If you had a child in 1997 they would be graduating high school right about now. This is how long it has been since the seminal alt-rock band Failure had been broken up. After doing what was thought to be a one time reunion show at The El Rey Theatre in Feb of this year, they were asked to open for Tool (they are one of Maynard’s favorite bands) for a few select shows, which happily turned into their own headlining tour. Failure has also released two new songs and are working on a new album to be released sometime this year.
If you aren’t familiar with Failure, one of your favorite bands probably is, buried in the sea of flannel that was grunge music, drug addiction and record label shenanigans Failure never was able to reach the level of success many lesser bands were able to achieve. Ken Andrews, Greg Edwards & Kellii Scott went on to either play or produce various projects you might have heard of (Year Of The Rabbit, Autolux, Veruca Salt, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Tenacious D) and also influenced a slew of musicians who are very popular to this day. Their mix of sonic soundscapes, insightful lyrics and massive sound has an almost timeless feel which makes their previous work sound as relevant today as it did almost two decades ago.
The show started off with a 20 minute film they put together with some scenes from favorite movies, their music video for “Stuck On You” and a healthy dose of Ren & Stimpy. As the crowd was now well lubricated, the band hit the stage with “Another Space Song” from the album Fantastic Planet. Playing among colored Xmas lights, the first thing you notice is the amazing drum sound from Kellii Scott, whom also possess an attack and meter that can sometimes be described as mechanical yet soulful. Ken & Greg switch between each playing guitar or bass during the set with Greg also playing keyboards. “Frogs” off of Magnified which begins with a low grumbling bass riff was next. They continued to play songs spread throughout their three albums ending the first set with their love song about a hazy pharmaceutical relationship called “The Nurse Who Loved Me” (which was covered by A Perfect Circle) including quite the crowd sing along to the chorus of
“I’m taking her home with me and all dressed in white
She’s got everything I need, pharmacy keys
She’s falling hard for me I can see it in her eyes
She acts just like a nurse with all the other guys”
After a quick break to help both the band and crowd catch their breath, the band came back out with “Blank” and then thundering through 3 more tracks until they came to “Stuck On You” which could be considered their biggest “hit” being a ballad about heroin addiction it might not exactly be thought of as beautiful but it is and the desperation can really still be felt in the way they play it even with yesteryear’s problems behind them. Closing out the second set with “Heliotropic” to a huge ovation, the guys decided they were not quite done and came back out for three more including the title track off of their second record Magnified which they said they played for the first time on the tour this night. Ending with slow crawling, almost lullaby-esqe “Daylight” it was the perfect ending to send everyone out into the night.
Daylight won’t find us here”