I have been looking forward to the reunion of this band for years. Then a few months ago my brother asked me if I would like to go to see the concert. For free. Well, let me think about that for 1/1000000000 of a millisecond. F*cking right I’ll go.
We got to the concert 5 minutes before the show was to start and parked. When we walked in we saw quite a range of audience members, but one thing was for sure. They were a little older. I don’t think I saw anyone under 25 there. It is not that the band is ancient by any means. They started in the 1980’s and their popularity didn’t spike until the early 90’s, but possibly because they haven’t been in the limelight, or the fact that they broke up for a long time alienated them from the younger crowd.
As we were walking to our seats the opening band, Le Butcherettes were on stage, and believe it or not, if I closed my eyes I could have sworn Geddy Lee was singing. I have never heard a female sing this way. That was the only song that sounded like Geddy, as the band morphed into kind of a White Stripes sounding band at one moment, to a full on punk assault the next. They are a garage punk band from Mexico. Jamie Aaron Aux is the new bassist, and Chris Common the new drummer. They form a rhythm section that is entrancing. They are the rock of the band, the glue that holds it all together. Although I don’t think there is any glue strong enough to hold the lead singer still for long. Teri Gender Bender is the spastic, multi-talented, in your face, front person of the band. One minute she is speaking to you in Spanish, the next belting out beautiful lyrics in English, then rolling around and flashing her undies like a skit on SNL featuring Mary Katherine Gallagher. I was waiting for her to stick her hands under her armpits and “smell them like this”. Being I was sitting in the orchestra section I was not close enough to see exactly what was going on down in the floor section, but suffice it to say it looked pretty wild when Teri was weaving her way though the crowd, and probably showing off her undies(and perhaps more while rolling around on the floor). She seems like a real wild child. But when she climbs back on stage, grabs her guitar and belts out a tune, she isn’t fooling around. This band is worth seeing, and they may be a headliner some day. I enjoyed them so much I bought the newest record (review upcoming), and when I got home I was pleasantly surprised to see that Henry Rollins and Shirley Manson make an appearance on it.
I could not find a clip for the Toronto show for Le Butcherettes, and the one posted has older band members, but I wanted to show one with Teri’s energy.
During the intermission my brother and I ran into one of the people from my local rock radio station and we talked about music, and how we were all so excited to see Faith No More. All of us love them, but had never seen them live. The nervous anticipation was building, in the building. My brother said he witnessed a dude just shaking his head, saying “I can’t believe I am seeing Faith No More tonight. I can’t believe it” I think many shared that sentiment.
We decided to get a drink before heading to our seats before Faith No More hit the stage. We went upstairs hoping the line ups were shorter. Wrong. We were inching closer to the bar, looking at our phones and watches every few minutes. We got about 5 people away from the bar and we heard subdued screams. Do we leave our spot in line and sprint back to our seat. Wait. The screams stopped quickly. Ok good. Those were the screams of the uninitiated concert goers that scream when the guitar and drum techs go on stage. Still, the screams meant they were almost there, and the bar seemed like it was a distant mirage. Finally, we got our drinks, we raced to our seats and within 1 minute the time we had longed for had come. We barely got a chance to take in the visual display. A wedding planner, or a funeral director would have loved this stage layout. Frilly cloths and flowers were everywhere the eye could see. Then the band came on stage wearing all white. They looked like a cult, which was ok because I drank the Faith No More koolaid years ago.
Then the real screams started. Even middle aged dudes can scream like little girls on a roller coaster when a band as awesome as Faith No More hit the stage.
The first song was a new song called Motherfucker. “Get the Motherfucker on the phone. On the phone.” Apparently these guys mean business. Certainly not my fave song, but it makes an impression, and sets the tone for the rest of the night. A few songs from Angel Dust follow, Land of Sunshine and Caffeine. Both good songs. The latter featuring great drum work. The band slowed it down a bit with Evidence, but the energy from the band and especially the crowd ramped up 10 fold when Epic came on. There really is nothing I can say about this song. It’s popularity hasn’t wavered over the years. It is about the only Faith No More song still on the radio. Another new song Sunny Side Up, then back to the fast paced drumming and guitar work of Get Out.
