The Faim: Concert Review

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By Lexi Vollero

In my experience, a successful concert will have you completely hooked by the third song. By this decisive moment of their set, The Faim, the up-and-coming rock group from Australia, were dominating the stage at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge - I was completely sold and buckled-up for more. But alas, imagine my disappointment when their show was cut short after three songs due to a technical difficulty. On the United States leg of their tour, The Faim is sharing the stage with Arlington, Devour the Day, Emarosa and Hands Like Houses. Although the five groups make for a well-rounded collection of rock subgenres, the sheer number of performers involved in a single show creates a tight schedule. Though their performance was confined to 10 short minutes, The Faim still managed to make quite an impression.

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Their attention-grabbing talent is what launched The Faim’s professional music career in the first place. What started out as a group of four friends making music together in Perth, Australia, has since evolved into a harmonious, hard-working band determined to take their dream seriously. The group, comprised of vocalist Josh Raven, guitarist Sam Tye, bassist/pianist Stephen Beerkens and drummer Sean Tighe, impressed iconic L.A.-based producer John Feldmann in 2017, who ultimately took on production responsibilities for their first album and brought in Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz as a co-writer.  In 2018 alone, The Faim signed to Germany-based record label BMG and cranked out a six-song album, two additional singles and an additional slew of unreleased works-in-progress for upcoming projects amidst touring Europe and the United States.

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Out of the gate, the band brought such a high level of energy to the stage that the entire room forgot the technical difficulties that delayed the show just moments before. The eerie, tinkling keyboard introduction of “My Heart Needs to Breathe” signaled the beginning of their set. What began as a lyrically-edgy opening, sitting comfortably within the band’s range, turned into an impressive, full-scale sonic barrage. Heavy power chords, dynamic drum beats and the appearance of Raven’s powerful high belt and falsetto, reminiscent of a younger Brendon Urie, combined to create a dynamic, dramatic peak.

The set took a slower turn with their second song, “Make Believe.” In my conversation with Raven, The Faim’s frontman, he revealed that he is most proud of this song because its raw message encourages fans to step out, carry on and be themselves. The gentle piano chord instrumental backed by dreamy synth sounds carried the vocals through drastic changes, from soft, almost-spoken verses to the sudden forte of the chorus, as if the band is directly calling out to listeners and urging them onward.

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When they arrived at that decisive third song, they (unknowingly) closed strong with “Saints of the Sinners.” The opening electronic, distorted background vocal loop “Take the crown/Drag them down/Take the crown to show them how” menacingly lures in listeners before bursting back into the concert’s opening intensity. Instrumentally, the song was extremely effective, beginning with an understated first verse that suddenly flourished into the drum-powered, heavily-textured chorus with a strength that persisted until the end of the performance. This musical potency prompted the performers to interact with each other, jumping across the stage and vibing off each other. Then Raven began directly engaging the audience by jumping off the stage to stand on a gate support, reaching out into the lively mass. The moment ended with Berkens and Tye on the edge of the stage and Raven holding a heroic posture bathed in a single spotlight, all just inches from their fans.

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The young band demonstrated the preparedness necessary for any touring musician by selecting three songs, from their original set list of six songs, that best showcased their performative range. Although at first glance, they might appear to fit the mold established by many rock bands before them, they set themselves apart through their magnetic stage presence. From the moment their mics (finally) engaged, the four members looked to be having the time of their life. Evidently, their music is fueled by their real-life friendships that led them to live their dream on stage every night. This energy combined with their pure talent is thrilling to watch! Luckily for all of us, with the punch this young group is packing, I would venture to say that they are sure to return with a solo tour in the near future.

Their genuine energy, earnestness and eagerness to be on stage was aptly captured in their final address to the audience: “We only have one song left! Or is that it…? Oh, that’s it! Thank you guys, you guys were amazing! Thank you!”

Steven Norwalk