FAITH NO MORE – Live at the Brixton Academy (1991 Slash UK)
My mom and dad bought this European import for me Christmas ’92. A rarity for sure, it cost over $30 at HMV Fairview Mall. I was thrilled to get the two rare studio tracks, although the live material already existed on the classic You Fat Bastards VHS tape. I received that tape the previous Christmas and didn’t know a CD version existed, until I saw it at HMV myself.
For the record, here is the full tracklist from You Fat Bastards: Live at the Brixton Academy which has since been reissued on DVD:
1. “From Out of Nowhere”
2. “Falling to Pieces”
3. “The Real Thing”
4. “Underwater Love”
5. “As the Worm Turns”
6. “Edge of the World”
7. “We Care a Lot”
9. “Woodpecker from Mars” (Instrumental)
10. “Zombie Eaters”
11. “War Pigs”
The CD loses “Underwater Love”, “Woodpecker From Mars”, and “As the Worm Turns” from the first Faith No More LP. While this is unfortunate, I am glad that “As the Worm Turns” from this video showed up on a version of the “Epic” CD single. I added to the album as a “bonus track” when I ripped it to mp3. (The band actually played 18 songs that night including rarities like “Why Do You Bother” and “Crab Song”.)
For some reason the CD also shuffles up the track order, opening with “Falling to Pieces” instead of the natural opener “From Out of Nowhere”. It’s the funkier side of Faith No More’s Real Thing era. Although it was a single I don’t think it’s all that exceptional and certainly not as a CD opener, but whatever. (There also seems to be some kind of weird phasing or something going on with Jim Martin’s guitar sound.) “The Real Thing” is seven minutes of ups and downs and drama and Patton shrieks. This is the kind of Faith No More track that is initially too fucky to digest in one sitting. Patton’s live improvisations vocally are a joy to fans who know what the song sounded like in the studio.
“This next song…is a song…that has four letters in the title…and it starts…with an E,” introduces Patton, and we all know what song that would be. In April 1990, they might not have. 25 years later, the song is still fresh, especially with Patton’s ad-libs. “Ooo-woo-oo-oo!”
The Black Sabbath cover “War Pigs” is edited in next, a perplexing slot considering it was played in the encores. This is the same version that later re-emerged on the Black Sabbath tribute album Nativity in Black. Sabbath fans unfamiliar with Faith No More’s idiosyncratic side did not like Patton’s loose work with vocal and lyrics, although I think “Mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah mlah mlaaaghaah” works just as well as “On their knees the wars pigs crawling.” To each their own. You either like Faith No More or you don’t.
Actual show opener “From Out of Nowhere” is slotted next, a breakneck metal-with-keys anthem showcasing the musical chops of this underrated band. Judging by the fades, I’d say this is where Side Two would be on a cassette version. On VHS I remember an animated Patton bounding about the stage, confident and unpredictable.
“We Care a Lot”, which contains within it a hilarious nod to the New Kids on the Block, was a show highlight. “Zombie Eaters” on the other is a foreboding rollercoaster. From dark quiet guitar chords, to thrashing ones, this song has it all. In some ways it is similar to “The Real Thing”, in that it takes a few listens to get it.
“Hey it’s time to snap kids…it’s time to fuckin’ snap, goddamit” instructs Patton. “Listen!” he says, putting the microphone to his buttocks and farting. “That was real.” Like I said, you either like Faith No More or you do not. “Edge of the World” is a nice little piano slow dance, but it is totally inappropriate for ending the live portion of the album. This is one of the worst sequenced CDs I have ever owned.
Two unreleased studio tracks from The Real Thing sessions are the real treat of this CD. “The Grade” sounds like a pedal steel guitar instrumental. It sounds like Jimmy Page. Jim Martin never got enough credit as a guitar player, and this track is exhibit A. “The Cowboy Song” is not a Thin Lizzy cover, in fact it’s an original. It occupies the same space as some of the more accessible tracks on The Real Thing. Young Patton was in peak voice, singing a powerfully melodic chorus. Roddy Bottum lays down some tasty Purple organ backing the song, which truthfully is a Faith No More favourite of mine.
Since it’s from the same concert I’ll add a word about “As the Worm Turns”, an oldie from the first album with Chuck Mosely. I’ll never forget the sight of Patton coming out in a weird mask and laying waste to it. Mike was able to do the Mosely songs with no problem, and this is one of the tunes that works best. Because it was based on yelling out a vocal melody, Mike takes it to another level.
You can get “As the Worm Turns” on the 1990 UK CD single for “Epic”, on Slash records (LASCD 26).
I’d be happy to give this CD 5/5 stars based on performance alone, but since the sequencing is so illogical and random, it’s only worth: