Faith No More | The Wiltern, L.A - April 23rd / 24TH 2015
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 seventh and eighth dates were on Thurday April 23rd and Friday April 24th at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.
April 23rd 2015, The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA: In the leadup to the release of their seventh full-length studio album ‘Sol Invictus’, San Francisco experimental rock veterans Faith No More embarked on a North American headline tour in April 2015, and arrived in Los Angeles for three nights at the Wiltern, each night featuring a different set list and opening act. The second of these shows took place on Thursday April 23rd and was sold out in advance. Ticket holders started lining up in the early evening, and all was in readiness for a potentially fascinating event. Faith No More have dabbled in a variety of musical styles over the years and attract a diverse crowd as a result, but the atmosphere inside the Wiltern was no different to that of a typical hard rock/heavy metal show. A lot of familiar faces from those shows were seen in attendance, there was the dude on the general admission floor yelling ‘Slayer!’ during the opening act, and an inebriated fanboy in the balcony shouting uncontrollably at the top of his voice even while Mike Patton was talking to the crowd. But as I would discover soon enough, a Faith No More is like no other. Before we got to that, there were The Urinals serving as the opening act for this show. Theirs was one of the blandest, most repetitive and unenergetic performances I’ve seen in a long time. More than anything it just proved that playing punk rock without energy is pointless. Most of the older punk bands are no longer capable of delivering a worthwhile show and it should be solely left in the hands of younger bands. The upcoming Faith No More gig at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Saturday April 25 will feature Dave Lombardo’s Philm, quite simply the best possible choice as opener for this headline act, and it’s a pity that they weren’t added on the entire tour. The end of The Urinals’ 45-minute set could not come soon enough. At 9:45, the members of Faith No More appeared one by one, and even before they started playing, the mere sight of their stage setup was sufficient to not only get the audience’s undivided attention but raise their already high level of anticipation further. The band members were completely clad in white, as was the stage, amps and monitors included. Flowers were lined up all along the front edge of the stage and everywhere else possible, altogether giving the show a strong visual aspect. But once the set started, it was all about the music, and the fans gave the band a tremendous response (reportedly better than that of the audience here for night #1) to tell the band that they loved every moment of it. Presenting a variety of new and old material through this 19-song set, Faith No More entertained longtime fans and first-timers in equal measure, and some FNM concert veterans were quoted saying that this particular gig was better in every sense than the band’s past few Los Angeles outings. As for myself, I had never seen them before, and considering the fact that all popular heavy bands I’ve seen for the first time this year have put on majorly underwhelming shows (Dokken, Van Halen, Mushroomhead, Sixx:A.M. and Electric Wizard to name a few), I did not know what to expect from this Faith No More gig, but was pleasantly surprised to find the performance largely appreciable. Sonically, the band is most certainly dominated by Mike Bordin’s drums and Billy Gould’s bass, but the guitar and keyboard layers, put down by Jon Hudson and Roddy Bottum respectively, are still prominent enough for fans of the more conventional and old-school varieties of heavy music to be able to enjoy the live sound as a whole. And of course, then there was the frontman, Mike Patton, presenting a wildly varied range of vocal stylings, at times hard to keep up with for those not very deeply immersed in the Faith No More discography. Patton and Bottum addressed the crowd on a few occasions but did not overdo it, and focused primarily on the music. The black leather-clad gimp that’s a visual component of this show was none other than Duff McKagan of Guns ‘N Roses, which many thought was a joke when Mike Patton mentioned his name but it was later confirmed that the gimp was indeed McKagan himself. ‘We Care A Lot’, which ended the first encore, was the highlight of the set in my opinion, and they should have perhaps closed the show with it instead of coming back out to play ‘From The Dead’. In terms of the sound quality and the view of the stage, since I somehow ended up with two tickets, one on the general admission floor and the other in the mezzanine section of the balcony, I had a chance to explore both vantage points, and it must be said that the balcony is a far better place to watch Faith No More at the Wiltern, and that might be the case for upcoming shows at this venue. Overall, a truly unique sonic and visual exhibition. Faith No More isn’t for everyone, but is certainly one of a kind.
