Failure at House of Blues, 6/11/2014
It's only been a few months since L.A.'s Failure last appeared in Houston, but it feels like much longer. For dedicated fans, the band's set opening for Tool at Toyota Center was little more than a tease: most of the crowd was still trying hard to find their seats or simply get inside the building by the time Failure was wrapping up.
As teases go, though, it was a pretty damn good one. The heavy, spacey trio sounded sharp, slick and even a bit hungry -- not bad for a band back on the road for the first time in 17 years. The performance made the prospect of a full-blown Failure tour irresistibly tantalizing, particularly for the growing number of fans who discovered the group after their breakup in 1997.
On Wednesday night at House of Blues, those fans finally got what they'd been waiting a very long time for: a reunited Failure on the top of its game, playing all of the old tunes that should have made them rich and famous the first time around.
The show started just a touch after 8 p.m., and there was no opening act. Perhaps they figured fans had waited long enough already. Whatever Failure's reasoning, though, it was a refreshing move for a Wednesday night. Nobody wants to hang around downtown past midnight when they've got work in the morning.
Right off the bat, it was clear that Failure had arrived in Houston with its signature sound fully intact. Even as Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards switched off on bass and guitar, the band was able to recreate the moody atmosphere of their albums impeccably. Andrews has become an in-demand studio knob-twiddler since Failure's breakup, and armed with two laptops, a rack of processors and a mixing board onstage, he was able to achieve an ideal sound mix on the band's terrific PA.
Failure never had the kind of drawing power necessary to fill up a room as big as House of Blues on tour, but then venue's floor was crowded and happy as fans bobbed along to heavy singalongs like "Saturday Saviour." If there were any folks there who were old enough (and cool enough) to have seen Failure back in the mid-'90s, they've certainly aged well.
For the majority of the crowd, this seemed to be their first shot at seeing a band they thought they'd never see. It was a moment everyone seemed to be savoring.
Review continues on the next page.