We’re delighted to be able to offer another guest post today as friend of the site Gordon Bissell offers his review of Faith No More’s show in Glasgow on Sunday night.
I’m a long-time fan of Faith No More who first went to see them perform at the Glasgow Barrowlands for the Angel Dust tour on Thursday 3 December 1992. On the cusp of turning 18 that was the last gig where I gained entry illegally. I can truly say that I have no regrets about my lawbreaking on that particular occasion as I’ve never missed a Scottish FNM gig since. I couldn’t wait for this, their latest gig in Glasgow which came hot on the heels of their new and best album since Angel Dust, Sol Invictus.
The latest lullysuv playlist
I was accompanied to the concert by my wife who after some years of indoctrination had become a fan and was attending her first FNM gig. The fact that I wasn’t sure what she would make of a FNM gig just added to the pre-concert excitement.
When the band came on to the stage the crowd nearly lifted the roof off the Academy with rapturous applause. The famous “Hampden Roar” (the cheer that football fans make at Scotland’s national stadium) has nothing on FNM fans!
The gig kicked off with the track Motherfucker which I will admit isn’t my favourite song on Sol Invictus but turned out to be perfect for the sons and daughters of Glasgow; they enjoy singing obscenities so the whole crowd were belting out the chorus with almost as much glee as Mike Patton. At the end of the song the band declared “we’re back”. In recent interviews they’ve been non-committal about their future in so far as not saying what their plans are further than this current tour in September but I’d like to think that this was an indication that they don’t plan to be retiring any time soon. Why would they when they seem to be enjoying themselves so much?
Land of Sunshine and Caffeine were very much welcome tracks that followed and gave myself and many of the other fans our first good chance to have a good mosh and send the mercury inside the Academy soaring. I was particularly delighted as these are two of my favourites from Angel Dust, although when Patton emitted a high-pitched animal-like scream through his megaphone he nearly blew the amps and burst my eardrums! Ouch!
Evidence slowed the pace right down but it is a firm favourite with fans (least of all my wife whose favourite FNM track is this song). For the band and the crowd who aren’t as energetic as we once were in ’92, the change of pace was appreciated and we all snapped our fingers enthusiastically along as Patton demanded.
Video: most of the show
A nice touch was that the band talked of their memories of playing at the Glasgow Barrowlands and of how the stamping crowd on the sprung ballroom floor made their amps topple. Patton challenged the crowd to try and topple them again. I’m sure they have heavier and more powerful amps since then as the equipment remained solidly in place, this despite the best efforts of the crowd and Mike Bordin conducting them on drums.
The blasting intro to Epic then sent the crowd into rapture and the 2,500 full capacity of the Academy were suddenly bouncing in unison. Patton seemed less happy as he spotted people filming on their phones and indicated to them in no uncertain terms that he was less than pleased about it. Filming at concerts baffles me, I don’t understand why you would pay money for a ticket just to experience the concert through your phone. On the other hand, I do appreciate when these videos appear on YouTube. Back to the song, Epic is one which I personally feel the band has outgrown and to a degree I feel the same. That said, there is no denying that when it is played live it is a huge crowd-pleaser and indeed, many fans might feel cheated if they didn’t hear it. I couldn’t help but get carried away with the crowd – not literally, the old days of rampant crowd-surfing seem to be over, although a few hardened Glaswegians did their part in trying to relive those halcyon days. I hope they weren’t thrown out of the venue for their exuberance.
I was delighted that Black Friday followed. It’s a favourite of mine from the new album and while not everyone seemed as familiar with it as me (certainly with the lyrics) it was a treat to see Roddy playing acoustic guitar along with the rest of the band.
Ricochet was next. It’s one of those songs that starts a bit of a slow dirge but builds to an exciting crescendo, something I feel FNM does so well. “On the Ricochet, It’s gonna hit you, it’s always funny until someone gets hurt” is always enjoyable for anyone having a game of “singalongaPatton”.
Speaking of which, the gleeful swearing was back for the Gentle Art of Making Enemies – “Happy birthday, fucker!” the crowd chanted in unison. I must admit I can’t report much about this song as I was too busy jumping around and moshing. Song of the night for me.
The crowd went crazy for Midlife Crisis and were in fine voice when the band indulged in the now near-traditional break close to the end of the song. Thankfully – unlike in Edinburgh for the reunion tour – we were not treated to the dreadful Eastenders (UK soap opera) theme but a playful funk reworking of Midlife Crisis before resuming the track for the crescendo.
Easy was another firm favourite and again gave us ageing fans the chance to rest the legs for a few minutes before launching into Separation Anxiety. This perhaps wasn’t as powerful with the crowd as I had anticipated. I’m sure this will not be the case in the future as people become more familiar with the new material.
The third song from Album of the Year, the always great Last Cup of Sorrow got things back on track before the big surprise song of the evening; Ugly in the Morning. Indeed, when Roddy returned to the stage after the song he alluded to it being an unusual choice as he explained it was the first time they had played it in an age. He thought it sounded great and I agreed, although personally I would have preferred to have had Cuckoo for Caca as the out-there-batshit-crazy song of the night.
It was an absolute joy and privilege to see and hear Matador performed right after that. I’d been hoping Matador would be played as I had seen it performed on YouTube and felt it seemed better live than the recorded version. This was definitely the case in Glasgow as Patton’s fantastic voice soared with the rising tumult of the music. People sometimes unfairly categorise Patton as someone who is great at screaming and grunting but there’s a lot more to him than that and I don’t think there is a track that better showcases the versatility and the power of his voice than Matador.
It was sometime around here that Patton started doing his trademark needling of the crowd, saying first “I guess you aren’t English” and then talking of Scottish peoples’ legendary poor diet including our love for deep-fried Mars Bars (they do exist but I don’t know anyone who has eaten one). The Glasgow crowd took it well by booing Patton who was in turn feigned surprise at the reaction and requested a “Glesga kiss” (a head butt) from a member of the audience. He didn’t like the look of the skinhead that was keen to oblige so it never happened…
The excellent Ashes to Ashes and Superhero concluded the main set, again delighting the crowd and getting the entire venue bouncing again.
The encore consisted of the cover version Strawberry Letter 23 which was pleasant enough but unlike previous cover versions such as Easy or This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us, I didn’t feel familiar enough with the original to really get into it. Coupled with the slow-paced Sol Invictus which followed, I felt these two tracks were the only minor missteps the band made all night. The fans were looking for some more classic songs to go crazy to; From Out Of Nowhere, As The Worm Turns, A Small Victory and Mouth to Mouth would all have been choices I personally would have preferred.
What a relief then that We Care A Lot concluded the show! Other than Epic, this is their biggest anthem and sent the crowd into a frenzy one last time. And with that the concert ended, leaving the crowd wanting more but very satisfied with what they’d heard.
I want to point out that I have been hyper-critical in places with this review; this was an excellent show and I loved every moment of it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them play so well together and by all accounts the band are in a very happy place – so was I! And my wife’s verdict? “Fantastic, amazing, one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.