Rock: That's entertainment

Faith No More

Brixton Academy

The hard rock band come on in suits and ties, and play the theme from Midnight Cowboy. Slowly, mournfully, for six minutes. The hard rock crowd whoop with glee. don't care about proprieties. They're on stage to stretch people's minds. Their best album, 1992's Angel Dust, was better than Nirvana's Nevermind, its angst leavened with wit, happy to quote from Shostakovich or Tom Waits. Their biggest British hit is a cover of The Commodores' I'm Easy, with only a vocal flicker to suggest they didn't mean every word. The band got rid of their only cliched rock 'n' roller, guitarist Jim Martin, years ago. It leaves you more time to focus on keyboardist Roddy Bottum, hard rock's only unconcerned homosexual, and Mike Patton, a debonair singer who used to eat shit.

The band's nature dictates that nothing can be relied on. But if you stick around long enough tonight, you'll probably get what you came for. At the end of every ballad, there's a frill-free thrash, and a moshpit to take advantage. But at the end of every thrash, the mosh is jerked to a halt, as the mood spins on a dime. I'm Easy is sung with sentimental zeal, Burt Bacharach standards are dragged back to life. The band are always ready with their strangely momentous, organ-led elaborations on rock 'n' roll, Patton's voice is a portentous constant. But what stitches each strange twist together is something the band's one-time grunge contemporaries would have gagged on: Patton's unremitting sense of showmanship. He's here to entertain us.

His rock 'n' roll patter is of the smoothest kind. But Patton doesn't need to talk. Never losing the stylish cut of his suit, he smirks, emotes, howls, at one point seems about to take off, convinced he can fly. When Sparks come on for This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us, Patton bellows: "And it ain't me who's gonna leave!" you have to believe him.

But what really elevates Patton, and , is something new to rock 'n' roll. Being excessive is always valid. Patton's taste for shit means he's done his share. But bad behaviour isn't enough, eventually. can always summon their rock 'n' roll pasts. But they've also got the dignity to see it from a distance, with wit. They're more elevating than grunge ever was. It's probably why the genre's goldmine was never their's. They've got something better: a shit-eating singer with a brain, and music that does him justice.

`This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us' (Roadrunner), 's joint single with Sparks, is out now; finish their British tour at Glasgow Barrowlands tonight (0141-552 4601).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas