brixton academy

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Faith No More: Live at the Brixton Academy (1991)

Ask me to name the most exciting live act on Earth in 1991 and I’ll pick Faith No More, which treated me to one of the greatest concerts of my entire life that September, at São Paulo, Brazil’s Olympia Theater.

Some 17 months earlier – coincidentally, on my 20th birthday – the trailblazing quintet recorded Live at the Brixton Academy in that famed London venue, and it was thankfully immortalized on the absolutely essential, hilariously named VHS tape, You Fat Bastards. 

Only a portion of that set made it onto this LP (two unreleased studio cuts complemented the CD *), which really can’t do FNM’s singular on-stage ferocity justice, despite explosive renditions of “The Real Thing,” “Falling to Pieces,” “From Out of Nowhere,” and “Zombie Eaters.”

As you’ll probably recall, the band quotes Technotronic’s ubiquitous hit of the day, “Pump Up the Jam,” at the end of their breakthrough, “Epic,” slaps “We Care a Lot” around, waltzes through “Edge of the World” (I still don’t really like this tune), then absolutely crushes Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

Through it all, Mike Patton’s rising star power is unmistakable, but you have to give it up for the entire band, especially drummer Mike ‘Puffy’ Bordin and the now long since dearly departed Jim Martin, whose staccato thrashing talents were really something else.

And there you have it: the most thrilling live band of 1991, in my opinion, anyway.

* These being a country acoustic instrumental named “The Grade” and a much more compelling, properly fleshed out leftover from 1989’s The Real Thing sessions called “The Cowboy Song.”

More Faith No More: Introduce YourselfThe Real ThingKing for a Day … Fool for a LifetimeSol Invictus.