Review by Darren Kerr
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
Faith No More opened tonight's set in true dramatic fashion with the big-sounding, but relatively sedate, "Midnight Cowboy." Patton then graciously asked if we were ready before tearing into "Collision," the lead-off track from the band's new CD, Album of the Year. All kinds of fresh hell broke loose -- it was like someone turned the radio on and threw it into the bathtub. Electricity. Pits to the left of me, pits to the right of me, pits right beside the bar (much to the chagrin of the bar staff).
Patton was everywhere, constantly airborne, looking like Johnny Depp doing Wayne Newton on amyl nitrate. And if Patton was Wayne Newton, then new guitarist Jon Hudson was Danny Kaye, grimacing, stretching his face for fans, while nonchalantly whipping off crushing chords and ominous arpeggios.
The band played a good range of tunes from of all their albums, including "Introduce Yourself" and "Epic," the only songs from the band's first two records. ("Epic" was given a workout which made me forget that many moons ago the song was destroyed for me by radio.) Bone-battering renditions of "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies," "Home Sick Home" ("this is country music," Patton drawled) and "Mouth to Mouth" had bassist Billy Gould boppin' and bangin' like he was Pantera's first draft pick.
Few frontmen can develop a rapport with an audience while at the same time berating and antagonizing them like Mike Patton can. And, as with Tom Waits, his between-song patter alone is worth the price of admission. "So, do you think you're more British or more Columbian?" he asked. The crowd of course yelled back, "Columbian," but Patton got the last word: "You look fuckin' British to me!" Later he noted, "I'm gonna switch from martinis to wine, now. See if you can notice a difference in the set." I could -- it got weirder. The band entered Gibby Haynes' domain for an extra-terrestrial feedback-riddled group hug at the end of "King for a Day."
Anyone who thought that maybe keyboardist Roddy Bottum would bring some of that Imperial Teen crap to the Faith No More table will be happy to hear that his synth sounds are still as beautiful and as sick as ever. Syncopated xylophone careening madly into low, rumbling give-that-man-a-high-colonic type quakes. On this night we heard it all, peppered throughout every song. I wonder if Paul Schaffer could phantom-hunch over an organ half as well...
The boys did give us an encore, featuring a fiery version of "Coffee" in which the band pistoned like they'd had too many carafes, the techoswirl of "Strip Search" and some long meandering crooner which had Patton playing way too much of his keyboard horn.
Faith No More took their albums and mainlined them full of adrenaline and battery acid for this performance. And, though he probably wouldn't admit it, I think Patton enjoyed himself, too.
Lowercase are a three-piece on Amphetamine Reptile who sound like Steel Pole Bathtub, Distorted Pony... you know, that discombobulated convulsion sound. The guitarist and bassist had matching sideburns which made them look like McA in the Beasties' "Sabotage" video, and they were loud, repetitive and took us on a journey I wouldn't want to take again, even though I'm always trying to get to that destination myself.
Considering copying some of the images from this story?
Please read this first. Thanks.