April 2005 Archives


Went to see Fantomas at the Phoenix on Friday. Wow, what a show. Mike Patton is a madman.

I commented to someone next to me that this music is the ultimate for people with attention deficit disorder. Songs take 30 - 90 seconds, generally take heavy metal as the "base form" but proceed to jumping from middle-eastern influenced folk, to children's cartoon songs and sound effects, to electronic IDM, to horror movie themes. It also is fascinating to watch live, it's much more like a jazz combo or stage band than a rock band. All of the musicans face each other, so Dave Lombardo's drum kit is to left side, Patton and his gear on the right, with Buzzo and Trevor Dunn in the middle. Patton acts as the conductor throughout the show, gesturing , yelling, counting in, or flailing his body at the appropriate times. Patton sometimes has to juggle multiple microphones, each with separate effects on them. Samples are interwoven with live instruments, Mike Patton's voice being the most versatile instrument of the bunch. From rhythms, to piercing screams, to charming melodies (with and without words), to unintelligable crunching or grunting, he's got quite a range. The link above (on the word "Songs") gives you a sample of the new album.

There's a recent interview with Patton on MSNBC. This quote from him seems to summarize the theme of the music...

[Fantomas'] “Suspended Animation” is a torrent of agitated quick-hit death metal mixed in with samples ripped right out of your favorite childhood cartoons. One listen and you’ll get sent back to sitting in front of the TV and feeling sorry for Droopy Dog. Only with Fantomas, Droopy Dog reaches out of the TV, grabs you by the neck and just keeps shaking.

[Photos are from here, copied to preserve their bandwidth. They're from a show last year in Europe, with a similar look to what I experienced Friday.]

in memory

John Paul Two, I will miss you.

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