Failure plays Irving Plaza

Failure brought their newly reunited act to Irving Plaza on May 29th.

Back when Failure was active (the 90’s) they may have gotten caught up in the over-saturation of ‘Alternative/Grunge’ bands of the era but when they hit they stage at Irving Plaza they hit it hard with a workmanlike performance that made a statement that they are back and better than ever.

The evening started off with a bizarre but thoroughly entertaining twenty minute movie that mashed up old James Bond films with Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Space Odyssey’ and threw in Ren and Stimpy for good measure and had the audience laughing along. As the film wound down the members of Failure took the stage and as soon as the screen was lifted they ripped into their impressive catalogue.

Situated on three round pedestals with minimal lighting the band was in fine form and showed no rust while performing songs off their three albums. At times, and this may be blasphemous, but lead singer Ken Andrews sounded eerily like the late great Kurt Cobain but with more range. The music cannot be grouped in to the normal ‘Alternative’ moniker as the exquisite textural guitar work from Greg Edwards and the sonic booms from kit master Kellii Scott defy that label and is more complex. The show was divided into two halves with an odd but welcomed intermission complete with a countdown clock on the screens.

When they returned after ten minutes they settled into some serious jamming and highlighted their best album ‘Fantastic Planet’ with the heart wrenching, piano laden tune “The Nurse Who Loved Me” which left me blown away with how deep and wonderful it sounded live. The songs I previously knew from their studio albums were lifted up into the stratosphere when played in front of an adoring audience, which to me is the mark of a great band that most cannot pull off.

Sixteen years later and Failure is back, and judging by todays lack of good rock music, they are here to stay. Be sure to check out this amazing reunion/redemption tour near you!

Article and photos by Shayne Hanley

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