Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover (who was covering for Dave Lombardo who was gigging with Suicidal Tendencies) were Fantômas last weekend. Here are a collection of reviews, photographs and video footage from the gig.
By Andrew Bansal
Photos by Brad Worsham
Fantômas took the stage for a much hyped, sudden, rare one-off appearance which came out of nowhere. Billed as a “reunion” show but not quite so with drummer Dave Lombardo missing due to Suicidal Tendencies commitments, this version of Fantômas featured Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, and it was the band’s first U.S. show since 2008. Fantômas was getting into their groove and beginning to entertain the audience with their glorious sonic weirdness, complete with Patton’s sarcasm and humor when addressing the crowd. But a major portion of the set was marred by technical problems, as Mike Patton’s vocals were completely inaudible, even as he could be clearly seen (from our seats in the Orchestra section) belting out his parts with full fury and fervor. This put an obvious dampener on what was supposed to be a special performance, and anyone in attendance would need to see them some other time, some place else, to truly claim that they saw Fantômas live, because this one should not really count.
By Christopher R. Weingarten
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Fantomas came next, and for the small contingent of the audience who truly knew this band already, what an amazing treat this was. While sporadically active the last nine years or so, the band has played no shows in the U.S.A. since December 31st 2008. This being their first show back since then, it also featured a complete performance of their beloved album The Director’s Cut. For the unfamiliar, this is a band widely described by all members as “Mike’s band,” referring to lead singer, songwriter and sonic architect Mike Patton. Formed initially right around the break-up of Faith No More in 1999, Patton recruited Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne, Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn and ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. Their first, self-titled album was a concept album, loosely composed as 31 tracks as if 31 pages of a comic book. Their third album Delirium Cordia was a masterful and haunting single 75-minute track, more-or-less the soundtrack to a deeply comatose surgery. Their last album Suspended Animation was another 30-track affair, this time each song named for a specific day of the calendar month of April 2005.
While all four albums are incredible in their artistic creativity, fans generally respond more favorably to the (relatively speaking) straightforward songs on The Director’s Cut, each a reworking of a classic movie theme. The ominous notes of Nino Rota’s Godfather theme greeted the crowd before the manic metal breakdown they mutate into and out of half way through. The ultra brief “Night of the Hunter (Remix)” aims for the creepiest of the creepy while Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror” is half jazz pop and half brutal onslaught. Most impressive in the array of covers are their fantastically ominous take on Krzysztof Komeda’s theme to “Rosemary’s Baby” and their hypnotic approach to the theme from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
Photos by Jenifer Maher