Serj Tankian returned to San Francisco with a solo outing at the Fillmore in support of his new album, Harakiri. Like the new album, Serj brought things to basics with a a stripped-down show; no fancy props, no orchestra, no top hats and tails … just Serj in jeans and a t-shirt backed by the F.C.C.
Wasting no time diving into the new material, Tankian opened with Figure It Out which is certainly one of the highlights from Harakiri. If there was any doubt that his fans had an appreciation for the new material it quickly evaporated as the crowd responded. The Fillmore is already a small venue, but at roughly half-populated, it made for an incredibly intimate show where the entire audience was engaged from the VIP ticket holders planted on the rail with their swag bags, to the guys happily stomping around in the mosh pit to the folks singing along to every word in the back. It’s rare that you find a show where there’s such a oneness between the stage and the crowd.
For his part, Serj seemed genuinely happy performing and demonstrated why he is the consummate frontman … vocals spot-on and smiling as he delivered them with his usual flare. Not to be forgotten was his backing band the F.C.C. (look it up if you’re curious what it stands for) which was clearly relaxed and having a good time as they delivered an incredibly tight performance. Serj called on the audience for crowd participation when they hit Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition (as if they hadn’t already been participating) and everyone stepped it up front-to-back through the ending with Elect the Dead’s Empty Walls.
Not surprisingly, the setlist spanned the solo catalog with a heavy emphasis on the new. The only disappointment of the night was the lack of an encore. It’s impossible to know the circumstances, but the crowd chanted for more, hoping that their words of encouragement would change someone’s mind somewhere, even as the road crew hit ‘off’ buttons on the amps and packed up guitars. Those that managed a peek at the setlist that was taped to the stage were likely doubly-bummed that the first song for the scuttled encore was S.O.A.D.’s Aerials. Even without the encore, it was well worth the price of admission.
- Figure It Out
- Beethoven’s C**t
- Feed Us
- Sky Is Over
- Occupied Tears
- Elect The Dead
- The Unthinking Majority
- Honking Antelope
- Ching Chime
- Lie, Lie, Lie
- Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
- Uneducated Democracy
- Empty Walls
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