Faith No More Put On A Motherfucker Of A Show

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 8, 2015 7:30PM

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Photo by Kazumichi Kokei

When Faith No More came onstage, dressed all in white, and began the slow building and stately "Motherfucker," this writer might have actually gotten teary eyed. For many in the room this was the first time they were seeing a band they'd been fans of for decades and had given up hope on ever seeing. While the band has had its brief reunions in past years, they played few shows and never hit Chicago. But now that they have their first new album in 18 years—Sol Invictus comes out next week—Faith No More has hit the road in earnest and we were lucky enough to finally be one of their tour stops.

At the show presented by Riot Fest last night, Concord Music Hall was packed and the walls were dripping with sweat and condensation far before the group took the stage, but as that first song swelled to its namesake chorus the heat and energy hit near nuclear levels. The group moved slowly and seemed to draw in all the crowds energy, storing it only to unleash it back into the room as the band exploded into "Land Of Sunshine," the opening track off 1992's masterpiece, Angel Dust. Mike Patton stalked, growled and jumped all over the stage. You don't realize just how lame most frontmen in rock are until you see the real deal and Patton is as real as it gets. In fact it could be argued there's nearly three decades of singer who owe 96% or their knowledge of working a stage to him. Most singers may have one or two characters that seem to inhabit their presence, but Patton comes across like he's got a thousand different voices screaming in his head, all fighting their way out through his larynx and constantly contorting body and face. Usually all within the span of three minutes.

The rest of the band—Bill Gould, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin, and Jon Hudson—is just as pliable when it comes to accompanying him through songs that morph from genre to genre, handling something like the circus stomp-show that is "Caffeine" and then leading directly into the smooth '70s suave R&B of "Evidence." As a group they're more than happy to rip out your throat before moving to slightly stroking your cheek while nuzzling your neck.

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Photo by Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Since the band's last full-length was in 1997 the majority of the setlist relied on some material that was decades old, but this was no nostalgia show. The band's breakout hit "Epic" could have been a paint by numbers sing-along, but Faith No More threw their all into it to make the song sound twice as huge and three times as dangerous as it did when it hit in 1989. Seriously, how does a song that felt like a novelty at the time—folks were slow to realize the depth to the band's pliability—sound even more current? And it fit quite nicely alongside the slightly swinging but utterly menacing "Sunny Side Up" off the new album, a song 26 years its junior. In fact all the Sol Invictus material fit in perfectly, since the album itself sees the band in terrific form, still walking the fine line between challenging the listener and paying off on that tension.

"Midlife Crisis," coming halfway through the set, was one of the highlights of the night. It was at this point this writer realized that a) all the expectations leading up to this show were already exceeded, so how much better could it get and b) the reason this was all working was because the band and the crowd were actually perfectly in sync, right up to Faith No More literally handing the entire room the mic and having the entire room take it up.

This was also the point we realized all of this was actually possible because the band actually seems to be enjoying themselves. The new album works because Faith No More is making music together again because they want to, and no other reason. As Patton stomped around the stage giddily singing "We Care A Lot" during the encore he was positively beaming. And his bandmates we're beaming right alongside him. Who knows how long the band will be together this time? But we know that they'll only stay together if they want to.

Oh, and if you missed them last night Patton left the stage shouting "See you in September!" Which leads us to believe there's a pretty good chance they'll be playing a certain local music festival. Get excited.

Setlist:

Motherfucker
Land Of Sunshine
Caffeine
Evidence
Epic
Sunny Side Up
Get Out
Midlife Crisis
Last Cup of Sorrow
The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies
Easy
Cuckoo For Caca
King For A Day
Ashes To Ashes
Superhero

Encore:
Matador
We Care A Lot
I Started A Joke