House of Blues
April 05, 2005
I thought I'd get through a concert associated with Mike Patton without hearing a redneck insult, but some things never change. I remember Patton's belligerence towards the New Orleans crowd when Faith No More played the Superdome in 1992 and when Fantomas performed at the House of Blues less than a year ago.
I do not like Mike Patton, but I love his music. Since Fantomas received much love from the House of Blues Monday night, I guess Patton decided to keep the Southern-bashing light. "Y'all sure know how to make us Yankees feel welcome," he said after a bunch of applause. He also made useless references to Lake Pontchartrain, Cajuns, and the large number of -eaux name endings in the South.
Just like last year, Patton and his synthesizer were off to the right, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo was to the left, and Melvins guitairst "King Buzzo" Osbourne and bassist Trevor Dunn were standing in the middle. The difference was that this year the music was more accessible. The band was more interested in rocking and less interested in forays into ambience and space rock minimalism.
Fantomas played beautifully creepy music that was as notable for its mix of genres as it was for being technically complicated and disjunctive. Fantomas mixed music box twinkles with ominous, chugging minor chord progressions. The concert was a nightmare re-created in real time. Punctuations of speed metal cymbal crashes and guitar were broken up by solo sounds of cartoon and video game noises, shakers, voice and cello samples, and more. Pieces of Gregorian chants were followed by soul music. The show was entertaining, needless to say. There was no way to tell how long any section of music would last, especially since the band loved using odd meters. The music stopped and went in no decipherable pattern. Patton was the conductor stopping music with slicing arm motions. His eyes were locked on Lombardo most of the time to give him signals for an upcoming change in the music.
A constant throughout the concert was Patton's signature rhythmic rap scatting. Sing this: "Doy-ya dic-dic-dic-dic boo-boo-boo/(Screaming)/doy-ya dic-dic-dic-dic boo-boo-boo." Patton also faced the audience with hair slicked back, eyes wide, and an evil grin on his face. He sang to them in a low tone. Anyone who wasn't familiar with Patton's sense of humor would have been scared by this. It was kinda disturbing, anyway. Fantomas was not a band to hide their emotions or eccentricity.
On "Simply Beautiful," Patton showed off his talented voice's high range and his love of soul music. Accompanied by a small amount of kick drum, organ, and some wah-wah porn guitar licks, Patton got right down to it and yearned like Al Green. As could have been expected, the song was broken up by speed metal and Patton's screams. For that special goth woman in your life.