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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

Faith No More | Concord Music Hall, Chicago - May 7th 2015

Updated: Mar 16

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. The tenth date was on Thursday May 7th at the Concord Music Hall in Chicago.

Consequence Of Sound | Live Review: Faith No More at Chicago’s Concord Music Hall

The familiar stink of sweat and beer gave way to an unusual scent inside the Concord Music Hall in Logan Square on Thursday night. Planter by planter, hundreds of living flowers were brought in to fill the stage. As the last stragglers of the sold-out crowd packed into the ground floor, a handful of roadies, dressed all in white, groomed the venue from its dark club default into a cell of light and color. Faith No More played Chicago last night for the first time since the late ’90s, this time in support of its first new album in 18 years, Sol Invictus, which follows 1997’s Album of the Year. While Sol Invictus sounds like Faith No More never hung up its peculiar offshoot of alt rock, the band was happy to let the hits overshadow their new material. They played “Epic” and “Midlife Crisis”; they even encored with “We Care A Lot”, the breakthrough single that found a home on MTV in 1988, before Mike Patton had joined the band. They’ve found a spiritual, if not musical, kinship with their tour openers, Le Butcherettes, who riled up the early crowd with dramatic flair. Frontwoman Teri Gender Bender sang through a sequined scarf she wrapped around her head, gesticulating like a dictator over her mirrored Telecaster. The band all wore red with silver instruments, like a punk rock army sent to sweep away our last shreds of boredom. When Teri stage-dived during Le Butcherettes’ final song, she clawed through the crowd like she was swimming against a current before rolling on her back and floating back to the front. Le Butcherettes had their share of fans to sing along with their choruses, but the Faith No More contingent was bigger and more anxious. They wanted to see a band back from the dead; first, they saw a group of muscular strangers arranging flowers on a white stage. Even the Marshall stacks were wrapped up in white cloth, the logos barely embossed through the fabric. More and more flowers came out while people chanted the band’s name. It seemed like it’d never stop. Faith No More has always occupied a niche seat in the rock pantheon. They are a Mike Patton project, at least since 1988, when the singer doubled up on his Mr. Bungle duties to lend vocals to the band. They use funk bass and metal progressions in their hits, and they have deep cuts that play more like easy listening ballads. Faith No More is an exhibit of pure and athletic musicianship as much as it is a vessel for Patton’s unquenchable character. Mike Patton sang into a microphone last night. He also sang into a repurposed police radio, complete with coiled black chord, and a red megaphone with a microphone seemingly built in. Sometimes he would hold his normal microphone up to the mic-equipped megaphone, screaming and screaming through layers of amplification. He had a small effects rig set up on a white music stand near the front of the stage, and he’d tweak pedals on his voice the way a guitarist would. The voice is an instrument, of course, but few people play it like Patton. Patton can do death metal growls, and he did; he can croon and shriek and bellow from the bottom of his gut, and he did. He has one of the most elastic voices in American music. Dressed in all white with a string of red beads, he pounced around the stage with his longtime bandmates. He’s the kind of frontman who’s more interested in amusing and being amused by his audience. Faith No More’s primary emotion is power, and Patton offsets that musical megalomania by cutting dumb jokes. He had a running gag about hitting on a fan in a Behemoth T-shirt that he called “Mr. Fuckable.” This is the band that posed someone in a gimp suit in their latest round of promotional photos; they’ve never been shy about sex or its absurdities. Patton is a singer first and a frontman second, but he still goaded the crowd into singing an entire chorus of “Midlife Crisis” before launching into a lounge act rendition of the same song. If you’ve ever wanted to hear funk metal’s most solid radio single as performed by a tropical wedding band, Faith No More offered a glimpse of just that. It was a gag but a well-rehearsed one; with Patton, drummer Mike Bordin, bassist Billy Gould, guitarist Jon Hudson, and keyboardist Roddy Bottum, the band is a tight knot of seasoned professionals. There is power in how they work together, pounding through every beat with labored precision. Faith No More’s never without its fun. They played the best song ever written about Scientology (“Land of Sunshine”), but also covered “Easy” by the Commodores with more relish than irony. They closed their encore with “I Started a Joke” by the Bee Gees. Their own songs are streaked with darkness but also irreverence, and they thrive at the intersection of the two. They find power in their odd corner, and for the first time in years, they’re sharing it.

Chicagoist | Faith No More Put On A Motherfucker Of A Show

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.

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.

Chicago Tribune | Faith No More continues with undiminished thunder

So much for needing to shake off any rust. Thursday at an uncomfortably packed Concord Music Hall, Faith No More picked up where it left off 18 years ago, the last time the avant-metal band toured North America and released an album.

Exploring extremes of loud and quiet, manic and mellow, sinister and auspicious as if venturing into such divisive territories constituted the norm, the quintet proved anything but conventional. Its diverse 80-minute set served as a constant reminder that the group's success in the 90s — a run that included a major-label deal, hit albums and renowned videos — remains as bizarre as its most innovative songs. Historically, the sort of artistic experimentalism practiced by Faith No More gets confined to the fringes. Having never fit into the mainstream, the San Francisco-based band shows no signs of conforming now. After reuniting in 2009, it kept a low profile and focused on international markets. Similarly independent (and out May 18), "Sol Invictus," Faith No More's first record since 1997, makes no attempt to court the attention of radio programmers. With any concerns for accessibility aside, performances of several new songs ("Matador," "Mother------") sounded as vibrant and offbeat as beloved older material.

"Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!" chanted singer Mike Patton on "Superhero," a hyperactive sprint that hyperventilated as it pursued an unidentified target it couldn't catch. Armed with an unlimited supply of different voices, a multi-octave range and uncanny sense of humor, he might lay claim to the most fun job in rock. And sticking his tongue out like vintage Michael Jordan and flashing mischievous smirks, Patton acted as if he knew it.

He hissed, wailed, screamed, rapped, squealed, taunted and cackled. Embracing satire, indignation and complacency, he played fast-talking auctioneer, high-pressure pitchman, bullhorn-wielding preacher and jargon-spewing carnie. Patton contorted syllables and distorted tones without the aid of filters, animating characters seemingly afflicted by bouts of schizophrenia, sadness and shock. It's a wonder he didn't blow out his throat.

Dressed in matching white outfits, and anchored by keyboardist Roddy Bottum, Patton's able mates provided dynamic backdrops that mixed thrash, funk, and film and cartoon music. Arrangements shifted between harsh and soothing, occasionally within the span of a verse, setting up moody contrasts ("King for a Day") and scorching bursts of intensity ("Caffeine"). For all its heaviness, Faith No More also displayed a sincere, soft side that further confirmed its eccentricity — and Patton's inimitable versatility. Crooning the Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke" with full gusto, all he lacked was a tuxedo and opera hall.

Motherfucker Land of Sunshine Caffeine Evidence Epic Sunny Side Up Get Out Midlife Crisis [ Boz Scaggs, "Lowdown" ] Last Cup of Sorrow The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Easy [ Commodores ] Cuckoo for Caca King for a Day Ashes to Ashes Superhero Matador We Care a Lot I Started a Joke [ Bee Gees ]

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