A Review that isn’t a Review
Faith No More The Roundhouse Camden 17th & 18th July 2015
To my regular readers. This is a none surf related post! Yes, I do other things would you believe! To my fellow Faith No More fans, welcome to Surfabella.
Sitting on the floor outside the Roundhouse in Camden on a Thursday night, covered, and I mean covered in sweat, matted hair, face a glow and my heart rate only just returning to normal, someone asks me, ‘ if you met Mike Patton what would you say to him?’. Patton was the only member of the band I hadn’t met, the tricky one, the one most likely to walk past and not acknowledge you, the scary one. I pondered my answer for a moment.
This is a question I have mulled over now and then over the last 26 years. Like most fans there’s too much you want to say and it will inevitably come out in a jumble of stupid, spoken too fast, making you look like a lunatic. Ultimately you will be left with regret at having made a dick of yourself and at having not said something original and witty. I hoped I would get my chance to make a dick of myself that very night.
The Real Thing came out the summer I was turning aged 14 -15 . It was an instant obsession with me and my best mate and was to become an invisible friend accompanying us into early adulthood. This record and the band remained a constant voice in our heads as we turned 15, to 16, long summers kicking about around Liverpool, lying to our parents, taping the Power Hour, hanging around outside record shops looking at lads, sneaking into gigs and clubs, drinking Newcastle Brown Ale because it was metal and of course seeing The Real Thing tour. We sat our exams, turned 16 to 17, stumbled to the finish line of school, met first boyfriends and had first heart breaks, grew up and eventually left Liverpool. It was a magical time which will always be tied to this record. Our friendship remains as ever and so does our love for Faith No More. The Real Thing is our time machine.
Sol Invictus came out the spring I was turning 40-41. Following an announcement of the first new release in 18 years and tour dates the FNM fan base collectively lost their minds.
Social media did it’s job well (thanks to Faith No More Followers and Faithnomoreblog) and a ramshackled, glorious crew of fans from all over the world managed to meet at Lock17 in Camden for two nights of none stop, fun filled, beer soaked, shenanigans and of course, two FNM shows at the Roundhouse. Some people came with previous connections from shows past and some were new to each other. Whatever, whoever, wherever you come from , however long you have been a fan, whichever album is your life score, at a FNM fan meet up all are welcome . These are your people and this is your tribe, everyone is welcome. Nobody here is going to nod politely while inwardly wanting to poke your eyes out with a spoon for boring them to death about the new album or set list speculation, AGAIN
Sharing these last two days with such a merry bunch has truly been a privilege and a time I will treasure. To simply turn up at a show, watch it and go home just won’t do after this week. It’s what goes on around the shows and with who that really makes it. The ups, the downs, the beers, the sunshine, random people we dragged into things, chance meetings with the band, near misses with the band, singing, dancing, smiling, laughing, dissecting the shows afterwards and pondering on if we would meet the elusive Mr Patton. Some time in the future Sol Invictus will be the time machine that takes me back to this amazing week.
So, back to the question. What would I say to Patton? Thank you is the obvious thing but, there’s so much entwined with this band’s music that it would be impossible to put into words without sounding like a blabbering bafoon. You just can’t communicate the meaning and memories you have personally attached to their songs. Then, I think what do I want from a meeting anyway? Why do I even want it? As I sit on the cold floor outside the Roundhouse I realise looking back to the summer of 1990, thinking of my old friend, mulling over these days in London and looking at the insanely happy faces of this rabble of new friends, that this band could not possibly give me any more than they inadvertently already have. I don’t need anything else from them.
On Thursday night as if by deciding it doesn’t matter if I meet him or not, I finally meet Mike Patton. I don’t spew a load of incoherent babble and make a dick of myself. I just shake his hand and say thank you, exchange a few words and that is enough. As the band pull away in a taxi and we wave them off I have to capture this moment because this is the real thing.