Concert Review: Faith No More at Austin Music Hall. Alt-metal pioneers deliver a transcendent, soaring set to a rapt Austin, TX crowd.
Faith No More bassist Billy Gould joked to the packed house at Austin Music Hall, that “it’s been like 30, or 25, or 35 years since we’ve been here! How have you been?” In truth, it’s been 20 years since the band played the Texas state capital, but regardless, the boisterous crowd made it abundantly clear: they’ve been sorely missed.
The group kicked off their incendiary set with Motherfucker, the lead single from new album Sol Invictus, which proved a perfect opening salvo, followed by the Angel Dust anthem Be Aggressive.
Even for a venue known for muddy acoustics, the group’s hammer tight rhythms (drummer Mike Bordin splintered several drumsticks from his pummeling delivery) and frontman Mike Patton’s six-octave vocal range cut through the humidity with scalpel-like precision.
The setlist covered a wide terrain of their entire discography. With typical bravado they dropped their biggest hit, 1989’s rap-rock smash Epic early in the set, knowing full well diehards were hungrier for deep album cuts: the operatic Everything’s Ruined was chill-inducing, and The Gentle Art of Making Enemies was delivered in all its bludgeoning glory.
The band gave the audience a chance to sing during Midlife Crisis, and Mike Patton gave a playful “meh” facial expression at the crowd’s somewhat clumsy delivery.
Faith No More have always been the merry pranksters of alternative rock, and Patton gave great snark in-between sets, from inviting everyone to notorious Austin nude beach Hippie Hollow (“I’ll meet you there with burritos!”), to dedicating their soaring, blissful cover of The Commodore’s Easy to grindcore metal openers Napalm Death (after which Patton took a smartphone pic of the crowd for posterity.)
After slamming renditions of Sol Invictus’s Separation Anxiety and Ashes to Ashes (the sole cut from 1997’s Album of the Year), the band retreated to ravenous, cavernous applause (in one of the most rabid responses I’ve ever seen at a show).
They regrouped for a pair of encores which included the 80’s Live-Aid skewering We Care A Lot, and the final track, a lounge-tastic cover of Burt Bacharach’s This Guy’s In Love With You, given surreal counterpoint by the band’s set design of floral arrangements, all white attire and a swirling disco ball.
While one can nitpick songs not included in the setlist (I was longing for Ugly In the Morning), the band were in remarkable form, and Patton’s (apparently ageless) musical ability to shift from banshee shriek to soulful croon remains awe-inspiring to witness firsthand.
While I fervently hope it’s not another 20 years until Faith No More return to Austin, Texas (or if they will at all, assuming/hoping they stick together), this will go down as highlight for every grinning blissed-out music fan that I saw exiting the venue as the house lights went up, on an Easy like Sunday evening that they’ll never forget.
Faith No More-Austin Music Hall Setlist:
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
King for a Day
Ashes to Ashes
We Care a Lot
This Guy’s in Love With You
(Burt Bacharach cover)
Buy Sol Invictus on Amazon:
[amazon_image id=”B00TZE3W2U” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Sol Invictus[/amazon_image]