Review - The FAIM with Hands Like Houses, Emarosa, Devour the Day, & Arlington @ Slim's (11/10/18)

Kevin Keating
The Faim (Photo: Jonathan Weiner)
The Faim (Photo: Jonathan Weiner)
Last night at Slim's, a near-capacity crowd came together for a tour-de-force of pop modern rockers who were kicking off their US tour here in San Francisco. Australian headliners, Hands Like Houses, were supported by not one... not two... but four other bands yesterday evening which included Arlington, Devour the Day, Emarosa, and The Faim. Arlington, a 3-piece from SoCal, started the night off around 6:15 with a capable straight-ahead rock set that highlighted their Arctic Monkeys and Strokes influences. Even though they were the front runners for the early start that night, the room at Slim's saw a crowd that I'd guess put the venue at or near half-full capacity at that point in the night -- a bit surprising, and honestly pretty impressive, which would reflect on the quality of all the bands throughout the night.

Next-up was The Faim, a four-piece from Perth, Australia, and who are hitting the US for the very first time out on this tour with Hands Like Houses and company. These guys kept the momentum going after Arlington's set, and worked their way through all their major hits including "Saints of the Sinners", "Make Believe", their most recent single "A Million Stars", and their biggest hit and summer anthem, "Summer is a Curse." Take a listen below for a taste of what you can expect from these guys.

Watching them perform last night, I was impressed with their stage presence -- especially given how crowded the stage was with all the various equipment that was pre-loaded onstage to expedite the set changes -- the band was energetic and engaging, and at one point, Josh Raven (lead singer) jumped down into the audience to sing a verse with the formidable crowd that had gathered front and center. My only complaint, and I'm nit-picking here, was at the length of their overall set -- just around 20 minutes. It's a double-edged sword when you combine this number of artists onto a bill and with venues that are forced to comply with noise ordinances which generally means hard stops at 11pm, so I understand why each band was limited in time. But at the same time, I wondered if the line-up couldn't have been scaled back to the typical one or two show openers?

Don't get me wrong, this is a solid line-up, and especially considering tickets were only $25 for the show! I didn't try to count the number of band members across all five bands last night, but I can tell you that no one's getting rich on this tour. Their main goal will be the added exposure from cross pollinating their respective fan bases, and gaining new fans as they crisscross the US.

Following The Faim, was the three-piece from Memphis, Devour the Day. By that point in the evening, I was expecting another pop modern rocker, but I knew something was up when lead singer, Blake Allison, asked the audience as they came on stage, "Are you ready for something weird?" What transpired shook the majority of the audience except for a few core members who were clearly already familiar with, and fans of, Devour. The band was a sonic assault that unleashed raw energy behind tight drumming, fiercely powerful bass lines, and tastefully applied agro vocals on top of some driving guitar. These guys stood out from the bands so far because of how 'metal' they were. Below, check out their video for "The Bottom" which is relatively soft compared to some of their more aggressive stuff, but will give you a taste of what you can expect from these guys.

Emarosa hit the stage shortly after 8:30pm and got the modern rock pop fest back on track. These guys hail from Lexington, Kentucky, and got the crowd dancing and singing along again -- perhaps to sooth the sonic pummeling we had all just received from Devour the Day! Judging from the audience participation, clearly a good chunk of fans were familiar with the band and excited to be there. After their performance, some of the members made it back to their merch table and were greeted by throngs of fans looking for selfies, which the band seemed to oblige.

Last but not least, Hands Like Houses made their appearance around 9:45pm, and got the crowd into a true frenzy. The headlining act definitely had their fans out in numbers last night, which should bode well for at least a few of the other bands on the bill looking for exposure. Like the rest of the line-up, Hands Like Houses had a solid performance, engaged the audience, and gave everything they had to all of us in attendance last night. In case you're not familiar with Hands, here's their recent video below for "Overthinking."

As I wondered to myself earlier, at least IMHO, the bill could have been cut to 3 and have still achieved the same turnout last night. Devour the Day, although fantastic, didn't necessarily fit the overall genre of the night. Personally, Devour was probably the standout of the night -- but I tend to lean towards the harder stuff, in general. Emarosa also, could have toured on their own, which would leave Arlington, The Faim, and Hands as a solid modern rock bill -- and would allow all 3 to have extended their sets, giving them the chance to highlight a bit more nuance in their respective sounds instead of being forced to play their 'hits' in the limited windows of time each had.

Having said that, what we got was a medley across 5 different bands and around 5 hours of music for $25. If that's not value for money, I'm not sure what is! If you're not a hardcore fan of any one of these bands, you'll be in for a treat and will definitely want to check this line-up out when they come to your city. If you're a fan of one of the 'undercards', there's a chance you'll walk away disappointed because of their limited set lengths, but then again, in some cases, this is their first US tour, so I'm sure that even as a dedicated fan you'll want to catch them in your city. You can find the rest of their tour dates here, and hope you can make it out to the show when they come to your city!

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Hands Like Houses Setlist Slim's, San Francisco, CA, USA 2018
The Faim Setlist Slim's, San Francisco, CA, USA 2018
Devour the Day Setlist Slim's, San Francisco, CA, USA 2018
Emarosa Setlist Slim's, San Francisco, CA, USA 2018
Arlington Setlist Slim's, San Francisco, CA, USA 2018

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