Live Shots: Faith No More

Austin Music Hall, July 26

photo by David Brendan Hall

"Some of you are looking a little nonplussed at this point, and I don't fucking blame you," Napalm Death grunter Mark "Barney" Greenway announced cheerfully. Nearly three decades on, the nuclear scouring of Scum remains a game-changer. Closing volley "Adversarial/Copulating Snakes" showed off evolution, with Birmingham, England's noisiest sons becoming a blast beat version of the Fall. The grindcore pioneers otherwise baffled the packed, overheated house waiting for Faith No More's first post-2009 reunion Texas gig. Why pick Napalm Death as support? Why dress band and roadies in white? Why pack more flowers onstage than 10 weddings? Why does FNM do anything? Rules are for the weak declare the Bay Area alt-metal/easy listening fusionists. "You asked for it," yowling, purring loose cannon/frontman Mike Patton winked before an impassioned cover of Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love With You." Topping an hour-and-a-half set pulling heavily from 2014 comeback Sol Invictus, the revived FNM now depends more deeply than ever on experimental interplay between keyboardist Roddy Bottum (Imperial Teen) and Patton, but the unlikely hit creators still skittered through "Caffeine" and blow job anthem "Be Aggressive" before Patton circle-stomped through a caustic "We Care a Lot." Still snide, still brilliant.

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