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 second date was on Thursday April 16th at Paramount Theater, Seattle.
On Tour Monthly | Faith No More’s Opening Night Sets The Stage For Things to Come! Six years. That’s how long Faith No More has been back in business after their original seventeen year run. Six years and there has been no proper North American tour. That’s not to say the San Francisco-based alt metal group hasn’t played the States, but those shows have been very few. That’s finally changing. With Sol Invictus, the group’s seventh studio album and first since reforming, due out May 19th, the band was embarking on a North American run, which had begun the night before with a sold-out show in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Paramount Theater in Seattle, Washington was no different this night; and making the journey from Dallas to Seattle to see their first show on American soil of this tour definitely sounded worth it. The show was sold-out and people were more than ready for this. The venue was magnificent looking to the point alcohol was not allowed inside the showroom portion of the venue. The result was a throng of patrons hanging out in the lobby until around nine, when most began making their way in. Plenty of others were already there, meaning anything close to the vicinity of the stage was impossible to get. It continued to fill up, and while the Paramount still felt spacious enough, it was clearly packed as you stood in close proximity with one another. The audience roared between some of the songs that blared out of the speakers. It stopped after some of them, giving the impression that FNM was about to take the stage. Everyone was clearly antsy; and when the lights finally dimmed and the house music truly cut out, the fanfare was earsplitting. The stage was decked out in flowers. Some lined the front of the stage while others were scattered about, placed atop or close to the amps. In complete contrast to the elegant garden like feel that created, it was also hard to miss a disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Roddy Bottum began singing their opening number which was the lead single from the forthcoming record, “Motherfucker”, the keyboardist soon sharing singing duty with frontman Mike Patton once he and the rest of the band took the stage. From head to toe they were all dressed in white. The tracks grand sounding soundscape gave it an excellent quality, making it a solid opener; while Patton somewhat knelt in front of the mic stand at times as he delivered the lyrics. Even though it was a new song everyone already seemed to be loving it; and they were merely stretching at this point. “Thank you,” Patton said immediately after he sung the last line of their second song, before they really turned up the heat with “Caffeine”. The frontman had mostly relied on the mic stand during those first couple tracks, but now, he left it behind. Seeing the way he wielded the microphone, the way he often held it from the end and angled it down in front of his mouth, it made me realize how underutilized the microphone is with most acts. It’s like most vocalists use it like a utensil, as if there’s a proper way to hold it and that’s the only way. That’s not the case with Patton. What he was doing with it meets my classification of being out of the ordinary, and that’s one thing that sets him apart from the bulk of frontmen. The other key one is his voice. That song was a perfect example of how all over the place he can be, belting out some throaty screams at times, growling at other points and even nailing some lovely notes. The entire night offered multiple samplings of the smorgasbord style. Before moving any further, the singer asked what was new there in Seattle, being quick to point out that it had been twenty years since they were last there. Two decades. That’s a long time; and their fans from back then as well as the new ones had come out in force, many singing along with “Ricochet”, a very appropriate song in this city, considering it happened to be written the day of Kurt Cobain’s death. Just six songs in and the audience was treated to what all would consider to be a highlight of the show: “Epic”. The often hip-hop sounding style Patton adopted during it sounded as good as it does on the recording from years ago; and there was an awesome moment on the song after where a crowd surfer was lifted into the air, wheelchair and all. That was epic! They had torn through one song minus Bottum, who was still out there, though his keys weren’t heard, and he quipped they may come back to the song later in the night so everyone could hear what it was like with the keys. Mike Bordin got them going on another cut off Angel Dust, “Midlife Crisis”, which featured a fun breakdown to extend the song, along with them completely cutting out on the track, letting the fans scream during the silence that fell over the venue before picking back up with a funky bass solo courtesy of Billy Gould. Guitarist Jon Hudson then took charge a few songs later. His chops had been noticeable, but became devastating as he ripped out some monstrous riffs on songs like “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”; while a track they’ve been known