Live: Faith No More, Rolo Tomassi

Comeback kings take no prisoners in London

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Being support at this kind of gig is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, there’s the exposure to a new crowd, but on the other, the curse of terrible, terrible sound. Such is the position ROLO TOMASSI [7] find themselves in. They play a blinder, fizzing with energy, as frontwoman Eva Spence whips her body into spasms while it expels animalistic howls. But the hideously muddy mix and lighting that leaves them as vague silhouettes dampen their flames, their complex mathrock getting lost in the ether.

Naturally, FAITH NO MORE [9] have no such problems, making an entrance that’s 75% regal in their Del Monte-white suits onto a stage bedecked in so many blooms it could pass for a Chelsea Flower Show entry, and 25% sex dungeon thanks to the gimp frontman Mike Patton is leading by a chain. Opening with the hideous imagery and beautiful musicianship of Motherfucker from their new album Sol Invictus, it’s immediately clear that this old machine is oiled enough to run as new. Patton is in fine voice, that deep croon and half-rapped bark as resonant as it ever was, his presence every bit as magnetic – he brushes off taunts of “You fat bastard” from a segment of the crowd with the confidence of a man aware of his own self-worth.

But what makes Faith No More special is that, while he remains the cornerstone, he’s not the most important man onstage – in this band, all men are equal, and it simply wouldn’t work without the charisma of keyboardist Roddy Bottum, the casual brilliance of bassist Billy Gould or the sturdy backbone provided by drummer Mike Bordin and guitarist Jon Hudson. As for the songs, they’re all classics, from the Droog stomp of Be Aggressive to the roaring synths of Epic to the dizzying catchiness of Everything Is Ruined, their sleazy, tongue-in-cheek lounge lizard side coming through in the blue-eyed soul interlude during Midlife Crisis and the old chestnut that is their Easy cover. They may be 34 years away from their inception, but tonight Faith No More displayed a hunger, skill, vitality and edge of menace the bands that came in their wake would kill for.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.