Portland did itself proud last night, casting off at least temporarily its reputation as a city of non-dancers and bringing the party for The Faint, on tour performing their 2001 album Danse Macabre in full. The room at the Roseland Theater was packed full of people who seemed like they had been lifelong fans. Almost all the songs from Danse Macabre featured sing-a-longs by the audience, who never stopped jumping around and cheering. The Faint did their part as well, delivering a tight, energy packed set that never had a lull or slow spot for almost 90 minutes of music.
The set started off with some other material, including the relatively rare “Take Me to the Hospital,” a song that appeared on the very nostalgic Saddle Creek 50 compilation. After that they launched into their performance of the album, reminding all the fans why they liked The Faint so much. Highlights included “Agenda Suicide,” “Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat,” and “Violent.” After Danse Macabre they laid some older hits on the audience, including two hits from Blank Wave Arcade, “Call, Call” and “Worked Up So Sexual.” There is nothing quite like a room full of hundreds of people shouting “Smaller tits and younger limbs can cause a fit of rivalry…” but it happened. The Faint brought sounds meant to inspire people to get raucous, and Portland gladly obliged. After they left the stage, the audience roared for a good 5 minutes until The Faint took the stage again to give the audience a taste of their newer material, opening the encore set with “Evil Voices,” a single off their latest EP. Although The Faint has been doing this kind of thing for well over a decade, neither their performance nor their new music seemed stale. Hopefully shows like the one last night will contribute to some kind of widespread revival.
Trust, the group in the middle of the night, amped up the “club” atmosphere by bringing down the houselights and performing with only LED accent light strips on the stage. This did contribute to a darker ambiance, which went along with the somewhat more goth inspired music. This is not to say that Trust is glum, far from it, the music was slinky, sexy, and dance-worthy. It is a shame that the room wasn’t a bit more full to experience the fun, but those who were there seemed to be having a good time. The music also seemed to inspire the more amorous spirit in people, walking from the front of the stage to the back of the room yielded a count of at least 5 couples engaged in various stages of the make-out process.
The first performer of the night, Robert DeLong, was impressive to say the least. He crafted all of his songs behind an array of drums and electronics, and started off the night by taking a sound sample of the audience cheering and looping that to contribute to his first beat. By the end of his set, he had used what looked like a Sega Genesis controller, a Wii controller, a drumset, some timbales, and multiple microphones to create memorable and emotional songs. There was one scary moment where he almost veered into dub-step territory, but fortunately that did not last long. Robert DeLong is definitely an artist that has the potential to be a festival darling for years to come, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the next time he was featured in a review he was the headliner.