Faith No More loses most of their Edge
by Stephen Mendrzychowski - Diversions Editor
What the hell has happened to Faith No More? This is the question I have been asking myself repeatedly after I saw them in concert at the Edge in Orlando on May 9.
Actually, this the question I've been asking myself ever since I heard their latest release, King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime.
Faith No More has changed a lot since the times I have seen them perform as openers on Billy Idol's Charmed Life tour in 1990 and as headliners on their Angel Dust tour in 1992.
They've gone from being pioneers of rock music, creating heavily emotional, guitar-heavy ballads like "Edge of the World" and rock and rap-entwining, unforgettable tunes like "Epic," (both of which appear on their first release, The Real Thing) to a band whose material can in no way be taken as serious music.
Putting my views on their current style-change aside and only thinking about how amazing their performances were the last two times I saw them, I ventured out to the Edge with the greatest of expectations - expectations that I have to say were only halfway met. Opening for Faith No More was Steel Pole Bath Tub, who impressed me by lacing their in-between-song pauses with swirling guitar distortion and samples of people in conversation.
Unfortunately, since I never heard any of Steel Pole Bath Tub's material before this show, the only songs that I recognized were the covers they played, like a heavily pumped up "Surrender," a song originally created by Cheap Trick.
I was impressed even more with the first song this band played which mixed throaty, emotional vocals with heavy, chaotic guitar feedback. My impression must have stopped from there because from then on, I found myself daydreaming and aimlessly walking around. Their songs did seem to sound the same after a while.
After Steel Pole Bath Tub graciously ended their set, and, to my delight, a between-performance mix of songs by the Pixies was played over the speakers, Faith No More arrived onto the stage.
The moment they started playing "Digging the Grave," their first single off of King for a Day, the crowd in the Edge's pit area heaved forward, crushing those unfortunate enough to be in front of the stage.
The situation became increasingly worse as "Digging the Grave" moved into "Be Aggressive," which is somewhat of a moshable spinoff of the generic cheerleading cheer of the same name. By this time, a giant 20 foot diameter pit had formed, crushing those in the area even more.
By this time, I was in the front row of the audience, just as Faith No More delved into "Zombie Eaters," igniting an enormous audience approval, especially when lead vocalist Mike Patton started to laugh maniacally mid-song. I don't know; there's something about Patton's laugh that sends tingles down my spine.
The concert went downhill after Patton and guitarist Dean Menta next browsed through their band's article in the latest Jam Magazine and then played "Midlife Crisis." The rest of their set primarily contained slow, uninteresting music taken from King for a Day, as well as some unreleased material that should stay that way.
While playing these songs, the band members had practically no stage presence. Even Patton seemed bored at some points as he seemed to mimic the movements and hand gestures of Las Vegas lounge giant Wayne Newton. It felt as if all of the band's energy was saved until the end of the performance, about 40 minutes later, when they ended with "Caffeine," the performance-saving gem of the whole night.
If only Faith No More possessed the energy that they did during this song throughout the entire set, this concert would have been one to remember.
Thanks to Heather Scott