Music DVD Reviews: Review of Faith No More: Live at Brixon Academy You Fat B**stards

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Buy your copy from Faith No More: Live at Brixon Academy You Fat B**stardsstarstarstarstarstarLabel: Rhino
Released: 2006

There’s a moment during the “Live at Brixton Academy, London” show in this set where Mike Patton is about to go into “Edge of the World” and he tells the audience to listen as he jams the microphone against his butt and farts into it. He then brings it up to his nose and smells it and says he’s “keeping it real.” That’s good enough for me. Indeed, it was more than good enough for Faith No More, who were riding high at the time the show was filmed (1990) and were bringing something new to the table that the majority of folks had never heard before. A rap-metal hybrid that was actually much more than just the sum of its parts. But it was the newly inducted member Patton’s powerhouse vocal version of that formula that helped the band become huge.

Of course before Patton there was Chuck Mosley, who appeared on the band’s first two albums Introduce Yourself and We Care A Lot, the latter’s title track getting the band onto the charts rather solidly. But Mosley was apparently one-dimensional in his singing and caused inner turmoil in the band – you know how it goes – and so he was dismissed and Patton was brought in, having been rocking it out in his gonzo group Mr. Bungle. The next thing you know, “Epic” and its video are huge all over MTV and the radio, and the album The Real Thing becomes a monster hit.

Which more or less brings us to this new two-disc set from Rhino that collects Live At The Brixton Academy, London – You Fat B**tards and Who Cares a Lot? The Greatest Videos into one shiny package that any fan should find appealing. The live show is a nice, tight performance, with Patton going through his weird motions and the band cooking up their own power. It’s basically The Real Thing performed live with “We Care a Lot” thrown in because, well, they had to throw the “oldie” in there. It’s a fun show, runs 60 minutes, and is definitely one of those artifacts from the VHS days that didn’t worry about any special extras, and so none are offered here on the DVD, either.

The real treat, though, is the video compilation disc. Here you’ll get to witness Mosley in the original clip for “We Care a Lot” (he really wasn’t any match for Patton), as well those old “Epic” and “Falling To Pieces” thrills all over again. Good as those classic clips are, they’re still no match for the grandiose filmic bits the band afforded with the Angel Dust videos. Witness the nightmare quarterhorse thrills in “Midlife Crisis.” Dig the S&M mixed with warfare surreal fix of “A Small Victory.” And then there’s “Everything’s Ruined,” which defies description. Basically, it looks like one of those videos you can make in the mall at one of those mobile studios. It’s all green screen, with the band goofing over various twisted images in the background. There are even a couple preteen girls lip syncing over the track as well as some boy air guitaring to it with a Hendrix sort of wig on. Bizarre and hilarious.

Even better is the video for “Easy,” the cover of the Commodores track that Faith No More made their own – and better. In the video, the band is stuck in some hotel room with a group of drag queens, with Patton looking as sarcastically bored as possible. There’s also a weird video for “I Started a Joke” that I hadn’t seen previously. Anyway, the point is Who Cares a Lot? Is 120 minutes of Faith No More goodness that packs in all those great videos that I used to have scattered about on unlabeled VHS tapes now all together on one groovy DVD. You gotta love technological progress.

Truly, it’s the video collection here that is the better of the two discs and probably the one that will get the most viewings. Still, it’s nice to have the live show as well, capturing the band at its first major peak. After The Real Thing, Faith No More would branch over into more experimentalism, remaining heavy, but leaving behind the formula that gained them their greatest successes. Truly, Angel Dust is by far the better and more exciting album in comparison, but after that guitarist Jim Martin would either be fired, or quit of his own accord, depending on which story you hear. The band’s fortunes would wane as Patton’s side projects with Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, and his own solo excursions would begin to garner more interest from the fringe crowds. Still, there was a time when Faith No More was the best thing out there in regards to hard rawkin’ shiznit, and this two-disc set reminds us all of those groovy times.

~Jason Thompson