward to seeing Shy Child more. With the few songs that I did see, I'm in love with the keytar and the punchy hooks.
What's even more annoying is that there is another opening band, a local band by the name of Abe Vagoda. UGH! Who cares! Shy Child came all the way from New York to play for us, and this Abe Vagoda band should have opened for them. The kids in this band are gushing about how much they love the Faint, and continue on with their banal set.
I only sound bitter because I am.
This is the second show of The Faint's two-night, sold out stint in LA. I've got the best seat in the house. It's the balcony, first row. There is no drunk, sweaty, hairy guy to get in my way (like my Bay Area colleague, JENZ, experienced a few nights prior). Where I'm sitting, I can count every fedora, bowler, newsy cap and ironic headband on the floor. Not the sweatband, but the kind of headband that is tied, like these jackasses just left a dojo.
With all these scensters and hipsters at both events I've gone to tonight, it's no wonder why there are so many American Apparel stores in this town. They employ all these assholes, so they can support their photography hobby and ironic need to drink Colt 45. With all of them at either of these two events, who's working at all the American Apparels right now? How are the citizens of Los Angeles going to get their Unisex Jersey Deep V-necks on this Friday night?
I'm entertaining myself by poking fun at the crowd, and rambling on like this because The Faint is taking their sweet Nebraskan time getting on stage. The stage is clearly set. At 11:04pm, the show begins. Frontman Todd Fink leaps out onto stage with a white coat, lab goggles and spray-on jeans, like a mad scientist with the potion that makes everyone dance uncontrollably. He is also teetering on the line of looking like one of the Revenge of the Nerds guys during their concert at the fair.
The 16-song show is kicked off with "Glass Danse" freaking out the audience. The whole theater is jumping to their signature electro beats. My retinas are already shot. With the strobes in full effect, I'll be seeing spots in my sleep. Then came a set of their new songs off of Fasiinatiion with "Pyscho" and "Forever Growing Centipedes," and also a tune from 1999's Blank-Wave Arcade. All the while, high contrast, black and white images are shown in the backdrop. It's a mix of their live images, abstract cartoons, old film footage, and Rorschach ink blots.
I am obviously a little annoyed I didn't catch the whole Shy Child set, however, The Faint is bringing it. Fink's voice sounds CD perfect. This is most definitely not a half-assed show for these guys. Really, how can it be with such epic beats to keep the audience moving? There is an audience encounter during "Desperate Guys" when a ridiculous couple stood next to my seat (no standing in the aisles!) and the guy hilariously spazz-danced and the girl slithered around all whore-like. I'm sitting in fear of raging elbows hitting my face, as I'm nerdily taking notes. They were removed by security.
During "Get Seduced," I realize that, much like the drum circle, the flashing lights and hammering beats hypnotize me. I never noticed how German Industrial House their show could be. Before the encore, they bring it home with "I Disappear" and "Paranoiaattack." The crowd screams for more, and the band gives the average three-song encore including new single "The Geeks Were Right" and "Agenda Suicide." Despite my earlier disappointment, I am totally won over by this live show.
The Faint will be on tour the rest of this month, and then off to Europe, Australia and Japan. Go see them!