In a lot of ways, the touring package of Faith No More and Refused is a perfect pairing – both bands made their names with genre blending sounds and were highly influential, inspiring countless bands that followed in their footsteps. In fact, Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzen acknowledged that the headliners were something of an influence on them, mentioning how he and drummer David Sandstrom bonded over Faith No More in the early 90s.
I must admit though that I was a little disappointed to see Refused playing to a somewhat empty arena when their 7:30 set time rolled around. Sure, 7:30 is a bit of an early start and while there was a small but dedicated crowd gathered on the floor in front of the stage, the surrounding seated area was fairly sparse. However, that didn’t seem to affect Refused one bit and they still put on an impressive show. Lyxzen is an engaging frontman, dancing and flailing about the stage and putting his all into it. “I grew up in punk rock,” he said at one point, discussing the importance of art in getting a message out. “It wasn’t life and death – it was way more important than that.”
A few songs into Faith No More’s set, the band demonstrated their affinity for mixing together musical genres when Mike Patton slipped a few lines from Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” into the middle of “Evidence.” He repeated the lyrics shortly thereafter following the end of “Epic.” “Who does that song?” asked keyboardist Roddy Bottum (who seems to be resembling Matt Walsh of Veep and Upright Citizens brigade fame these days). “Dude, it’s the mayor of fucking Toronto!” replied Patton before asking the crowd, “Do you guys like Drake?” After some boos, Bottum cheekily responded, “We’re all open minded up here. Leave those judgements outside of the coliseum.” It’s true, Faith No More has always been pretty open minded about music, incorporating a bit of everything into their sound right from the get go, and they have been known to incorporate covers from a wide range of source material into their live shows, but apparently the crowd wasn’t having it tonight. They also seem to have some issues with Van Halen. When Patton pointed out that Eddie and co. were in town, there were more boos. This of course, inspired the band to turn the middle of “Midlife Crisis” into a bit of a mashup with Van Halen’s “Jump,” which was pretty spectacular. Speaking of covers, they also played their classic versions of “Easy” and “I Started A Joke,” with Patton calling out the Drake and Van Halen fans in attendance to sing along during the former and Bottum adding, “That sounds like progress! We are the world!”