Live: Faith No More

A welcome return for funk-metal pioneers.

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The room is haystacked with dreadlocks and beards, the kids are fist-pumping and throwing horns - Faith No More are in the house.

But God bless Mike Patton and co. Their set looks like the lobby to Heaven, with a giant, white-sheet backdrop, an array of flowers and the group dressed in white like angelic male nurses. It’s doubtless part of the group’s ongoing campaign to detoxify metal, disassociate it from its worst, atavistic tendencies. Faith No More make meta‑metal. It rocks.

They kick off with Motherfucker from the latest album Sol Invictus and the place all but moves sideways. But for all their groove, churn and density, FNM have always carried trace elements of the avant-garde eclecticism that’s more characteristic of Mike Patton’s solo career. They range widely – their cover of The Commodores’ Easy features seamlessly and logically, though perhaps this range is at the expense of the sort of straight-ahead, propulsive drive of an AC/DC or Immigrant Song. They always sound a little round the houses by comparison.

There is one disappointing moment for Patton: he asks for a shout-out for the previous night’s support group, punk/funk pioneers The Pop Group. There’s near silence. Hardly anyone in the room knows who they are. It’s with a slightly heavy heart that Patton and co plough on, garnering the inevitable cheer for We Care A Lot, which is what everyone wants.

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.