Halfway through Faith No More’s performance in Brooklyn on Friday, frontman Mike Patton implored the audience to turn around to watch the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline. He was met with a wave of disinterest, with good reason — the crowd packed into the Williamsburg Waterfront was fixated on the reunited band’s first East Coast show in 12 years.
After strutting onstage clad in brightly colored suits and teasing with a gentle treatment of Peaches & Herb’s “Reunited,” Patton and Co. sprinted into hard-hitting renditions of “From Out of Nowhere” and “Land of Sunshine,” a pair of album-opening tracks from the band’s heyday. Any lingering doubts about Patton’s enthusiasm for the new shows, given his indifference to Faith No More’s legacy following the band’s 1998 breakup, was swept aside as he snarled through “The Gentle Art of Making Enemies” and delivered a triumphant take on “Just a Man” that aptly demonstrated his head is back in the game. He screeched into a megaphone, blared an air-raid siren, ceaselessly paced in a circle and even threw himself into singing (and rapping) “Epic,” the band’s biggest hit, without making it feel like going through the motions.
Fans may have been initially disappointed that the reunion lineup didn’t include longtime guitarist Jim Martin, who left after 1992’s Angel Dust and has since dabbled in pumpkin farming, but the use of Jon Hudson, who served as the band’s final guitarist before its split, allowed the set list to be opened up to plenty of excellent post-Martin material, including five cuts from 1995’s King For a Day…Fool For a Lifetime, the night’s most-represented album.
The band hasn’t abandoned its habit for sprinkling shows with cover tunes, allowing the energetic audience a quick breather with the Commodores’ “Easy”; Patton also belted out “I Started a Joke,” the Bee Gees song that served as the band’s posthumous final single. The evening closed with the sole track representing Faith No More’s pre-Patton days, 1985’s “We Care A Lot” (now best known as “that song from Dirty Jobs“) which features drummer Mike Bordin’s defining beat, and put a happy little bow on the career-spanning set. With smiles all around and enthusiastic performances, the night ended with the attitude that as far as reunions go, this one seems pretty damn sincere.
“Reunited” (Peaches & Herb cover)
“From Out of Nowhere”
“Land of Sunshine”
“Surprise! You’re Dead!”
“Last Cup of Sorrow”
“Cuckoo for Caca”
“Easy” (Commodores cover)
“The Gentle Art of Making Enemies”
“Ashes to Ashes”
“I Started a Joke” (Bee Gees cover)
“King for a Day”
“Just a Man”
“Chariots of Fire” (Vangelis cover)
“We Care a Lot”