Fantomas with Zu @ Shibuya Club Quattro (5th Sept. '05)
A Mind Is An Awesome Thing To Blow
There was a popular anti-drug ad several years ago that showed an egg in its shell and then the same egg being fried. The commercial said "This is your brain" (cue egg in shell) followed by "This is your brain on drugs" (cut to a shot of the egg frying in a pan) before wrapping up with "Any questions?"
A similar approach could be used in a commercial for Fantomas. It could start off with a twenty-year-old dude holding an egg as a voice booms "This is your brain." It would then show the guy cracking the egg into a pan and whipping it into a frenzy with a big smile on his face and his eyes glazed over. At which point the voiceover would proclaim "This is your brain after being skull fucked by Fantomas. Want to know where to buy tickets?"
If that doesn't get kids out to catch a show, then frankly I don't know what will. "Skull fucked" might seem a little harsh to various parents' group and decency committees, but after witnessing Fantomas live, it is the only term that adequately sums up the vast array of sonic mayhem the band uses to mess with listeners' minds.
Zu was given the challenging task of getting the near-packed house ready for Fantomas. The Italian trio didn't disappoint as they tore through what they refer to on their web site as "soul music". Comprised of a drummer, bass player, and saxophonist, the band mixed free jazz and warped math metal to create completely off the wall, funky works of art. When not drumming, the very engaging Jacopo Battaglia chatted up the mixed crowd in English, explaining about the songs and where they came from.
During an interlude early in the show he told everyone that the next track was going to be a samba song. He then explained that it wasn't really a true samba song as the band was going to add a little bit of Norwegian metal to it, as saxophonist Luca Mai chimed in with one of the best metal growls I've heard in a long time.
Walking out on stage just after 8 p.m., Fantomas instantly began teasing, taunting, twisting, and tantalizing the ears and heads of spectators. Featuring Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Melvins guitarist Buzz Osbourne, Mr. Bungle bassist Trevor Dunn, and Mike Patton, to say that Fantomas are packing some serious frickin' firepower is one hell of an understatement.
As his voice switched styles, his bandmates would often change the pace of the musical madness being created as well. Working their way through selections from all four of their releases, the quartet came pretty damn close to touching on every major genre as they played their dense, schizophrenic opuses. Songs would travel at menacing speeds before slowing down to a spacey crawl to allow evil sound clips and some of the bonks and whistles that adorn their latest work, Suspended Animation, to be added to the demented jumble of brilliant noise.
The cheers that erupted every time Patton grabbed one of his four mics made it clear who the star of the show was. Positioned behind a table filled with electronic goodies, the prolific frontman was constantly on the move during the fantastic 50 minute set. When not turning various knobs or toying with his keyboards, pedals, and vocal enhancers, he played the role of conductor, raising his arms to lead his bandmates through each mind-boggling composition. Patton's vocal versatility was amazing. The former Faith No More singer whispered lyrics with a deranged look in his eyes, sang in a soaring operatic voice, grunted out twisted gibberish, and leaned back to unleash blistering hardcore screams all within the span of a few minutes.
The show ended with Patton saying "Arigatou" and introducing the band before walking off stage. Returning a few moments later, Fantomas wrapped things up with one last awesome, two minute blast before packing it in. The awe-struck audience roared their approval and headed for the exit with dazed grins, trying to fully grasp the magnitude of the insanely wonderful display they had just seen.
photos by hanasan
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