to cover for quite some time, The Commodores’ “Easy”, offered an intriguing counterbalance, earning the band a few lighters being waved around in the air. A few more songs followed before they wrapped their 68-minute long set in the same fashion they had begun it: with a new song, namely, “Superhero”. With such a diverse palette, it has no trouble fitting into the Faith No More repertoire, even sounding like the classics of theirs do; and once it was all said and done, the entire band stayed on stage for a few moments, bowing and expressing their gratitude before taking their leave. An encore was expected as far as the fans were concerned. Few left, and the chants sounded like they had to be answered, though whether they would or not remained to be seen. Eventually, they were, and the title track of this new album came sandwiched between an unexpected rendition of Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s In Love with You”, which offered the most tranquil moment of the show; and despite it being an odd song even for FNM, they had no trouble pulling it off to work to their advantage. They then left with what Bottum noted was an odd title for a song, though it was just how they named songs back in their younger days. By younger days I mean they took everyone back to their debut album from 1985, doing “Mark Bowen”, a song named after their first guitarist, whom they said was in attendance this night. It was heavy and tight, a perfect way to end the show. Obviously, I had never seen Faith No More prior to this. Honestly, sans a couple songs, I hadn’t even listened too much of their stuff. It didn’t take any time for me to begin banging my head around to the music and getting totally caught up in it, though. It was incredibly easy to get into, just having a certain quality that allowed it to easily take a hold on you; while the performance was nothing less than riveting, with the guys giving it their all the entire time they were up there. It was impressive, and I think everyone felt that way. They provided some laughs here and there with their stage banter and rocked like no other. All I know is their summer tour can’t get here quick enough; and by then, I will make sure I’m well-versed in their songs.
Lost In Concert | Faith No More at The Paramount Theatre
The all white outfits combined with the solid white decor of the flower-covered stage would make one think they are about to attend some sort of Joel Osteen sermon. Cue the lights. With each splash of red, yellow, blue, purple, green and everything in between the stage took on new life. Much like Faith No More’s catalogue. Heavy, sweet, hardcore, pop. Only the real fans of Faith No More truly understand. And there are A LOT of fans. So many in fact that some diehard fans spent the whole show outside trying to find a way in to the sold out show.
As a child of the 80′s I had personally only spent time with the hits of Faith No More. Seeing them 18 years after their prime I was curious what this was going to be like. They sounded great, though! And can still rock with the best. If you were ever a fan, I doubt you’ll receive anything but satisfaction in attending their show.
The Music Enthusiast | Faith No More Pummels the Paramount Theatre
When the opportunity arose to travel out that way as part of On Tour Monthly (a site I contribute reviews to), I was pumped. I mean, why not?! Not only would I get to see a part of the country I had never laid eyes on, but it was also for a concert. Some people may think that’s a little crazy, flying halfway across the country to see a band, though this wasn’t some average concert.
With their seventh studio album and the first since getting back together due out in about a month, Faith No More was beginning the first leg of a North American tour.
The Paramount Theatre in Seattle was hosting the first US date and second show of this outing. It had been sold-out since moments after tickets first went on sale. Inside, it looked that way. The showroom portion filled up quick, despite the fact that alcoholic beverages weren’t allowed in there, having to be consumed out in the foyer. No one cared. They indulged beforehand, then ventured in.
It was a massive room, stunning to look at; while on stage, there were a variety of floral arrangements spread out. Some lined the edge of the stage, while others sat on or around the amps. It made for great, very different décor. How many times have you seen a band, an alt metal band no less, use flowers?
The wait seemed brutal, especially with the songs playing over the PA occasionally stopping, just a second or two between them, leading the fans to collectively roar, thinking the band was about to take the stage. It was worth it, but oh it was long; and when the lights did finally go out, all of that excitement was let loose, the entire room becoming electric.
It was 9:17, the stage lights flashing red as keyboardist Roddy Bottum took his spot on stage right, doing some of the singing before Mike Patton and the rest of the group made their entrance. All five of them were wearing white. White shirts, white pants, even a white undershirt in the case of drummer Mike Bordin, who removed his crisp looking long sleeve shirt a little later on in the night.