On Thursday, April 23rd, I went to see Faith No More at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. (The name comes from the fact that it’s on the corner of Wilshire and Western.) I’m lucky I had a chance to go; the (pre!)show sold out in about 30 seconds. My friend John was on it, though. We ended up having a pretty good crew of about 8 people thanks to his quick reflexes and web saavy. I had seen Faith No More previously in Brooklyn, NY at the Williamsburg Waterfront. It was an amazing experience, but it was more like an outdoor festival. The Wiltern show was much more intimate. It’s also among the top three concerts I’ve ever attended, and not only because I’m such a Mike Patton fanboy. The sound, musicianship, and energy were perfect. I arrived early with a co-worker, so we grabbed a pizza and a couple of beers before the concert at the restaurant next door. We stayed for awhile and ended up missing the opening act (The Urinals) completely. We peeked in to hear them briefly, but no one seemed like they wanted to go in and see them. Andrew Bansal from metalassault.com described The Urinals as bland, repetitive, and unenergetic. It seems to me we didn’t miss anything. (Between The Urinals and Retox opening for Tomahawk, what’s with the lousy opening acts for Patton?) The stage setup looked like a cemetery. The monitors and speakers were all covered in white and adorned with bouquets of flowers. Faith No More took the stage at approximately 9:45 to rapturous applause. I expected Patton to get the biggest applause, as he’s easily the most famous member in the band. I was pleasantly surprised that all the members seemed to get the same response. Music is collaborative, after all, and Patton isn’t even the original singer. The band members were all dressed in white, and my immediate thought was that they looked like cult members. Was this a tongue-in-cheek jab that their fans are cult-like? (Or maybe I just totally made that up.) The one exception was “the gimp” who was dressed in black leather from head to toe, including a mask that covered his face completely. Fun fact! I later found out that this was Duff McKagan (the bassist for Guns ‘N Roses). He didn’t play anything, he just walked around on stage during the first song and the encore. It was more of a strange prank than anything. The performance was incredible. Just absolutely incredible. As I write this post four days later, I’m still blown away. The musicianship was a lot tighter than when I saw them in 2009, and the new songs are new-sounding without losing the Faith No More flavor. (You can order the new album by clicking the Amazon link that I included at the top of this post.) The sound mixing was superb, and every song hit me like a ton of bricks. Faith No More’s music is very drum and bass oriented, especially their album King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime. I was happy that most of the songs were off of this album. The highlight for me was the song The Gentle Art of Making Enemies. If you’ve never heard it before, give it a listen. The song is quite heavy while at the same time being quite varied. It goes from a quiet hum to a loud, chugging riff and into the melodic chorus. Patton’s vocals are really on display in this song; he goes from a whisper to a growl to operatic singing before the song is over. All five members of Faith No More are amazing musicians and the energy throughout the show was insane, especially considering these guys are in their late 40s/early 50s. The stand out performance belongs to Patton, though. Of course. The frontman always has the toughest job, and he nailed it. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. It helps that he has one of the best voices in rock music contemporary music, in general, and that his singing style/vocal delivery is so varied and so versatile. He has no problem going from a metal song to a jam song to a punk song to a jazz song. I was invested all the way, and the crowd’s reaction suggested that everyone else was, too. On a side note, our small group shared the floor space with the comedian Brian Posehn. I know who he is, and I knew that he liked heavy music, but I’m not super familiar with his comedy. A couple of fans asked for photos with him, and he obliged although I think it was a bit annoying for him. He was trying to enjoy the show like the rest of us, after all. Faith No More, after an amazing set, gave us not one but two encores. Ugly in the Morning was pure chaos and the crowd went nuts. We Care A Lot is from the Chuck Moseley days, and I’m thrilled that they still play it. (The song is almost thirty years old.) The second encore was a new song, and a fitting end to the concert.
Motherfucker Land of Sunshine Caffeine Evidence Epic Sunny Side Up As the Worm Turns Midlife Crisis [ Boz Scaggs, "Lowdown" ] Chinese Arithmetic [ Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" ] The Gentle Art of Making Enemies Easy [ Commodores ] Cuckoo for Caca King for a Day Ashes to Ashes Superhero Matador Ugly in the Morning We Care a Lot From the Dead
“Their ‘Gimp’ guy got stuck in traffic or something — something like that — and Patton asked if I’d be the ‘Gimp.’ And I’d just gotten to the gig, me and another friend. I’m wearing all black, and everybody else was wearing white. ‘Cause they play in white, and everybody backstage, their crew, they all have white on. The guy I came with, Jerry Cantrell [Alice in Chains], he wore white, because he had gone to the show the night before. I picked him up, [and I said], ‘What are you doing wearing all white?’ He’s, like, ‘Faith No More white, dude.’ [I was, like], ‘Oh, yeah, I blew it.’ But being the only guy dressed in black, I was the instant ‘Gimp.'” - Duff Mckagan