It was 1997 and I was standing in the Paris subway system. I noticed posters for Faith No More on the walls at many of the stops. The band had just released “Album Of The Year” and it would be their last studio effort until officially disbanding in 1999. Upon further travels in Europe and after returning to the USA; I realized how loved this band is/was overseas rather than in their own home country. FNM was way ahead of their time. Ignorantly, they are called a one hit rap-rock wonder due to the commercial success of their song “Epic”. The band didn’t score a major hit after that, but they did get better and better with each subsequent record. They also got weirder and weirder…in a very good way. This was a group that was very hard to classify or put a label on. They drew from a myriad of influences and genres. In my opinion, they never got “big” because they were too cerebral for the majority of the brain dead American listening public. Listening to an FNM record requires patience, intelligence, open-mindedness, and a versatile ear. Whether it was cacophonous instrumentals, metal-tinged riffs, Mike Patton’s vocal acrobatics/lunacy, or off the wall cover song selections; the band always kept you guessing. Fast forward to 2009 and FNM announced they were reforming and touring. They played all over Europe, Australia, and New Zealand to hundreds of adoring fans. However, when it came time to play in America, it would only encompass six dates – two in San Fran, one at Coachella, two in Brooklyn, and one in Philadelphia. I heard through the message boards that the band would have played more cities, but promoters weren’t interested. Wow. Americans didn’t care then and they don’t care now. How sad. Another incredible and under-rated/under-appreciated American band gets the shaft by their own country. Luckily, my brother scored tickets for one of the Brooklyn shows and I was there this past July 4th weekend to witness this monumentous event.
The show was at a fairly new venue called The Brooklyn Waterfront. It was absolutely gorgeous. A huge outdoor stage and in front of it the waters of the East River and the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. When the sun was setting, Mike Patton told the crowd to look behind them because that was the sight to see. I can just imagine how awesome the view was from the stage. A sea of people against a sun dipping into the water and the city that never sleeps. One of the t-shirts at the merch-booth had “Happy Birthday Fucker” on the front. A befitting shout out considering it was July 4th weekend. Here’s the setlist….
- Reunited (Peaches & Herb cover)
- From Out of Nowhere
- Land of Sunshine
- Surprise! You’re Dead!
- Last Cup of Sorrow
- Cuckoo for Caca
- Easy (Commodores cover)
- Midlife Crisis
- The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
- Ashes to Ashes
- I Started a Joke (Bee Gees cover)
- King for a Day
- Just a Man
- Chariots of Fire (Vangelis cover)
- Be Aggressive
- We Care a Lot
It was a flawless set and I thought it was very balanced across all their albums. I had seen FNM twice back in the day and on this night they didn’t miss a beat and sounded better than ever. Mike Patton’s voice is like velvet and at a moments notice it is brutal as all hell. He is one of the most talented and profound artists around. The amount of work, bands, and projects that he has been involved in/with since FNM disbanded is very impressive. It was a joy to watch the left handed Mike Bordin wail on his Yamaha drum kit. Fluid, precise, hard hitting, yet full of finesse. Billy Gould’s bass was upfront and menacing. This guy has always been one of my all time fave four string slingers. Roddy Bottum (keys/back up vocals) and Jon Hudson (guitar) flanked either end of the stage and held it down. The cover songs were cheeky and very well done. The heavy songs were pummeling and rooted in pure Metal. And the ballads were smooth mellow perfection. These guys do it all and do it with superior skill and execution. It was an exhilarating performance and even cooler was the fact that I got to experience it with my three brothers and closest friends – Irfan, Zaid, and Asad. We had an incredible time and I’m so jazzed to have been able to travel out of town again to see one of my favorite bands of all time.