I’m sitting in the car of the parking lot at SOMA in San Diego, downing a minibar bottle of Malibu and a can of Dole Pineapple juice when I realize that I must really fucking love The Faint.
It’s my first time to San Diego, and this city seems rife with technical difficulties. 1.5 hour wait to get a shitty rental car. 1 hour wait to get a shitty hotel room. And now I am outside of a music venue that doesn’t sell alcohol, drinking in a car like a 16 year old, surrounded by actual 16 year olds.
SOMA is essentially a giant warehouse in a strip mall next to a very dated looking sports arena that is currently hosting Ringling Bros. The average age of attendee is 17, and the no alcohol policy clearly exists because there would be no market for it. Instead, the parking lot is full of teenagers chugging straight from the bottle, and presumably taking all kinds of drugs. I haven’t been anywhere lately where I’ve heard the phrase, “I’m so fucked up right now” so much since my raver days in the ‘90s.
I can hear the high-pitched wail of Jaguar Love finishing up their set. We are able to make our way up to the front, where we encounter the most real looking security guys that I’ve seen in a long time. Clearly, this place hosts some rowdy shows. I mean, the kids are slam dancing to Jaguar Love.
It’s a long set up for The Faint tonight, and it is hot as hell in here. Sweating before the band comes on isn’t good. Joel is out tuning his instruments as usual- he must be a total perfectionist since he doesn’t let anyone else do it.
Finally, the band comes on stage. I had Yelped this venue, and read complaints on the sound system….all completely accurate. The crackle was apparent all night. I immediately noticed that the band seemed a bit off. First of all, Todd had his knee wrapped (I also noticed that their female stage person has her foot in a walking cast…sounds like there might be a good story there). Shortly after launching into Agenda Suicide, Todd almost lost the mic and barely brought it back up in time to do the next line. Jacob seems the most off, and a couple songs in they have to fiddle with his wires to fix his synths.
But the energy is amazing. It’s definitely different than SF, and this is partially because of the young age of the crowd, and they are probably slightly more music deprived. However, as someone who just spent 5 of my last 6 evening standing rail at a show, the energy is killing my back. But it’s great for the band, and they thanked the crowd for it. Joel had even mentioned that he loved playing this venue when we saw him at the Broken Spindles show.
This crowd seems unaware and unenthused for the first few new songs, shouting out requests and “play your old shit” multiple times. Fucking rude. But, they seem to get into it a bit later on in the set. This set was basically the same one I saw at The Grand Ballroom, so the surprise gave way to anticipation and we laid it all out there dance-wise for the last show of our Follow The Faint week. I think I played a few air instruments. I know I screamed Dapose’s name several times.
The guys seemed tired for this set. Take a look at their tour schedule, and they’ve played for a week straight. SOMA didn’t make their set any easier as more technical difficulties ensued, some needing intervention from the stage crew. Paranioattack was interrupted (see video below) either because a the mic cut out or something else was messed up for several measures, but they kept on with the song as if nothing happened. Some of these rude kids threw stuff on stage, once hitting Todd and also once hitting the drummer. Between this and the stage jumpers at The Grand Ballroom, you can tell this band isn’t easily distracted.
Once Jacob’s synths started working, he pulled out some really good dance moves (the stage was bigger, so he had more room to work with). Dapose killed it as usual.
When the final song came on, it was bittersweet. 3 nights of The Faint, quickly gone by. And for this show we went home empty handed, as setlists were snatched up by the 17 year olds, probably to end up crumpled in the corner of a dirty room in a parents basement rather than adorned in a frame in my apartment.
venue (SOMA): 5/10
value ($20.00/ticket): 8/10
Better pic of our HOSPITAL shirts: