Sunday, June 14, 2009

The real thing

Forgive me for a burst of nostalgia but one of my favourite concert experiences was seeing Faith No More at the Alternative Nation Festival in 1995. I missed my spot upfront so I tried to find a better position. Sadly, all the good space was gone except for this one spot where a small lake had formed from the all day rains. Surely, no one would be stupid enough to stand in a giant pool of water for an hour and a half set. So, once I'd waded out to the middle I found I had a pretty good view. Soon, this other kid joined me and we danced, stomped , sang and high fived each other as the band played all the songs we loved. Absolutely covered in mud but happy I made my way home... It was like a moment out of Singles... Ahhh, the 90's...

Liking Faith No More is probably uncool now (if it ever was) but I've spent the morning watching a stream of their second show since reforming after eleven years. A lot of reformed bands do it for the money and FNM are probably no different. But watching this show I'm surprised by a) how well these songs have aged, b) the band is tight as well as committed to the performance and c) how uncompromising the band is by playing long stretches of non-singles which would bewilder or bore the casual fan. If you came to see Epic, you'd have to work for it. I mean, who else would open an eagerly anticipated rock show with a pitch perfect rendition of the Peaches & Herb cheese classic, Reunited?

The reason I like Faith No More is that they were never obvious, never easy and always had an underlying sense of humour to their music (something sadly lacking in the 90s AND they never became faux grunge during its rise like a number of other bands). That combination of elements always made their music compelling and at their best (Angel Dust), unmistakably brilliant. Sure, you gotta love the rock to enjoy them but FNM were the weird, bizarre uncle that you always admired and even though you weren't really sure if they were sincere or snarkily taking the piss, you were glad they were around. Oh well, at least one person (ME!) is happy they're back...


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