Ladytron / The Faint The Phoenix, Toronto ON April 6

Ladytron / The Faint The Phoenix, Toronto ON April 6
I don't know how I've managed to miss the Faint until now, as they're hardly the most inconspicuous of bands and they've been around forever. Looking and dressing like a pack of socially awkward indie Oxford students, on stage they move like invertebrates that are tripping out against the backdrop of a mesmerizing light show.

From blinding brightness to ethereal glow, their set is made to look almost apocalyptic, making an interesting contrast against the music itself, which is very much full of life. Bass-heavy in places and top-end in others, the band explored the full spectrum of modern pop music from new wave to new rave. All five members of the Faint were deeply engaged in their performance, losing themselves completely, and it paid off dividends; I was stunned, and all my senses were left overwhelmed.

Ladytron were something of a calming influence after this barrage of sound - the Liverpool band still envelope you in noise, but theirs is much more atmospheric than bewildering, blunt instead of sharp. Though the band performed with more of an evident restraint than their co-headliners, as the waves of music built and crashed so singers Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo could break away from their synth stations and dabble in the spotlight. They never really looked comfortable with the all the attention though, and it was too easy to find yourself staring at the enigmatic drummer, trying to work out how the percussion sounded so perfect amongst the electro mesh.

Every aspect of the music can be identified and critiqued, but it's the sum of Ladytron's parts that created an intense atmosphere, and one that's hard to find fault with.