Faith No More, Philm: Live at The Observatory

Photo Credit: Mike Patton

Photo Credit: Mike Patton

LA avant-garde rockers Philm got the call to open for tonight’s show and while most of the crowd were unfamiliar with their music, they definitely were not unfamiliar with the band’s centerpiece member – drummer Dave Lombardo and his powerhouse drumming style. He along with his bandmates – vocalist/guitarist Gerry Nestler and bassist Pancho Tomaselli throw down some mean riffs surrounded by Lombardo’s jazz/fusion meets punk driven drum sounds that grabbed the crowd immediately. While their music is still new to most people, they definitely won over some fans tonight.

A video posted by @reinishimoto on

Following a string of LA shows (with alleged appearances by Duff McKagan one night) in Orange County sounded like a tough task, but Faith No More sound ways to impress. The highly anticipated evening started their set around mostly Sol Invictus, their brand new album and disappoint they did not. Each member had their moment to shine in the spotlight, taking turns showcasing themselves to the eager Santa Ana crowd.

Fans knew the word to such tunes as ‘Motherfucker’ and ‘Superhero’ and immediately sang along as if those were longtime favorites. They fused in older favorites such as ‘Surprise! You’re Dead’ and ‘Midlife Crisis,’ with a little crowd pseudo heckling by frontman Mike Patton midway through. Patton varied up his usual stage antics and vocal stylings throughout the evening, while the crowd eating up every moment of their set time and keeping everyone on their feet.

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Keyboardist Roddy Bottum and bassist Billy Gould both interacted well throughout the set with Patton, enhancing their already chaotic sound even more. Bottum handles some of the vocal duties as well as playing some acoustic guitars in spots. Gould laid down the low-end alongside drummer Mike Bordin, while guitarist Jon Hudson is quietly riffing away in the corner maintaining a low profile throughout the evening.

The classic tunes were split into two encores, one featuring ‘Epic’ and ‘Ashes To Ashes,’ and the next one covering ‘King For A Day,’ ‘We Care A Lot’ and ‘I Started A Joke,’ and the crowd definitely got their fill of classic Faith No More while hearing much of their newer material.

If this is an indication of what is to come, Faith No More may be taking the next step up that they did not hit before they went on hiatus years ago. They apparently did not miss a step over the years and time will tell if they will continue their streak of bringing high energy shows that audiences have grown to love.

Rei Nishimoto

Set List:
Sol Invictus
Sunny Side Up
Separation Anxiety
Cone of Shame
Black Friday
From the Dead
Surprise! You’re Dead!
Midlife Crisis
(with Boz Scaggs – ‘Lowdown’ interlude)
Ashes to Ashes
King for a Day
We Care a Lot
I Started a Joke

Wovenwar – Empress AD: Live at Camden Barfly, London

Wovenwar Flyer

If you’ve never been to Camden’s Barfly, the first thing that strikes you is just how tiny it is. Like, really tiny. You can stand right at the back of the room, by the bar and feel like you’re right down the front. It’s the sort of room where you can see the condensation running down the walls, the sort of room where you can see what the band had for their lunch. It is intimate, that’s for sure and a terrific place to see Wovenwar’s first UK live set.  We’ll get to them in a bit: first though, time to check out support act Empress AD, ahead of their Reading and Leeds festival slots.

You can always tell whether a support band has a bit of a buzz about them by how early people turn up for their set. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s VERY busy and judging by tonight’s performance, the buzz on Empress AD is entirely justified. Empress AD are the sort of band that’s difficult to pigeon-hole, such is the diversity and dexterity to their oeuvre. But that is part of their charm: they have a brilliant, disorienting blend of music that runs a gamut of styles – they clearly have a Pink Floyd record or nine in their collection and they are self-evidently enraptured by dark dynamics beloved of Cult of Luna. However, theirs is not a simple facsimile. On the contrary, they have taken their influences, blended them and added several ingredients of their own, a recipe for a performance that thrilled as much as it beguiled. Definitely ones to watch, then.

You’re already probably familiar with the backstory on Wovenwar and their phoenix from the ashes development so I won’t labour on it again here but know this. They are the real deal. Wovenwar are just a terrific band. There is an air of expectancy about this performance and, when they arrive on stage, they are greeted like returning heroes.

Shane Blay - Wovenwar. A veritable bear of a man.

For a record that has only recently dropped, everyone seems to know every word to every song and they have clearly tapped into something, and something good at that.  From the taped opening of Onward through live debuts for Sight of Shore and Moving Up, Wovenwar just exude confidence, class and power and everyone seems to have realized that the band have got “it”; whatever that elusive “it” is.

Lead singer Shane Blay is a veritable bear of a man and a compelling singer, but one with humility and intelligence in abundance. But this is not a show about him, all of the band appear to be having a hugely enjoyable time. Given what they have been through, this can only be seen as something like a victory.

When the band launch into set closer Prophets the entire room goes ballistic and transforms itself into one giant circle pit and it really is a sight to behold. Someone leans over to me and says “You know, I prefer them to As I Lay Dying”.

And, after tonight, I have to agree with him. Brilliant entertainment.



All Rise

Death To Rights

The Mason

Sight of Shore

Matter of Time




Moving Up




Wovenwar on Facebook

Empress AD on Facebook