REVIEW: Faith No More – Live In Germany 2009

Enjoy this first review from my 2014 Toronto Record Store Excursion with Aaron!

FNM GERMANY 2009_0004FAITH NO MORE – Live In Germany 2009 (Immortal)

“Faith No More 2.0.  New software; same old shit.  Enjoy!” — Mike Patton

Faith No More have long been one of those bands who never really got their due.  Without Faith No More, you’d have no Korn, Disturbed, or System of a Down.  Their influence is best measured in the numerous bands who followed in their wake.  I’m proud to have been a fan since first exposure (1990).  When Faith No More broke up in ’98, I thought they took the high road by being one of the few bands to say a reunion was not in the cards.  Then, like all the other bands, that moment came and Faith No More gradually eased themselves back on the stage.  Now they’re making a new album (a new single, the Tom Waits-ish “Motherfucker” is out November 28) and I think that’s just grand.

I was pleased to bits to find a live CD document of a European Faith No More reunion show.  It was an obvious must-buy, but I was happy that it sounds so fucking good!

The CDs only flaw is that it begins abruptly, as if a few notes of the first song “Reunited” are cut off.  This 1978 R&B hit displays a side of Faith No More that other bands fail to capture — their ability to play classic R&B and Disco perfectly.  Mike Patton has the soul chops, and just enough weirdness to throw his own style in towards the end.  They segue this perfectly into the hammering “From Out of Nowhere” from 1989’s The Real Thing.  I’ll tell you something here — I don’t miss Jim Martin at all.  At first, I was hoping (without grounds) that Martin would be a part of the reunion.  The band instead (and logically) went with their most recent guitarist Jon Hudson, a well-rounded player who can do all eras of Faith No More equally convincing.  This is apparent on the wah-wah drenched “Be Aggressive” from ’92.  This sexually explicit shocker is just as undeniably catchy as it was back in the 90’s.

FNM GERMANY 2009_0002This being Germany, Patton can’t resist dropping the odd “scheisse”, before barking like a dog, on the epic “Caffeine”.  This bizarre powerhouse has long been one of Faith No More’s most stunning trips into the void, and live it’s only more so.  Without the studio effects on his voice, Mike Patton resorts to unorthodox techniques to give his voice the distortion and flexibility required.  Vibrating his throat with his hand, for example, is one such method you can hear on “Caffeine”.

Some of the other incredible highlights included here are the slick Disco of “Evidence”, which Mike sings in Spanish!  The piano-and-beatbox of “Chariots of Fire” is hilarious and cool.  Patton’s vocal acrobatics are unearthly on “Surprise! You’re Dead!”.  Same with “MidLife Crisis”.  You either like the craziness Mike Patton injects live, or you don’t.  If you don’t, then you’re probably not a Faith No More fan anyway.  I also enjoy the funny rant about somebody throwing €1 at him during the same song.  “How would you feel, if you were a stripper or something, and somebody threw one Euro.  How would you feel?”  A valid question.

The best tune is probably the apocalyptic “Gentle Art of Making Enemies”.  I fully expected Mike Patton’s head to explode.  I don’t know how can do what he does with just lungs and a throat.  Not to be outshined is drummer Mike “Puffy” Bordin who keeps the train on the tracks for the whole show.

The band’s onstage banter is a little friendlier than it was back in the day, but still teasing.  They are not as antagonistic as I’ve heard them in the past.  But they sure are tight.  Musically, there is no question that reuniting this lineup was 100% the right move.   They are too versatile and just too damn good to stay broken up.  The set list was a well balanced representation of the Patton years, with only one Chuck Mosely classic (“We Care A Lot”, which is the closer).   There aren’t too many obvious hits missing.  “A Small Victory”, perhaps, or “Falling to Pieces”.

5/5 stars

21 comments

    1. Great CD this one. I’ll definitely be picking up that new single.

      Last night I was hunting for rare Faith No More and I found an old clip from about ’83, when they were still known as Faith No Man. Different singer/guitar player, but otherwise the same band. Man Mike Bordin was just a short haired little kid!

      Then I was searching for Jim Martin stuff, to see what he looked like today. Just some guy! No beard no glasses. I saw him with Hetfield at a tribute to Cliff Burton.

      Incidentally, in the Metallica cover of “Tuesday’s Gone”, when James says “Thanks Fatso”? Apparently Fatso is Jim Martin. I assumed he was talking to John Popper. An old nickname of Jim’s was Fatso Martin.

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        1. He played on the Metallica track. So when Hetfield says, “Thanks” to everyone and closing it with “Thanks Fatso” I really did think it was John Popper. But it was Jim Martin, who is bone thin. Maybe that’s how he got the name Fatso.

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  1. After I witnessed them tank there live performance opening for GNR/Metallica I totally gave up on this band…yep I the stick in the mud on this one guys …

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  2. One of my all-time favorite bands. For me Angel Dust and Album of the Year are my top albums (Favorite song a toss-up between Midlife Crisis and Stripsearch). I remember anytime UCLA was too daunting I’d just pop FNM and get pumped up. Mike Patton, with his ability to scream, sing baritone low, sing high/falsetto, rap, sing in fluent Italian, is easily one of the greatest rock vocalist to ever live. I hear he is a total dick in real life, but so are most rock dudes lol.

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    1. He may well be, but who cares right? He probably has a unique personality that not everybody gets. That probably turns into, “Well, he’s a dick.” But he doesn’t seem to have problems finding numerous people to work with, so he can’t be all that bad!

      Great talent though. I think it’s safe to say that if Patton hadn’t joined Faith No More in ’88, I wouldn’t have ever started to care about them.

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