The second leg of the Sol Invictus tour sees Faith No More growing in strength and recruits Swedish hardcore vets Refused to join in the chaos.

BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 04: Thomas Wolfe famously stated that “you can’t go home again.” However, as countless bands over the last ten years have proven, you can try to stitch together the pieces of the past and see what happens.  Faith No More has gone about the whole reunion matter in the best possible way, with creative juices still flowing enough to create a new recording that wasn’t just dusting off past bones. Some may grouse about the continued absence of guitarist Jim Martin, but John Hudson has more than demonstrated himself as an integral cog in his own right. Band members Roddy Bottom, Billy Gould, Mike Bordin, and Mike Patton supported him saying this was not just some blatant cash grab, but rather he was the right fit for the band.

It was interesting to see how the expansive outdoor setting would play out. Simply put, the band crushed it. They’ve always juggled up the set list, and tonight the entry point was “The Real Thing,” a clear signal there would be no fucking around. The stage set-up was the same as the last tour, the band and stage draped in white, even down to the microphone screens (save Patton’s, which was blinged out in gold). Flowers adorned the stage front and amp cabs behind. Was it meant to be a funeral? It felt more like an Irish wake, a freewheeling, humor-fueled look back at all the good times while creating new ones.

Patton was the star of the show, showing off his inhuman pipes and commanding the stage like a stern lion master, mic raised and cord ready to whip. Referring to the hordes before him, he proclaimed, “You’re so close that I can smell your breath. Chowder.” Of course the vivid scene of an out of water goldfish was recalled to everyone’s cerebrum when “Epic” kicked in, and all of a sudden all the nü-metal bands that clogged the arteries of metal in their wake were almost atoned for.

The disco ball sent shards of light everywhere when “Midlife Crisis” veered into the slow jam of Boz Scaggs’ “Lowdown,” only to be brought back to a boil with the crowd gleefully shouting the chorus of the original song back to Patton. Drummer Mike Bordin was hidden behind some massive rack toms, but the shaking kit that trembled from his physical onslaught was apparent. Every once in a while, one could get a glimpse of his massive dreads coiling around like a gray-black cobra, or his gloves that were more suited to roping calves than keeping time. The end game of this version of Faith No More isn’t clear, but based on 2015’s performances, there is more than enough gas in the tank for a few more laps.

Refused are another defibrillator-to-the-chest reanimation that kicked out a new record of jams with this year’s Freedom. Singer Dennis Lyxzén is an electric performer that takes strands of DNA from Iggy Pop, Lux Interior, and David Yow and makes his own Swedish smögÃ¥sbord from that kinetic stew. Circling the stage like a caged tiger or a great white shark ready to strike, the bespoke-suited Lyxzén is all over the stage,  above it, and off it.  The band churns out some grade A punk rock mark III, amidst the progressive lyrics like “Destroy The Man,” or “Servants Of Death.”  Commenting on the brutal hail storm that blew through a couple of hours before the show started, he said “Summers in Sweden are shit. And we felt like we were home today. We are uncircumcised rock stars, and we brought the thunder.” I’m not sure if Lyxzén’s ancestors can trace Alfred Nobel through that family tree, but there is no doubt that dynamite is a shared trait.

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Faith No More
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Photo credit: Tim Bugbee 2015 © All Rights Reserved