Preview of Faith No More Concert in Moscow in January 1998
More of Faith No More
By Simon Saradzhyan
The Moscow Tribune
“Can you feel it? See it? Hear it today? If you can’t then it doesn’t matter anyway. You will never understand it cause it happens so fast. And it feels so good like walking on glass." Sorry for such a long “Epic” quote, but that’s really how my organs of sense, if not feet, feel like every time we put on one of those Faith No More records, except, maybe, for their sarcastically-visualised cover of Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like A Sunday Morning.”
Everything else is so erratic and eclectic that even seasoned connoisseurs of the mainsteram rock’s heavy alternative fail to track down all influences in FNM’s ongoing sonic aggression which will this week stretch into Moscow for the third time courtesy of Talent Concert International.
Thrash metal? Rap? Funk? Punk? This 18-year old San Francisco unit which mutates with each new release, yet stays on its own “Path of Glory.“ The latter is one of the better tracks on the new release , yet stays on its own “Path of Glory.“ The latter is one of the better tracks on the ? You name it! We at [i]The Tribune[i] have already lost remnants of our teenage faith in the Western pop industry’s classifications, trying to do that, and just call it Faith No More.
Really, the very word “style” is something that doesn’t stick up to to band’s latest record which is not completely misnamed “Album of the Year.”
On the whole, this 1997 release sounds much more powerful and alive than the previous half-hearted “King For a Day” where guitar lines were recorded by an alternatively unimaginative Trey Spruance from singer Mike Patton’s side project Mr. Bungle. Luckily this king of guitar mediocracy has already been dethroned by Jon Hudson, former roommate of FNM’s bass virtuoso Billy Gould. And much the joy of this country’s vast hard rock community, already cheered by FNM drummer Mike Bordin’s allaince with Ozzy Ozbourne, Hudson wisely shares Black Sabbath leanings of the band’s original guitarrero Jim Martin.
While still too stifle to match this British hard rock monster’s stage insanity, Faith No More will definitely give us all more kicks at Luzhniki’s Malaya Sportivnaya Arena this Sunday at 6.00 pm than the laughable money-reaper who sailed through Kremlin last week.
Review of Faith No More Concert in Moscow in January 1998
By Simon Saradzhyan
The Moscow Tribune
I couldn’t care less when Roddy Bottum of Faith No More told me that one of his favourite bands is Aqua. Oh, well, just another sordid joke so typical of the San Francisco outfit, I thought, preparing for this San Francisco band’s headlining gig in Moscow last Sunday, a single date in the ongoing European leg of their world tour.
I realised how wrong and inattentive I was only a few hours later, when vocalist Mike Patton interrupted his rapid-fire succession of FNM’s best and worst for a quick rendition of Aqua’s finest.
“I’m a Barbie girl in my Barbie world.
Life in plastic. It’s fantastic.
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere.
Imagination. Life is your creation,” Patton drawled, much to the confusion of Moscow’s FNM junkies, who showed up in full force at Luzhniki’s Malaya Sportivnaya Arena.
“Come’on, Mikey, let’s go party,” [i]Tribuners[i] replied, taking up the next line of this Danish duo’s lollipop chart-breaker, but this suggestion drew no response from Patton.
Mike, like the rest of this angry hardcore-rap-punk-pop-kitsch band brought by Talent Concert International, was too preoccupied with continuing the show. Patton, dressed and hair-dressed like an aspiring mafiosi, stepped into the spotlight of the T-shaped stage. The FNM’s visibly tense frontman started it all slowly with a melodic cover of the “Midnight Cowboy” soundtrack, allowing the mushpit crowd to recover from the sickening offerings of Russian bands Naiv and Tequilajazz as well as Ukraine’s Green Gray. All three were chosen to open for the Frisco posse at what was officially dubbed the [i]S Pertsem Po Zhizny[i] festival.
Soon enough the soothing effect of Patton’s harmonica was all lost in the roar of the US music underworld’s best rhythm section, that kept all our diaphragms violently vibrating hours after the show was over. Mike Bordin drummed away one speed-chasing sequence after another, all lost in his dreadlocks, to the joy of the arena’s cigarette-puffing crowd. The latter ran out of breath long before Bordin, even though this founding member confessed to me before the show that he had been smoking cigars lately.
Spitting on the floor and leaving his footprints on Luzhniki’s interiors, Bordin, who is the only of FNM not to have traded the traditional rock appearance for a trendy suit and short haircut, told [i]The Tribune[i] he started digging [i]kurros cubanos[i] while touring with Ozzy. Unlike Osborne, who smokes ten cigars a day (and rides an exercise bike too!), Bordin enjoys only two smokes a day, unwilling to affect his fierce drumming performance, matched only by FNM’s other rhythm-man Billy Gould.
Swirling his head with an intensity that would have made Metallica’s James Hatfield weep into his beer, Gould dribbled his fingers all over his bass’ neck. The mushpit’s headbanging males almost wrang each other’s necks trying to emulate this bass idol, while stoned gals literally leaped onto the press corps from the upper seats.
This stage-bound motion was temporarily slowed down during a paralysing instrumental by Bottum and the band’s latest guitarist Jon Hudson, but then climbed a crescendo when Faith No More finally conceded to play “Epic.” This was, and still is the song its creators are most “sick of” having to wrestle out at every “f…ing” show, according to Bottum.
And, if Patton did have “a little problem” with his vocals, as the same Bottum put it on Sunday morning, it did show in his performance of this best-known hit from the band’s breakthrough album “Real Thing.”
“Can you feel it? Hear it? See it today?” Patton shout at the audience in the very first line of this FNM anthem. And we did feel, hear and see a lack of combative spirit in the whole group. This impression vanished as soon as the band moved to “The Land of Sunshine” from their 1992 album “Angel Dust,” but then got back again when Patton started rapping reluctantly the lines of another anthem dubbed “We Care A Lot.”
In fact, the only of their standards Faith No More did perform impecabbly and easily on that Sunday night was “Easy Like A Sunday Morning.” This cover of Lionel Richie’s ballad again proved both Patton’s vocal might and Hudson’s ability to copycat the solo technique of the band’s original guitarrero Jim Martin.
And like this head-bobbing Sphynx of hardcore, Hudson stayed motionless. The shy generator of Black Sabbath-like riffs pranced forward only when urged by Patton to squeal out the guitar solo on the tip of the stage.
As for Patton, he wouldn’t stop his kung-fu dashes and shadow-boxing even when nearly hit by a stick hurled from the mushpit. Instead, he moved to the edge of the stage by shouting “Come on, m….r” and pointing to his forehead. He even froze for several seconds producing a Placido-Domingo-like vibrato.
Fortunately, this provocation didn’t work and Patton retreated to make vicious circles in front of Bordin’s kit, screaming and howling, chattering and wheezing until it was all abruptly over.
Having prematurely fired all of their standards in the middle of their disturbing show, Faith No More retreated from the stage. Then they came back and left, came back and left again in what looked and sounded like an automatic replay due to the evident lack of one convincingly final anthem.