Next was Midlife Crisis, but this was not the normal version, which would have been good enough since it is such a great song. This version however had a cover of Lowdown by Boz Scaggs thrown into the mix. I love Boz Scaggs. I am not sure Faith No More do though. They asked the crowd if Boz Scaggs was Canadian. I assume this was a dig, as this was one of many insults hurled towards Canadians during the night. Mike Patton mentioned they were harassed at the border, so I’m not sure if that is part of it. Roddy Bottum spoke about his High School prom. He said he did cocaine, and asked what do we do in Canada at a prom? Incest? Mike also asked us why were still there half way through the show. He said he assumed we would all be gone playing hockey or curling.
Next up is Last Cup of Sorrow. Awesome guitar playing. The Gentle Art of Making Enemies is anything but gentle. Any self respecting metal band would be proud to lay claim to this song. Next is the song Easy. It is a cover of the Commodores song. If you don’t know who the Commodores are you should know the singer, Lionel Richie. The song does not suit the band. Faith No More is about as easy as a Sunday morning where you woke up in a jail cell and were still drunk and stoned from the night before. But I quite like it. And from the reaction of the crowd, I think they did too. Yet another song from Angel Dust, Be Aggressive, and this song suits them as they are much more aggressive than easy. Next is King For A Day, great vocals and use of the cop radio cb thing but amazing rhythm section.
Ashes to Ashes brings us some sick geetar work, and next comes another new song Superhero. If ever had any doubt that I would buy the new upcoming album this song would make the purchase mandatory.
The band says goodnight, but we know the deal, besides they have not played the songs I was hoping to see, War Pigs and From Out of Nowhere. The band leads off the encore with yet another new song. Matador is kind of a downer, and Mike even mentions this when the song is done. Here’s a thought. How about a rocking tune to play on that energy from the crowd cheering when you walk back on stage for the encore. Next is Digging a Grave. Shredding guitar, pounding drums, thumping bass, and screaming vocals. What is not to like. Last was The Bee Gees cover, I Started a Joke. Again, kind of a mismatched song, it was good, but not my favourite for closing the show. Again, the band say goodnight, and I assume that they will do a second encore as they had in some cities. However, you know what happens when you assume. The house lights go up, and I realize I will not hear 2 of the tunes I wanted, but I did get to hear most of the others I enjoy so that is a small setback.
Part way through the show, my brother points out a guy in the crowd that is air drumming like a madman. After the song Mike Patton calls the guy out. ‘Guy in the green shirt, about halfway back, air drumming.” Then the guy takes his shirt off and swings it over his head and Patton says ” Squeal like a pig, Ned Beatty. Weeeeee Weeeeeee Weeeeee”. Today, I heard the air drummer guy call the radio and also say Mike Borden gave him a set of drumsticks which was nice, and then he won tickets to the next Faith No More Show from the radio station.
As for the concert, one thing I was concerned about over the passage of time was Mike Patton’s voice. Best rest assured it was in tip top shape. At times he sang into the mike, sang into a cop style cb radio, and also into a megaphone. No matter the amplification, it all sounded sweet and silky at times, and raw and edgy at others. The band was tight and sounded awesome, and there was no portion of the show that really sounded bad. It sounded like it could have been recorded in 1995 instead of 2015. There was not one portion of the show where I had that “gotta go for a beer” moment. That says a lot for a band that had been apart for a long time, has not released a new album in 18 years, and included 4 new songs most did not know in the set.
For Le Butcherettes I give a 10 for enthusiasm, effort and stage presence. I give them a 9 for their music, which is really high for an opening act I have never heard of. Seriously, check them out. For Faith No More I would score a 10/10. I will drop 1/4 point for the song selection and song placement during the night(they only played one song from their most popular album, The Real Thing), and 1/4 point for the Canadian digs, so 9.5 total for the night. All in all, a great concert. Not one moment where we were bored and it seems the crowd felt the same.