Saturday Night: The Faint Upstages Ladytron @ Showbox

I wrote in a preview of this show that Omaha's dance-punk band The Faint would be opening. It didn't even cross my mind that they might perform after electropop quartet Ladytron. The Brit-band has an enormous cult following, thanks to several underground hits and extensive touring. And they are the main reason I headed to Showbox SoDo on Saturday night.

Turns out I assumed wrong. Ladytron played prior to The Faint. And it's safe to say there were more people in the crowd there to support the latter band. I was slightly bitter at first, but that sentiment soon faded as The Faint proved they were far more deserving of closing the night's festivities.

Ladytron's sexy Goth-tinged dance-pop set came off as cold and aloof--not necessarily bad qualities, given that their material is filled with such wry humor. The detachment actually suits the song content quite well. But they just isn't that exciting to see perform live. They also skipped performing their 1999 breakthrough song "He Took Her to a Movie." How the hell do you not play the song that won you your original fans?

The Faint's high-energy appearance couldn't have contrasted more from their chilly counterparts'. The quintet stormed through a set full of infectious hooks and disco beats. The crowd became far rowdier and danced more than they had earlier in the night. People who'd previously been in the bar finished their drinks to get closer to the stage. (I almost died in the mosh pit during "Worked Up So Sexual.")

Musically, I'd take Ladytron over The Faint any day. Their 2008 album Velocifero easily trumps The Faint's most recent effort Fasciinatiion--which isn't all that great. But I've gotta say the band that makes everybody drop the booze and dance wins for best live performance.

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