Faith No More's North American tour in support of Sol Invictus was five years ago.
FNM began their Sol Invictus tour in Japan and Australia, they returned to the USA for the first time since October 1997 in April 2015. After this they toured in Europe and the UK before returning to the USA for a second leg. The first date was on Sunday July 26th at Austin Music Hall Texas.
Faith No More bassist Billy Gould joked to the packed house at Austin Music Hall, that “it’s been like 30, or 25, or 35 years since we’ve been here! How have you been?” In truth, it’s been 20 years since the band played the Texas state capital, but regardless, the boisterous crowd made it abundantly clear: they’ve been sorely missed.
The group kicked off their incendiary set with Motherfucker, the lead single from new album Sol Invictus, which proved a perfect opening salvo, followed by the Angel Dust anthem Be Aggressive.
Even for a venue known for muddy acoustics, the group’s hammer tight rhythms (drummer Mike Bordin splintered several drumsticks from his pummeling delivery) and frontman Mike Patton’s six-octave vocal range cut through the humidity with scalpel-like precision.
The setlist covered a wide terrain of their entire discography. With typical bravado they dropped their biggest hit, 1989’s rap-rock smash Epic early in the set, knowing full well diehards were hungrier for deep album cuts: the operatic Everything’s Ruined was chill-inducing, and The Gentle Art of Making Enemies was delivered in all its bludgeoning glory.
The band gave the audience a chance to sing during Midlife Crisis, and Mike Patton gave a playful “meh” facial expression at the crowd’s somewhat clumsy delivery.
Faith No More have always been the merry pranksters of alternative rock, and Patton gave great snark in-between sets, from inviting everyone to notorious Austin nude beach Hippie Hollow (“I’ll meet you there with burritos!”), to dedicating their soaring, blissful cover of The Commodore’s Easy to grindcore metal openers Napalm Death (after which Patton took a smartphone pic of the crowd for posterity.)
After slamming renditions of Sol Invictus’s Separation Anxiety and Ashes to Ashes (the sole cut from 1997’s Album of the Year), the band retreated to ravenous, cavernous applause (in one of the most rabid responses I’ve ever seen at a show).
They regrouped for a pair of encores which included the 80’s Live-Aid skewering We Care A Lot, and the final track, a lounge-tastic cover of Burt Bacharach’s This Guy’s In Love With You, given surreal counterpoint by the band’s set design of floral arrangements, all white attire and a swirling disco ball.
While one can nitpick songs not included in the setlist (I was longing for Ugly In the Morning), the band were in remarkable form, and Patton’s (apparently ageless) musical ability to shift from banshee shriek to soulful croon remains awe-inspiring to witness firsthand.
While I fervently hope it’s not another 20 years until Faith No More return to Austin, Texas (or if they will at all, assuming/hoping they stick together), this will go down as highlight for every grinning blissed-out music fan that I saw exiting the venue as the house lights went up, on an Easy like Sunday evening that they’ll never forget.
Oh my garsh, it was hot in there. I know they are maximizing before demise, but I’d gladly add a dollar to a beer if I could avoid sweating like a prize-fighter. The coolest place to be in Austin Music Hall was at the front door where air rushed in from the outside. It was like opening an airlock in space.
Anyway, Faith No More came to town and brought along Napalm Death. Merch was sold. Classics were played. Lyrics were sung by all in attendance. We have the pics and a few notes from me and maybe even from super-fan-Cleo when and if she ever recovers after the break.
Napalm Death had been hardcore longer than most of you have been alive. How do you maintain the edge? How do you stay that angry? I have never been a fan of theirs, but damn. Their set was loud and fast. Barney Greenway put on a master class for any would be punk/hardcore vocalist. Danny Herrera’s manic underhand snare snaps rang like a string of Black Cats. Nice warm up.
Bathed in white light, surrounded by flowers and covered in white frocks, Faith No More spilled out to the stage to kick things off with a new track from Sol Invictus, a light-hearted piece called “Motherfucker”. You ever go see a band and it ruins the recorded material, in so much that the records just can’t compete? Faith No More is such a band. When getting into the deeper cuts from the classic records, you feel like you were robbed of something by the producers on those records. I don’t know how they could capture that feeling, but I get it. If a hit took you to one of their shows back when, the show made you a lifer. There were a lot of lifers in attendance, bringing their kids to become a next gen fan.
Mike Patton may be the focal point, because the band puts it out there to keep up and it makes a great show.
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
King for a Day
Ashes to Ashes
We Care a Lot
This Guy's in Love With You (Burt Bacharach)