Gig review: Faith No More

Faith No More reminded Auckland why they were one of the most original and respected bands of the '90s. Reviewer Nicholas Russell was there.

Faith No More
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Thursday, February 18

Faith No More singer Mike Patton certainly knows how to make things awkward.

The first encore from the reformed rock act's Auckland show at Vector Arena on Thursday night included a well received cover of Don't Dream It's Over by local stars Crowded House.

The second encore also began with a second version of Don't Dream It's Over.

Following more cheers they played it again. Then Patton threatened to play it again. At that point the audience begged him not to.

It didn't stop there. From evoking the spirit of Tom Jones and having a mid-stage nap, to picking up a megaphone and using it to amplify his voice, Patton showed his talent for the bizarre.

He also has one of the most versatile voices in rock and that was what the near-capacity Vector audience came to see.

All suited up and looking dapper, Faith No More opened with a sleazy jazz-sounding cover of Reunited by Peaches & Herb, with Patton crooning away like a lounge singer.

The pace quickened considerably for From Out of Nowhere, where Patton reached into his bag of screams to get things pumping and proved that time hasn't worn down his freakish range.

Land Of Sunshine brought the first sight of the megaphone and by Caffeine the old shoe definitely fit for the Vector crowd.

Last Cup of Sorrow
was the first sing-along of the evening, but when Patton declared, "It's okay, you can sing" for Easy a few songs later, Vector was truly in full voice.

Ashes to Ashes loomed as the biggest song of the evening before it was topped by Midlife Crisis. But that's when things took a turn for the bizarre: The band abruptly stopped and left the audience to sing the chorus, before Patton took a nap on stage.

The crowd's energy seemed to drain while Patton played the jester and didn't pick up during Surprise You're Dead and King For A Day. Luckily Epic kicked things back into high gear and kept it there for Just a Man.

Normal service seemed to end about there as the Tom Jones invocation and Crowded House torture took over until their finale Digging the Grave.

Faith No More have been around in one incarnation or another since 1981 and Billy Gould on bass, Roddy Bottum on keyboards and Mike Bordin on drums have been there for the long haul.

The 12-year layoff hasn't dulled their edge with Gould in fine form during Cuckoo for Caca and Bordin still hammering away with that mass of dreadlocks.

Latest-in-a-long-line of guitarists, Jon Hudson held his own from the crunching Epic to the jazzy sounding twang of Evidence, but it was Patton who made the show what it was.

His sardonic wit peppered the breaks between songs as Faith No More played a pretty fair selection from their  last four albums.

There were a few classics left off the Auckland setlist - Be Aggressive and We Care A Lot spring to mind - but Faith No More reminded the crowd of why they were one of the most original and respected bands of the 90s.

* What did you think of the show? Post your comments below.