Review: Ladytron + The Faint @ Turner Hall (4/1)

Photo by CJ Foeckler/Pabst Theater

Photo by CJ Foeckler/Pabst Theater

Words by Adam Lovinus

Lots to do downtown on a Wednesday night. Bucks vs. Lakers made parking a pain in my ass; I had to walk down to the show from that hill behind MATC. Should have taken the 11 — oh wait, that bus doesn’t run to Washington Heights any more, thanks Scott Walker. I had also failed to dress for the occasion, as my wardrobe consists of only muted earth tones these days … what was I getting myself into, I thought, stepping into the will-call line.

All that went away in the darkness of the ballroom, after a tall boy, about the time The Faint took the stage. The Faint had just come through in December. Live performance exposes certain things you don’t hear listening to records or watching Youtube vids. Tonight I was astounded by the amount of kinetic power unleashed by The Faint’s funky, angular riffs. Lesser bands of the dance-punk variety kinda just strut around playing contrived, throwaway hooks while the drummer kicks out a four-on-the-floor beat. Not the Faint. Those Omaha boys came with visceral basslines and got more psychedelic than I had anticipated; there were times I swore I was at Sound Tribe Sector 9 show. And Jacob Thiele might have the best behind-the-keys dance in all rock music.

Photo by CJ Foeckler/Pabst Theater

Photo by CJ Foeckler/Pabst Theater

Unfortunately, the set was impossible to watch due to an overactive light show that must have been designed for far bigger stages. Seriously, the flashing strobes put me somewhere between epileptic seizure and panic attack. I had to hide behind the sound board after four songs. Stuff like this made it obvious that it was the first show of the tour.

Photo by CJ Foeckler

Photo by CJ Foeckler

I sighed in relief as I saw the crew dismantle the Faint’s lights and set up Ladytron’s array — four big, vertical panels that resembled a giant Lite-Brite and gave the stage a digital look that complemented the band’s vibe (think a post-rock take on Depeche Mode) gloriously. I had a feeling this was gonna be a cool show when “Flat Beat” by Mr. Oizo came on during intermission — I was right. I fell in love with Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo about two songs in, halfway through “Runaway.” Something about a woman who knows her way around a multi-effects loop knocks me out. This new rock crush was solidified after “Seventeen,” my Ladytron song of choice. After that I was sold and just watched, reflecting on how cool it is to see international artists on some random Wednesday.


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