Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Seeing Faith No More

I think I've been to the greatest concert ever. Apart from an isolated pocket of anti-social behaviour (smoking tobacco in a mosh pit) the crowd was great. The music was great, it was all life affirming and like most great things hard to put into words.

So here's some highlights in a rare positive take for me on interacting with large numbers of human beings.

1. User Generated Crowd Control.

Some people are dicks, it can't be helped. Some piece of their X or Y chromosome is missing that makes them think they should get trashed to the point they can barely stand up at a concert that most fans are grateful to be at and wouldn't dream of numbing their perceptual filters for a second.
So the vast majority was just picking up these douchebags in an 'involuntary crowd surfing' moment to simply get them out of the crowd. They would be dropped into the arms of security and ejected from the pit. Then you would see some guy getting pats on the back from other guys.

2. Nice Guys.

I foolishly wore my glasses. Which was fine for songs like 'Easy' and 'This Guys In Love With You' and Faith No More's Easy listening numbers. But not so great for 'Cuckoo for Caca' and so fourth. I should have taken the hint and put them in my pocket when some crowd surfers heel went into my face, but I thought I could handle it. I got greedy, and at one point I dropped them. I gave them up for dead of course. It was too crowded and sweaty and the whole pack was jumping 1 meter side to side with every off beat. But then I felt them under my foot and tried to grab them up in a lul. I found part of a watch which I discarded again, then another guy attempted to look for me and found the same watch, which was nice. And the 7 foot guy infront of me who was my anchor turned around concerned I was actually falling down and about to be trampled. Nice guys everywhere.
I found my glasses, eventually and but their new shape into my pocket. Another guy picked up somebodies discarded shirt which I helped hitch up to him hackey sack style. I thought it was something important to the guy, but he was just like 'hey free shirt' hilarious, until you consider how much everybody was sweating in festival hall.

3. Rock is Dead, but can be Ressurrected.

What of Faith No More itself? If your not a fan I won't bother trying to sell you on their music. Look them up on youtube if your interested or read their Wikipedia Article.
The support act was AFI, and for me they proved once and for all just how bad the current fashions are. I didn't realise it but in the war of masculinity forearm tattoos are completely turned pussy by nut hugging tight jeans. Furthermore their guitarist can play, he was doing the two handed tapping and all that shit. But this was completely diminished by his front mullet, which is the only descriptive term I've heard for the current trendy hairstyle. My sister had the call of the night when she held up her phone with the txt 'These guys are for people too ashamed to admit they lik boy bands'. To me they struck me as 'A Man Inside' rather than 'A Flame Inside' but I'm old and crotchety and conservative when it comes to what rock is. Their rightly embittered fan base who enjoyed a piddling hour long set were into their music. They were braving a room full of 25-35 year olds all wearing black shirts, mysteriously loose fitting jeans or army cams and looked like they would do some serious fucking damage if they turned angry.
But the kids you know, they were really into this AFI stuff, and the second FNM concert only happened because they couldn't come close to selling out festival hall. And I will admit that A Flame Inside struck me as harder hitting than most of what cuts it on triple j these days. But they looked like a pop band compared to FNM and for me it affirmed that music has gone soft pretty much since FNM broke up. I've historically attributed it to 'Mechanical Animals' by Marilyn Manson that really ended the 90's and revived the 80's, but of course, rocking goes in waves and the next generation doesn't necessarily rock harder than the generation that precedes it.
The obvious example would be the 80's. The 90's really started in the late 80's '87-'89 saw Metellica and to a lesser extent Faith No More, Primus, Jane's Addiction coming up and creating alternate rock, alternate to hair metal and glam rock bands like Guns 'N Roses, Posion, Warwick etc.
So if you were at a concert in the 80's of Duran Duran, and Led Zeppelin or Sabbath came out and played a set after them, they same thing would have happened as happened last night, you would have had pissed off 'fans of the day' angry that their concert had been hijacked by old fogies that just plain rocked harder. Duran Duran probably isn't a fair example, maybe more like Roxette than Duran Duran.
So yeah, rock is periodically going to be killed by that portion of the masses that complains 'What happened to all the fashion in music?' but is resurrected by 'I want to feel ways about stuff' crowd.

4. Great Opening Act.

Onto the affirming stuff. AFI made an exit and the roadies came out. Their young fans streamed disgruntedly out of the pit and I headed in. The roadies did their thing. It always seems like an hour but is probably only 20 minutes and they dragged the AFI kit away to reveal Puffs' kit. Which was exciting.
Then a uy with a severe comb over and two plastic cups of water came out in a great way to kick off a FNM concert. Some guy in front of me that must have seen FNM back in '96 or something said 'Harvey Hamburger, Legend' or something.
This guy told lame ass jokes, was it in a nutshell. He started with 'Why did the farmer start a punk rock band? Because he was tired of Haulin' Oats. (Pronounced All-the-notes).
The best one was 'Why did madonna feed her newly adopted child dog food? Well she didn't really have a choice, that's just what came out of her breasts.' and then he screwed up the delivery on 'Why did Madonna post divorce from Guy Ritchie have three roadies shit in her mouth backstage at a concert? Because she is single again.'
The crowd actually booed him when he said 'Why did Metellica cut their hair? Because their hairdresser said it was the only way to get out all the man-cum.' Evidently there's a fair if not total overlap betwixt Mettellica and FNM fans.
The point was though, that everyone was hungering for Faith No More, and this guy just kept going with the jokes. I assumed he was there until the crowd got really pissed off and angry, I thought I could see Puff standing at the side stage where Harvey would look periodically as if to ask 'are they pissed off enough yet?' and then what I thought was puff would gesture to keep going.
The guy said he had 80 jokes and I believed him. Eventually the crowd was just chanting 'Faith No More' in an attempt to drown him out and booing continuosly and yelling out 'Fuck off' and stuff. I just thought, what a great way to warm up a crowd. Like cockteasing at a rock concert.

