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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 24, 1999)
Band’s style, stage presence
set it apart from local scene
By Christopher Heine
By presenting itself as if it were a rolling reel
of film negatives, The Faint has made one thing
perfectly vivid - it doesn’t want to be like other
Piercing coldly and boldly through recent
performances, the Omaha group has showcased
an inventive act based on the white-noise sensory
of stripped-down and sexual ized 1980s new wave
rock ’n’ roll with the help of all-black attire and
one strobe light.
This Sunday night, The Faint will headline a
two-band show at Duffy’s Tavern, 1412 0 St.,
with its dark, moody and danceable set.
The most attention-grabbing aspect of the
band’s recent shows has been the almost pitch
black atmosphere; the stage and room lights have
been turned off, leaving only the strobe light to
expose and interact with the band’s high energy.
The band’s dark clothing matches the color of
the unlit room, making a dense and murky image
only interrupted by the dancing ghost-like per
formers and the constant flashes of strobe light.
“We’ve been dressing in black to get some
continuity,” said singer Todd Bachley. “And to us
the strobe light is really just a light that should set
a mood, an electric mood, if you will. We kind of
look at the visual of us and the light as a filmstrip
against the wall.”
Bachley said the band has been slowly devel
oping its live-show concept since 1997 when it
dropped its original moniker, Norman Bailer. The
singer admitted that his band in those days was a
run-of-the-mill indie rock outfit born from the
influential Saddle Creek music scene of Omaha.
The Faint guitarist Joel Petersen said his
group’s use of a strobe light and uniformed cloth
ing represents the culminating of the band’s
search to improve its live act.
“Before we didn’t consider the entertainment
aspect of performing, we just kind of went up
there and played our songs,” he said. “Now we
want to have some visual elements to help get the
As fresh as the new visuals are, the band’s
evolution started with its sound. With each new
song, The Faint is moving farther away from its
first album, “Media,” which was released on
Saddle Creek Records just over a year ago.
While The Faint is still on the Saddle Creek
label, Bachley said, his group has decided over
the past year to start taking musical chances that
would separate the band from its local peers.
The result has been the band all but com
pletely dropping the guitar-pop sound that has
been the standard of the Saddle Creek scene since
its birth earlier this decade.
Petersen said key changes started to evolve
from the group’s experiments with electronic
“I think we’ve transformed in the sense that
we’ve become more electronic-driven and less
guitar-driven,” he said.
The new batch of keyboard-dominated tunes
feature synthetic and bouncy melodies reminis
cent of ’80s groups such as The Cure.
Bachley said his band’s use of keyboard has
enabled The Faint to find new timbre and sounds.
One can generally create sounds similar to
any number of instruments on an electric key
board, he said, and this versatile aspect is what
drew the group to use the instrument It also saves
a person from physical wear and tear.
“It’s cool because you can get all these differ
ent kinds of sounds without having to haul all the
equipment around,” Bachley said.
Most importantly, the band, with its keyboard
in tow, was finally able to define itself with songs
that sounded new to its members.
Bachley said The Faint grew “tired” of mak
ing music within the confines of the Saddle
“I think we’ve rebelled against the way we
started,” he said.
Concert Preview ML
TIm Facts 4PF
What: The Faint
Where: Duffy’s Tavern, 1412 0 St.
When: Sunday, 10 p.m.
The Skinny: The Faint go fancy with
However, the singer said, the path to songs
with such titles as “Worked Up So Sexual,” has
n’t been straight and narrow for the band.
“At first we had this light-rock, 1980s-ballad
thing going on that later became more rockin’ and
new-wave,” Bachley said.
No matter how one describes the new look
and sound of The Faint, it is certain that the band
is gaining a larger audience.
The group played to a packed crowd earlier
this month while opening up for Lincoln’s Luck
of Aleia. The Faint’s flamboyant show drew ring
ing applause song after song.
Please see FAINT on 8
SINGER TODD BACHLEY AND his band The Faint have ventured into the realm of art-synth rock with the aid of a strobe light and
a new keyboard-driven pop sound.
‘Figaro’ to take Omaha
buy Stuart Theater
By Jeff Randall
Senior staff writer
Although most of Lincoln didn’t
know it, just a few months ago one of
downtown’s long-standing and most
popular bars was on the verge of clos
Barrymore’s, which is located in
the Stuart Theatre building, faced
uncertainty over whether the space it
had been leasing for 24 years would
be available to the bar anymore.
But in mid-January, that problem
was solved when Jim and Laird
Haberlan, the father-and-son owners
of the bar, bought the building.
Located on the comer of 13th and
- P streets, the building contains the
Stuart Theatre, Barrymore’s, the
University Towers residences and the
University Club. The Haberlans now
own only the space occupied by the
theater and Barrymore’s. And,
according to Laird Haberlan, now
that things are back to normal, not
much will change.
The.Stuart Theatre is still being
leased by Central Associates Theater
Company and occupied by Douglas
Theatre Co. That lease expires in two
years, and no decision has been made
as to the Stuart’s future there.
“If they want to stay there, then
we’ll let them,” Laird Haberlan said.
“We don’t have any radical plans to
change the arrangement.”
Douglas Theatre Co. is working
on plans for a multiscreen megaplex
in downtown Lincoln, which may
affect the smaller theaters in the sur
rounding area. Rut representatives at
Douglas Theatres said there were no
plans yet to close the Stuart or any of
the other downtown locations.
And as for Barrymore’s apparent
foray into the theater business, Laird
Haberlan doesn’t make much of it.
“We don’t plan on doing anything
other than leasing (the theater),”
“We only bought it to save the bar.
We’ve been here for nearly 25 years,
and we didn’t really feel like leav
By Liza Holtmeier
Senior staff writer
With its numerous love triangles, mistaken identity
romantic plotting, “The Marriage of Figaro” may seem 1
nothing more than a romping comedy.
But the play the opera is based on was originally banned t
Viennese and Parisian authorities for its subversive themes.
The aristocracy feared the play’s focus on servants outw
ting their masters would create social unrest.
Tonight, Opera Omaha opens the comic, but once polit
daring, production of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” at
Like most of Mozart’s operas, “Figaro” dazzles audi
ences with its music, but the opera’s original distinction
was its political and social daringness.
“Although Mozart himself was not necessarily a polit
ical figure, he was dealing with a hot potato,” said Steve
Grupe, director of marketing and group sales for Opera
Omaha. “Many of the themes in ‘Figaro’ predate the Fre
Based on a trilogy of “Figaro plays,” the opera begins <
the wedding day of Figaro, a valet whose bride is sought aft
by his boss, the Count Almaviva.
As the Count plans to invoke the “first bedding” rights of
aristocracy, his wife and Figaro’s bride make plans to reveal
At the same time, Marcellina, who is in love with Figaro, and Dr.
Bartolo, whose own marriage was impeded by Figaro, make plans to
Please see FIGARO on 8 ^
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