Faith No More, Peyote, Festival Hall, 8.8.95
by Lawrence English
Well, big old Jim Martin was certainly not missed at this performance. It seems that his departure has lit another flame in the Faith No More camp and allowed them to take their sound and show to another destination - a destination that left all with a far more mellow outlook. At Alternative Nation, you couldn't help but feel that the band was still (just a little) searching for that right chemistry, that right feel that would make everything come together. Tonight, FNM had found what they were looking for and were very proud to show off the new freedom they had gained with the ejection of Big Jim.
Peyote opened events, but if you closed your eyes at times you'd swear that it was Eddie Vedder singing with someone else's band. Peyote seemed poorly matched with their headlining counterparts. Their performance was good - that is, they played well - but it was so drab, disinterested and so 'grunge' that it almost turned into chore to watch the band members stand there and play.
Songwriting is by far the strongest point of the band. Heavily influenced by the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and Helmet, the music seemed to impress the crowd (some of which had assembled extra early to get close to their Gods FNM), but there still seemed to lurk a certain impatience that erupted into a cheer when Peyote announced their last song. Of special interest,however, was a new song, 'Rebirth', which spun in and out of thrash breaks and seemed to take the band towards a new and more original style. If this is the future of the band, perhaps a bright light is at the end of the tunnel.
Faith No More took the stage amid a mass of screams and a great chant which started somewhere and spread like the plague. Their opening tape captured the whole atmosphere of the night. A Dick Dale-style beachy guitar intro preceded the appearance of FNM on the stage, and from there it was off to a place they like to call home... the strange. Opening quietly, the band then run to their other extreme with 'Be Aggressive'. Mike Patton as usual delivered a convulsive and completely overpowering performance, thrashing his body around as if in the grip of an attack - yet somehow his vocal sound did not suffer. 'Midlife Crisis' as always transformed the crowd into a heaving mess, and drummer Mike Bordin gave an outstanding performance with his tribal beats and intense slamming, creating something of a frenzy which the rest of the band fed on. Tonight it seemed that the band felt very close to their audience, it seemed every song was spurred on by the crowd's never ending wails and screams. JJJ listeners (of which it seemed there were plenty) gave a hearty cheer for the latest song of the airwaves, 'Evidence', which had a certain reflective feel. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to tell the kids that they weren't at Guns and Roses and this song didn't require a lighter. But I digress. With a double encore which included the classic track 'We Care a Lot', everyone could go home satisfied.
Faith No More? I don't think so after a show like this - all anyone could have is Faith, and plenty of it.
Thanks to Gary Best.