Everyone knows Faith No More can’t be pigeonholed; the lead single from the forthcoming Sol Invictus, “Motherfucker” got this 68-minute long set going, its more rhyme based lyrics often creating a hip-hop type style. Patton didn’t stick to that, though, growling on parts, his tone sounding ominous; while Bordin destroyed it in the back half of the track, pounding out the beats with such ferocity that he became the main focal point.
The twenty-three-year-old Angel Dust record was drawn from a few times this night, the first time coming now, as Patton occasionally used a megaphone whilst singing. He was often seen jumping about, defying the typical ideas you have about someone in their late forties, still appearing to have plenty of energy to burn through; and he was as raw and aggressive as possible. It was also during that song that someone out in the crowd was seen throwing their hat towards the stage. Whoever did it was evidently excited.
“Thank you!” shouted Patton immediately after the instruments fell silent, with “Caffeine” coming moments after. For the most part, they were all about knocking these songs out, keeping any type of banter to a minimum; and even as a tech stood on stage, fixing the drum kit, they still didn’t let that hinder that hefty song, which found the frontman finally leaving his mic stand behind, prowling around the stage, microphone in hand. The way he wields it is something else, often holding it from the base, angling it towards his mouth. It’s something so different from the rest of the pack, and something the majority of singers out there could take cues from.
He dominated during the ultra aggressive track that really highlighted both Billy Gould and Jon Hudson, on bass and guitar, respectively. All of that made it even a little stranger but still very cool that when he sung the word, “Relax,” it almost sounded more like a direct command to the spectators.
“What’s up Seattle?!” Patton bellowed upon finishing it, asking what was new. “It’s only been twenty fucking years,” he added. That would mean the last time they were in this city was around the time King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime was their current record, so no doubt “Ricochet” was in that set list, just as it was now. Once it was done, Patton addressed those on the balcony level with, “How’s the weather up there?” before they broke into the subsequent cut from that album, “Evidence”. It served as a prime example as to how unique FNM is. With many of the other songs (thus far) being in your face, that one was much smoother. The keys were the most prominent instrument; and Patton, who was dancing between delivering each line, got a snap along going with the onlookers. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.
“Epic” may not have been expected this early on, though, of course, it was one of the best moments of the entire show. Hell, even Patton’s voice didn’t sound too far off from the original recording on 1989’s The Real Thing, further proving what a powerhouse of a voice he still easily commands.
Perhaps the best thing about this Seattle show was that all seven albums of theirs were represented. The concert goers even got some more of the new songs on Sol Invictus, ones that haven’t and probably won’t be released until the actual album drops, like “Sunny Side Up”. There had been some light crowd surfing during their time on stage, but the best moment came during that one, when you saw a wheelchair lifted above peoples’ heads. The guy in it seemed to be riding a rush of euphoria as he was slowly passed to the front.
“How we doing over there, Roddy?” asked Patton, checking on the keyboardist, whose instrument had been silent during that one. Bottum apologized as the crew set to work fixing it, essentially laughing it off as he said they might revisit it later on, letting everyone hear what it was like with the keys the second time around.
“Get Out” was perfect to bang your head around to, Patton having no trouble snarling on the vicious screaming parts; and the keys were officially back in action as Bordin led the charge into “Midlife Crisis”, some of the fans screaming with excitement upon recognizing it. They altered it some, giving it a breakdown, as well as stretching out a long pause, which left the crowd roaring while the band just surveyed them. When it did come back in, it was Gould who cranked out a bass solo before the five of them truly resumed the song.
They bridged it straight in to “Last Cup of Sorrow”; and after concluding with some fuzzed out feedback, Hudson ripped into “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”, giving it an explosive intro. It was arguably the best moment of the show, simply because it was all over the place. It was insanely intense, yet Patton hit some more operatic tones at times, sounding absolutely gorgeous as he sung them.
In a drastic change of pace, the mood was slowed down with their rendition of “Easy” by The Commodores. It was far from being a sea of it, though a few lighters and phones were raised into the air as they performed it; and the crowd was encouraged to sing along. “We got another singing song if you care to join us,” Patton then stated afterwards.
