Screaming Into The Abyss

The Faint, Ladytron, and Telepathe
By Ben Zvan
On May 05, 2009 at 22:10

Telepathe - Melissa LivaudaisBack in February, I found out that The Faint would be playing a show at First Avenue at the beginning of April. Some band called Ladytron was going to be opening and they would also be bringing along an act by the name of Telepathe.

Okay, so I've been musically sheltered the last couple years. The best alternative station went away and was replaced with the almost-as-good The Current. I also changed careers about three years ago and don't spend nearly as much time in the car as I used to.

So... Telepathe...

Telepathe is two girls, a couple of keyboards and some drums and sample pads. It took me a little while to warm up to their music, but it grew on me. I thought they could really go somewhere if they were given enough time. On the other hand, once I started to mentally classify their music as "experimental," I really started to enjoy it.

Ladytron - Helen MarnieWould I recommend them? Maybe, but I'd recommend listening to a few tracks first. I suspect they are, like many good things, an acquired taste.

Next up was Ladytron. I did some research before the show and thought I wouldn't really be into Ladytron. I was completely wrong about that. From listening to the 30 second samples on iTunes, I got the feeling that all their songs sounded alike. As it turns out, those samples are not representative of their music. Ladytron's music is rich in variety, creativity and presence.

Ladytron's stage show is not so much energetic as it is intense. They all have a look of total concentration on their faces as they work to play their music, sing their lines, and change the settings on their keyboards for the next verse. I didn't feel that they were disengaged from the crowd because Helen Marnie, the lead vocalist, kept energy flowing our way for the whole set. The lighting was a thing of wonder that can only be properly described in photos

The Faint - Todd FinkLike a typical nightclub crowd, most of the people really only knew one song. In this case, that song was Seventeen which, despite having only 29 words, lodges in your head and makes you pay attention to the social commentary it delivers wrapped around a pounding bass line. When Helen said "it's time for seventeen" the crowd unanimously cheered.

When the digitally enhanced electronic lighting of Ladytron gave way to video imagery and their smooth synthpop tones and dissonant vocals gave way to harsher sounds and raised voices it was clear that The Faint was the reason many of those audience members were there and they rocked the house from the moment they stepped on the stage. The Faint projected frenetic energy into the house from the stage; they were all constantly in motion and constantly working the crowd.

Next to The Crystal Method, this is the most active I have ever seen a Minnesota audience. Sure, they were still mostly pogo dancing, but they were really putting something into it. There was even one brave crowd surfer.

Of course, I have to give a lot of credit to First Avenue. Of all the venues I've been to in the area, it remains the finest place to see any show. The staff is always polite and patient and somehow they manage to attract audiences that are there for the music rather than the nightclub scene.

Photo notes: The photos are, of course, Telepathe, Ladytron and The Faint in that order. No, not all the pictures I took are backlit, I just liked the way these looked together.

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