Why You Should See Failure This Week at Electric Factory

Hey, '90s kids: Trade your fixation on space jam for some space rock and go see this West Coast three piece on Friday.

Failure Band

Is it possible that the year 1995 feels just as relevant in Philadelphia twenty years later? Rittenhouse Square has been overrun by loitering teens that look like the prodigal children of Kathleen Hannah and Kurt Cobain. Hometown retail hero Urban Outfitters is proudly profiting from fashions last seen in an episode of Dawson’s Creek. Most importantly, artists who haven’t hit the road or the recording studio since the end of the decade are reviving their formerly defunct music careers.

Sure, generations X and Y may have different relationships with the ’90s, but there is nothing like good rock music from the bygone era to bring the two together. A band particularly well-versed at facilitating these misfit, mosh-pit-friendly family reunions is Failure, and on the 14th, they’re hosting one at the Electric Factory.

Consider the three-piece hailing from the West Coast to be a lot like the Fishtown of (almost) grunge music. Their brand of alternative has gentrified and re-emerged as trendy, but they’re still respected by diehards that have rooted for them for years. They may have grown up, but they also haven’t lost sight of what made them great in the first place. This is the fuel behind the blaze of Failure’s recent trail of success. The duality of their fanbase pushed them on a long-awaited reunion run around North America last spring, and eventually led the masses to crowdsource funding for the band’s fourth album, the much-anticipated follow-up to 1996’s Fantastic Planet.

The Heart Is a Monster was released earlier this summer. It pays homage to new and old Failure followers alike. “[It’s] a great balance of retaining the sound that makes Failure, while adding enough new elements to not only bring us into the present, but also a slight foreshadowing of things to come,” says drummer Kellii Scott.

At the show, audiences will receive the same careful combination of the past and future by Scott and his two bandmates, frontman and lead guitarist Ken Andrews, and bassist Greg Edwards. For starters, the freshly resuscitated openers, HUM, will whisk spectators back to a promised land full of darkness and Doc Martens. As for the main act, Scott says fans can expect “a less-is-more approach. … Sonically it will be what we, I think, do best … super hi-fi, and the set itself will represent as much of our material as possible—some new tunes, some old tunes,” he adds.

To put it in simpler terms: The shining star of the live set will be the music itself—no background noise, no confetti bombs dropped from the ceiling in support of sweeping breakdowns, and certainly no Metallica-esque pyrotechnics. This may be why this is the first time you are hearing of Failure, but it should also be the reason you go check them out on Friday. You see, many bands can amaze audiences through visual theatrics, especially those who are attempting to claw their way out of nailed-shut career coffins. However, few have enough confidence and talent to evoke cinema through sound alone.

If this doesn’t draw you in, then the band’s special memory of our beloved city should do the trick. “I remember once in the early-’90s, we played the Troc with Tool and the ceiling started breaking apart. Chunks were nailing people below, and as if that wasn’t enough, the sprinklers went off and flooded the place … that was pretty nuts,” Scott recalls.

So, Philadelphia, put down that Internet listicle filled with images of MJ dunking against Looney Toons characters, and satiate your ’90s nostalgia the right way—by being the grittiest, the loudest and the ones who will prevail through a downpour of cement at a rock show.

Failure plays at the Electric Factory on Friday, August 14th with openers HUM. For more information and tickets, go here