5. The Band.

They rocked and rocked hard. They talked to the crowd, they have so much good stuff (3 5 star albums and 1 4 star album, in my own opinion one that seemed to be shared by everyone in the room). So it's impossible for them to do a live set. For those who it means anything too the set included (but not necessarily limited to): Reunited Again, From Out of Nowhere, Digging the Grave, Last Cup of Sorrow, King For A Day, Midlife Crisis, Be Aggressive, Surprise Your Dead, Epic, Easy, Poker Face, Ashes To Ashes, A 'Don't Dream It's Over' refrain, This Guy's In Love With You, As the Worm Turns, Who Cares A Lot, Just A Man, Caffeine, Gentle Art Of Making Enemies, Stripsearch... and now its testing my memory. Which is to say, no concert is 'unforgettable' it's an experience.
Poker Face was particularly interesting, the Faith No More rendetion really proves how laughable A) considering Lady Gaga avant guard is. B) That a band like Faith No More can totally rock out a pop song, then all the 'hardcore' acts of the day really aren't pulling their weight in their ability to put balls into their music. It was also good because virtually no fans of FNM know the words to Poker Face, which prevented them from drowning out Patton's vocals which was rare in the concert.
During 'Surprise You're Dead' this big guy appeared next to me, and he was REALLY fucking into that song. He was 'dancing' like I was feeling and I totally empathised with him. He was jabbing his albows and thrusting his fists like a prize fighter who had just won the whole fucking bakery. Like a babboon getting ready to rip your face off. It was awesome.

6. Roddy Bottum.

Roddy Bottum is openly gay, as of 1993, traditionally, metal and punk rock, alt rock etc isn't associated with the gay community, the crossover being more in the Sphere of REM (Even though Micheal Stipe waited till 2001 to make any definitive statements about his sexuality), George Michael and Elton John.
But Roddy Bottum has helped composed some of the hardest hitting, epic, rock tracks of all time. It's great to see, really, how irrelevant his sexuality is. I hope it encourages other gay men to fucking rock.

7. Mike Bordin.

I didn't see much of Bordin, he played mostly up the back occassionally strolling up to the microphone for back up vocals. The guy is a positive roll model for pudgy bearded men everywhere. I don't think his bass lines have been showcased better than 'The Real Thing' which was their first Patton Album, but the guy doesn't necessarily play anything complicated, just simple and hard hitting. It hits you right in the balls. He cuts a fine figure and is really a clear cut case of somebody that looks like one of your friends dad's being way way cooler than your friend.

8. Puff.

Mike Patton and Puff were in line from my vantage point. There is nothing that can be said of Puff that would add to 'the guy can play' they played the tracks that really showcase just how good he is - namely Mid Life Crisis and Cookoo For Caca, as well as some of the more punk rock tracks. The guy is committed to being white and having dreads. That's a lifetime of torment but he's stood by it.

9. Mike Patton.

Is really uncontenstably the best vocalist ever, and one of the best front men. I don't really like the concept of front men, but you can't deny Patton is. His presence somewhat detracts from the crowd, because to a lesser extent than Eddie Vedder and Anthony Keidas, he attracts the annoying 'sexual fans' which I'm sure he loves over a sausage fest. But like Vedder and Keidas, the band wouldn't be the band without him, so you have to take the bad for the good. I've said plenty about Patton over the years, but the guy just performs, my voice is shot today and I wasn't screaming like he was, so I have no idea how the guy can back it up night after night. I hope for the sake of the suckers going tonight his voice isn't shot.
He'd clearly lost about 5 kilo's since the Download Festival last year, no doubt from the constant touring. So I didn't mind so much that his shirt was tucked into his pants. Also he dived into the crowd at one point and I touched his head. Stupid I know but I was starstruck. I didn't need to be any closer as it turned out.

10. The Guitarist. I don't know his name even, the concert if it was missing anything was Jim Martin's crazy hair. But having said that, Jim Martin is probably missing his hair. The guy could play, and he played the solo's which it wouldn't be a FNM concert without. I appreciate the guy.

So after the concert I was drenched in sweat with mashed glasses, but I was happy. Very happy. Way more happy than anything could piss me off. Thus the strange blend in any concert of how much you love the band and how much you hate the dicks in the crowd was skewed way towards the love of the band last night. Sure the crowd was a little uncoordinated, like any impromptu mass movement will be, but that was on the whole forgivable making the experience 99% up 1% down. Sure the 'perfect' concert could still top it, but I doubt it ever will. We should all keep striving though.

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