Concert Review: Failure Live at VENUE Nightclub

Friday 19th, April 2019 / 13:06
By James Olson

Photo by Tenzing Lama

VENUE Nightclub
April 18th, 2018

An overcast if somewhat gloomy Thursday evening seemed fitting for a co-headlining bill featuring two of the more underappreciated acts of the annals of 90s alternative rock. Where Swervedriver and Failure lacked in commercial success, they have made up for in devotion from their passionate fans.

Failure – Photo by Tenzing Lama

One would hope openers NO WIN will receive due credit in time as this fun and melodic classic emo/pop punk inspired quartet has the dubious distinction of playing to the bar staff and a few keeners who got the venue early. Which is honestly a shame as NO WIN’s chunky riffs and catchy songwriting made them a pleasant surprise.

Swervedriver – Photo by Tenzing Lama

Swervedriver meanwhile appeared to be flying on autopilot. Vocalist/guitarist Adam Franklin interacted very sparingly with the crowd and while the band played their material with professional precision, their performance felt stiff if not disinterested. Swervedriver fans seemed to be enjoying themselves but this reviewer felt lost in the haze.

Photo by Tenzing Lama

For the faithful, Failure did not disappoint. LA’s criminally underrated space grunge power trio proved that they are not simply a heritage act playing the hits for a paycheque but a band committed to picking up where they left off and pushing their music in new and interesting directions. Their setlist featured something for everybody, neatly split between new material (“Dark Speed,” “Counterfeit Sky”), old favorites (“Undone, “Stuck on You”, and deep cuts (“Frogs”, “Macau”). Aided by a suitably atmospheric light show, Failure were exciting, engaging, and enigmatic as always.

Photo by Tenzing Lama

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