On a recent rainy day, I nonetheless was really excited to see Failure play at Baltimore Soundstage. Between the rain-slowed traffic, fallen trees blocking the road, and my unfamiliarity with downtown Baltimore, I’m amazed I made it to the show on time. But nothing was going to stop me from making it to the show.
The last time I (or anyone else, for that matter) saw Failure was in 2019 for the tour to support their album In The Future Your Body Will Be The Furthest Thing From Your Mind. That tour was amazing, so my expectations were incredibly high for this go around.
Failure’s reformation has been quite successful, ironically enough. In an extremely rare feat, the band has arguably put out their best music AFTER a 16 year “break.” Their latest release, Wild Type Droid, is no exception. The album is unusual in that the songs were all pulled from 36 hours of recorded jamming! Out of those sessions, Failure crafted 10 songs that fall right into place with their previous releases.
In lieu of an opening act on June 22, before Failure took the stage, the band played a short set of interviews with artists who have worked with the band, were influenced by them, or both. It’s interesting to hear the effect that Failure has had on artists as diverse as Brian Aubert from Silversun Pickups, Butch Vig from Garbage (as well as some serious production credits), and Tommy Lee from Motley Crue.
After the film, the band took their places at Baltimore Soundstage. Greg Edwards and Ken Andrews share dvocal, guitar, and bass duties while Kellii Scott stuck to the drums. The audience, who had been fairly quiet and attentive to the film, exploded in cheers. Failure wasted no time getting things started.
The opener, “Submarines,” was a personal favorite from the new album. It’s an aggressive song that definitely set a tone for the show! The follow up , “Mercury Mouth,” was another stand out from the latest album. The third track was a bit of a surprise. “Macaque” is a track from the band’s 1992 debut release, Comfort. It was a great way to punctuate that the band has progressed but not lost their sound.
Watch a lyric video for “Submarines” by Failure on YouTube:
The next two tracks, “Wonderful Life” and “Frogs,” were from the sophomore release, Magnified, which came out in 1994. The rest of the set is made up of music released since the band’s 2015 album, The Heart Is A Monster, with the majority coming from Wild Type Droid.
My son also attended the show (it was his first concert ever), and he was thrilled that the band played his favorite song, “Counterfeit Skies.” The setlist was fairly heavy through most of the show. The first real break in intensity came with “Bring Back The Sound.” Failure followed that up with a slow dirge, “Bad Translation.” The set ended with “Half Moon,” followed by the first single from Wild Type Droid, “Headstand.”
The band exited the stage briefly before returning for an encore. The music for that six-song set was made up exclusively of tracks from the band’s classic album, Fantastic Planet. The started with “Segue 3,” which flowed right into “The Nurse Who Loved Me” followed by “Another Space Song.” The highlight for me was “Stuck On You.” It’s the classic Failure track. The encore ended with “Heliotropic” and “Daylight.”
Stream Fantastic Planet by Failure on Spotify:
Here is the setlist:
Atom City Queen
Force Fed Rainbow
Bring Back The Sound
The Nurse Who Loved Me
Another Space Song
Stuck On You
The show was a triumphant return to live performance from the band. The band was tight. The audience devoured the show. Not only did it live up to expectations, it surpassed them. It was still raining when my son and I left Baltimore for home. We spent the ride talking about his first concert experience. It was a great night. When we finally made it through the front door, we both crashed almost immediately.
There was another highlight for me. It happened after the show ended. Kellii’s wife, Priscilla is documenting the tour. After the show, she took a short video of my son, asking how much he enjoyed Failure being his first concert. He gave her a smile and two big thumbs up. I think he was a little shocked.
Here are some more photos of Failure performing at Baltimore Soundstage on June 22, 2022. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.