The four instrumentalists all started singing, harmonizing on some chants that sounded like something a group of monks might do. “That’s the note of international peace,” Patton remarked, as his band mates continued holding the note. “Chant with us. Relax your lower spine. Clear all thoughts from your mind,” he then instructed the audience before “Spirit” fully got underway.
“Are you doing okay?” he checked in afterwards asking to see the “O”, as nearly everyone held up the “A OK” sign by making an O with their thumb and index finger. “Does that mean fuck you in Seattle?” Patton cracked before “King for a Day”, another number that showed off how superb his screaming voice could be; and the reverb that was thrown in pushed it to an extreme not seen so far this night. It was something else.
A long soupy, spacey sounding end eventually gave way to “Ashes to Ashes”, as the guitar again roared to life. I would swear that Patton had still merely been warming up his vocal chords. He was still pushing himself to new heights, jumping all over the place as he belted out the lyrics.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for showing up,” said Bottum, before Patton told everyone what a patient group they all were. “If you fuck us, we put out,” he said. Some members of the crowd chuckled at that, and while it was a little funny, he didn’t seem to be joking. “We’ve got one more,” he continued, noting it was a new one. “So act like you know like it,” he said, flashing a slight grin in advance of “Superhero”. The dynamics of that one live were very fun to watch. All of them quickly singing “GO!” in rounds gave it an urgent feel. Patton, after using it here and there throughout the set, again grabbed a bullet mic for parts of the song, creating a nice effect.
They all stayed out there for a few moments. Bordin bowed graciously, shaking his hands at everyone. After twenty years, Seattle had a lot of love to give them, and they soaked it all in.
They made people wait for the encore. One seemed certain, though they got a few minutes to catch their breath.
“…The hat says ‘Westward ho!” Patton said once he got back out there, referencing one that had been thrown on stage, possibly the one right near the start of their set. “What do you think that means?” he asked, adding he was tempted to wear it, but kinda freaked out at the same time.
A cover of Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s In Love with You” made for a surprising way to begin the encore. They pulled it off well, but who would have ever guessed they would do that song? As they played the slower number, a woman was seen (well, her silhouette from at the back, where I stood) getting atop someone shoulders. Moments later her shirt was being waved around in the air. Patton’s reaction to it was priceless, covering his face with his left hand, before moving his fingers slightly and taking a peek before again blocking his view. He actually covered his face for most of that time, playing the role of decent guy who was just a little curious.
The title track from the upcoming release, “Sol Invictus”, followed and when it kicked in, it kicked in hard. Just based on those new offerings, this new album will at the very least be on par with the rest of their catalog. It may even top it. Before the last song of this 13-minute encore, Bottum mentioned they used to name their songs in weird ways. For example, one of the songs on their ‘85 debut, We Care A Lot, was named after the very first guitar player in FNM, Mark Bowen. Bowen was in attendance this night, so they closed with “Mark Bowen”, which was carried out in supremely tight fashion, each member working in perfect harmony with the others; and it was as heavy as could be.
No one wanted it to end. No one was ready for it to end, though that was that.
It passed quickly, simply because everyone was so immersed in the performance. They more than delivered, though.
I had obviously never seen Faith No More before this (I’ll date myself by saying “Epic” is as old as I am), and honestly, I had never checked out any of their music (sans that single I just mentioned), despite being vaguely familiar with who the band was. I knew nothing going into this show, but immediately found myself banging my head around to the music every time it was appropriate (that was often) and totally enjoying every single second of this. That’s how gripping their songs still are.
I know they’ve been labeled weird by some, which may be true. Genre bending seems like a more fitting term to use, though. Sure, alt metal may be their primary style, but they traversed so many styles this night. I liked the fact that they grouped certain songs that went with one another together, creating more of a steady flow to things before switching it up a few songs later. However, in the end, it was the performance that was the most riveting part.
Motherfucker Land of Sunshine Caffeine Ricochet Evidence Epic Sunny Side Up Get Out Midlife Crisis Last Cup of Sorrow The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Easy (Commodores) Spirit King for a Day Ashes to Ashes Superhero This Guy's in Love With You (Burt Bacharach) Sol Invictus Mark Bowen