Concert Review: Failure at Emo’s-L.A. alt-rock sonic architects wow loyal fans at Austin show.
Just a few months after their blazing SXSW 2015 set, space rock titans Failure returned to Austin last night.
Following a set by art-noise rockers Queen Kwong (featuring Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland…although you’d never guess that with their alt-indie aesthetic), Failure took the stage to the delight of their strongly devoted fan base.
The set kicked off with new album tracks: the whip crack groove of Hot Traveler and the anthemic A.M Amnesia were enthusiastically received, proving the band needn’t rely solely on nostalgic material.
But fans craving retro bliss were well satiated. Thee group revisited their entire 90’s discography, primarily from 1996 cult classic Fantastic Planet: the blissful Another Space Song (augmented by starry screen projections) lulled the audience into somnambulist bliss, before getting punctured by the gritty stomp of Wet Gravity (from 1994’s Magnified).
But judging by the audiences’ boisterous singalong, it was a new album track that stole the show: the ballad Mulholland Drive was epic melancholy, with Ken Andrews plaintive vocals aided by multi-instrumentalist Greg Edwards psychedelic keyboards.
The latter half of the set ratcheted up the intensity, including Fantastic Planet barn-burners Sergeant Politeness and Stuck On You, the group’s biggest hit, blasting out gloriously amidst a James Bond-esque montage on the video monitors.
If there’s one thing that’s become clear from seeing Failure twice this year, it’s their attention to sonic detail: the band’s live mix is impeccable, never sacrificing volume for clarity. Every tweaked guitar and distorted baseline was heard in all its textured glory, and Andrews granulated wail showed his pipes in fine form.
Likewise, drummer Kellii Scott’s muscular percussion skills were on fine display, building into a fevered pitch on tunes like Smoking Umbrellas, The Nurse Who Loved Me, and the militaristic Heliotropic, which closed out the show in grand fashion.
The band left the stage after thanking the audience for the warm welcome. The heart is a monster indeed, with the love fest between band and rabid fan perfectly apparent.
1. Segue 4
2. Hot Traveler
3. A.M. Amnesia
4. Another Space Song
5. Wet Gravity
7. Atom City Queen
8. Counterfeit Sky
9. Mulholland Drive
10. Saturday Saviour
11. Dirty Blue Balloons
12. Sergeant Politeness
13. Segue 1
15. Stuck on You
18. Smoking Umbrellas
19. The Nurse Who Loved Me