Faith No More | Download Festival, UK - June 13th, 2015
Faith No More's European and UK tour in support of Sol Invictus was five years ago.
FNM began their Sol Invictus tour in Japan, Australia and the USA before returning to Europe in May 2015. The band returned to the UK for four consecutive dates, the first was Saturday June 13th in Donington, UK at Download Festival.
Despite the gloomy weather, and knee-high mud, the stage and Faith No More were all decked out in white, behind a flower bed – the perfect dosage of weird for these avant-garde San Franciscans – whilst Mike Patton hit us with a unique introduction;
“We are your Yoga instructors for the evening, so fucking relax.”.
He was enigmatic throughout, with a magical live presence – bemoaning a rain mac wearing fans lackadaisical attitude, and giving the security the fright of a life time by joking of a terrorist threat.
The left of centre metallers were immensely enthralling, with a set that combed through their over 30 year history, including six from their cracking new record “Sol Invictus”, their latest record since reforming in 2009 and first one since 1997. Amongst those we were treated to was the perversely hummable sing-along of ‘Motherfucker’, the political rage of ‘Black Friday’ and the catchy lead single ‘Superhero’ amongst others.
They were a joy to behold as they waltzed through “Angel Dust’s” ‘Midlife Crisis’ and the awesome ‘Ashes to Ashes’ from the “Album of The Year” – the year in presumption being 1997. As well as their infamous cover of the Commodores’ ‘Easy’, and the gleeful Donington wide chant along that ensued – one of the few times metalheads willingly croon to Lionel Richie. The encore came and went far too quickly for my liking, it included the title track from the aforementioned ‘Sol Invictus’ and the epitome of funk metal that is ‘We Care a Lot’.
Faith No More were full of energy, dynamism and a sense of silliness, they were so explicitly enjoyable that you momentarily thought they were Saturday’s headliners, not Muse.
We absolutely adore heavy metal in the West Midlands, don't we?
We had a pretty big hand in inventing the genre and then even more so in making it the worldwide phenomenon that it still is in 2015. But let's be honest for a moment, it can become a little formulaic if you look in the wrong places. Many new bands are indistinguishable from others in many ways and it's easy to see why some switch off.
If you find the legendary Faith No More though, you're definitely looking in the right places. They have long been one of the best bands in the genre but they also inject a much needed shot of creativity into proceedings. Every song has it's own unique style and sound in the way that so many just can't manage. From start to finish it is one of the most enjoyable sets of the weekend.
Epic is the obvious hit and when the track is played it reminds you why some consider the band good enough to headline in their own right. A cover of Commodores track Easy brings a little peace to proceedings before Mike Patton and co rip into the final part of their set.
The only real shame is that it doesn't get the same reaction as some less impressive bands on the same stage. But the set was wonderful and the bar was set really quite high for Muse. Matt Bellamy - the ball is now in your court.
As we squelch through the deepening mudbath, Faith No More arrive to taunt us in their pristine white suits and fragrant stage neatly stacked with fresh flower arrangements. “We are your yoga instructors for the evening,” says Mike Patton with a puckish grin. “So fucking relax.” Reformed since 2009, when they headlined Download, Faith No More are now back with their first new album in 18 years, Sol Invictus. It’s a fairly indifferent addition to their canon, a point underscored by the live versions of new tracks Motherfucker and Superhero, both energetic but insubstantial. All the same, these style-hopping masters of heavy non-metal have enough wildly eclectic musical swag in their seven-album back catalogue to wipe the floor with most of the other bands playing Donington this weekend. Punctuating their hour-long pre-Muse set with sardonic jokes and sarcastic banter, FNM have no time for that phoney audience flattery that so many Download bands routinely attempt. They know they already have the big tunes, the sly humour and the suave attitude, so why play the grateful humility card? In Patton, who becomes ever more like a rock version of Robert Downey Jr. with every wolfish leer and arched eyebrow, they also have one of the most versatile lead vocalists of the festival, gear-shifting fluidly from booming arena anthems like Epic and We Care A Lot to lounge jazz, funk and soul moves. Their now-traditional cover of the classic Commodores ballad Easy also gets another airing, wrapped in just the right amount of warm-hearted irony. Even in semi-pisstake mode, Faith No More have great musical chops. They make it all look so easy. Easy like Saturday evening.
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Last Cup of Sorrow
Ashes to Ashes
Strawberry Letter 23 (The Brothers Johnson)
We Care a Lot