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Live Review: Serj Tankian w/ Fair to Midland 

Amos' Southend, Feb. 12, 2008

The Deal: System of a Down frontman brings along spawn of his record label for quick-hitting show.

The Good: Fair to Midland opened the show with a flailing, high-energy show that took the half-full venue by storm. Hard rock filled the air as band members swung themselves in all directions. They capped off their 40-minute set with their hit single "Dance of the Manatee." Playing just about everything from his debut solo album, Tankian pranced around the stage in a white coat and top hat. He smiled and thanked those in attendance after nearly every song, often pausing to bow and tip his hat. Tankian's backup band The FCC (Flying Cunts of Chaos) featured Larry "Ler" LaLonde, former guitarist for Primus. The single "Empty Walls" came out early, but Tankian found time later to break out covers of The Dead Kennedys' "Holiday in Cambodia" and The Beatles' "Girl." (A setlist is posted at qcvibes.com)

The Bad: Fair to Midland's energy was infectious, even if you couldn't understand half of the words being sung. What's with all the drooling? Hellyeah guitarist Tom Maxwell did it two weeks ago and now FtM singer Darroh Sudderth spent half the set with spit hanging down his chin. Tankian left the crowd wanting more, but with only one album out of his own material, he did just about all he could.

The Verdict: A true performance. Both acts were fun to watch as nobody stood still for long. Tankian's solo work is good, but still not greater than SOAD.

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