Monday, June 25, 2007

Mike Patton?!

Peeping Tom - Live at Enmore Theatre, Sydney, June 21st

I was not terribly excited by Mike Patton's latest project Peeping Tom on record but it was only a disappointment by Patton's standards and considering that far and away the two best concerts I've ever attended were both for Tomahawk (one of Patton's other bands) it was a no brainer to grab a ticket to this show.

The Enmore Theatre is a nice venue. They have thoughtfully segregated the main theatre area into two sections, one section in front of the stage and one further back. The front section is also connected to the bar, which means that the snivelling, disgusting swarm of under eighteen year olds are safely quarantined away at the back of the audience, hurrah!

We found a nice place near the front and slightly off to the side. The opening act was Tango Saloon, who played an inventive mix of jazz, latin music and Morricone style western film music. Remind anyone of Secret Chiefs 3? There's no explicit musical connection but I thought that their drummer looked familiar and wikipedia verifies that he is in fact Danny Heifitz, formerly of Mr. Bungle and who joined Secret Chiefs 3 on their recent Australian tour. Tango Saloon are a fantastic band, very skilled performers all and with highly original and creative songs. They're based in Sydney so I shall make an effort to keep abreast of their comings and goings.

Tango Saloon

As for the headliners, the essence of the concert can be summed up by acknowledging that Mike Patton is the coolest guy alive. In concert he's full of boundless energy and wit, and simply exudes charisma. Watching him makes me realise why musical legends of the past such as Elvis or Jim Morrison are so idolised. As much as I appreciate them on record I've never quite understood why people loved them quite as much as they do. I now suspect that there's something about these guys (i.e. charisma) that can only be witnessed in person.

Peeping Tom is more or less a hip hop band, and they had quite a few people on stage. A bass, guitar and drums rhythm section were tucked away on stage left, while opposite them were a DJ and a keyboards/synth guy. Once these guys took the stage and began playing a spacey intro the crowd's chant of “We want Mike” finally bore fruit and he took the stage with a female co-vocalist on each arm. They then busted into a cover of Marvin Gaye's 'Desperate Situation', which was then immediately followed by my favourite Peeping Tom song 'Mojo'.

Peeping Tom take the stage

It was just brilliant seeing Mike Patton with this band. Tomahawk's music is melancholy and eerie, so as you might expect Patton's performing persona is a little different for this band, as the music is far more upbeat and fun. Mike jumps around the stage and engages in constant audience banter and encouragement. Best frontman ever.

Imani Coppola

The setlist consisted of the entire Peeping Tom album, plus a few covers (the aforementioned 'Desperate Situation' and 'Across 110th Street' by Bobby Womack), solo spots and, much to my delight, 'Get Up Punk!' from the collaborative album Mike Patton did with the X-Ecutioners.

The only partway decent picture I got of Mike Patton

Some complaints:
  • More munters than I expected, I thought this band would draw a more mature (by which I don't mean older) crowd.
  • The DJs solo piece went on for too long. I was bored.

A few highlights:
  • The two backup vocalists were rapper/beatboxer Butterscotch and singer/violinist Imani Coppola. The violin was a nice touch but Butterscotch almost upstaged Patton with her unbelievable beatboxing solo, in which she combined the abilities of a drum machine and the sound effects guy from Police Academy, and sang at the same time! You could hear the audience's jaws collectively hit the floor.
  • Some random guy managing to get on stage and hug Mike Patton. Patton hands him the microphone and the guy uses his moment of glory to say “Whooooooooooooo!” and stage dive into the crowd. Security was ready to pounce on him but Mike stayed their hand, “Hey, leave that guy alone, he's my buddy. Me and him go way back” claiming to have met him in a whorehouse in Kings Cross. Later on a girl got on stage and started laying big wet kisses on Mike's cheeks. He just stood there and said “I'm not looking, I'm not turning around to see who that is...” and she got dragged away by security.
  • The last song of the main set, 'Sucker', was dedicated to Mike's favourite Aussie rock band, Wolfmother. I laughed.
  • Mike giving some dude in the front row shit for no reason, “C'mon, laugh ya little rugrat!”
  • 'Get Up Punk' and 'Mojo'. Fucking awesome.

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