Faith No More, Brixton Academy, London

4.00

Just like they've never been gone

It is unlikely there will have been many more bizarre opening songs in the history of live music. Faith No More, legendary funk-metallers back together for the first time in over a decade, in front of a full Brixton Academy packed full of patient fans who have waited so long for this moment, decide to start with ... "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb.

Most bands wouldn't choose to cover the soul duo's aptly named crooner, but then Faith No More are not most bands. Known for their unpredictability and myriad styles, the fact that tonight the whole group – save drummer Mike Bordin – have come dressed in suave pastel suits makes it an even more surreal moment, not least because they play it virtually straight, save Mike Patton's tongue-in-cheek boy-band moves.

The frontman has had no shortage of side-projects to keep him busy since the Californian group's last gig in 1998, and although bands such as Mr Bungle and Tomahawk haven't been without their admirers, nothing has come close to matching Faith No More's popularity.

Those lucky enough to be inside the south London venue are ready to get down to the serious business once the surprise opener is over, and so is Patton as he grasps a loud-hailer, launching into "The Real Thing", the title track of their breakthrough album. The song remains a tour de force, and is followed by "From Out of Nowhere", which sees a screaming Patton hurling himself towards the audience. It's a crowd-pleasing start, but they resist the temptation to stick to the greatest hits throughout the two-hour set. This isn't to everyone's taste – during some of the more experimental songs, parts of the crowd appear to be more interested in chatting to their neighbours.

Still, when they crank up the visceral thrills then no one is distracted. The close of "Be Aggressive", for example that sees the crowd joining in the chant of "Go! Fight!", or Billy Gould's relentless bass on "Surprise! You're Dead!" Predictably, the biggest cheer comes for "Epic", during which the crowd is bathed in light. It may be partially to blame for nu-metal, but it remains a massive song.

Also ensuring that any inattentive audience members are quickly recaptured is Patton himself. An incredibly versatile singer, he can switch from crooning to screaming in a second. With his slicked-back hair and manic glare making him look like Christian Bale in American Psycho, the unstable persona is something that he clearly embraces. At one point he puts the microphone in his mouth and leans back whie cackling manically like a cartoon villain.

We get two more covers, both of which are a bit more familiar to Faith No More fans – the Commodores' "Easy" and, in the second and final encore, "I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees. They even find the time to slip in the Chariots of Fire theme tune, before sliding into "Stripsearch".

"Pristina" finishes off a night that encapsulates the appeal of Faith No More – unpredictable and experimental, but with a well-developed pop sensibility and taste for the dramatic. Time will tell whether a new album will make it more than a nostalgia trip, but either way it is good to have them back.

Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project