Recorded live at the Brixton Academy in London England on Saturday 28th April 1990, You Fat B**tards is an excellent recording of a band that truly was ahead of their time at the peak of their commercial success, if not the peak of their career from a creative stand point (their later albums like King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime and Album Of The Year are far more interesting).
The band's mix of funk, metal, hip hop and straight up rock was finding an audience, 'alternative music' was starting to hit big, and Faith No More where in the right place at the right time. In addition to luck, however, was a whole lot of talent. The band was made up of some seriously talented musicians, Mike Patton's vocals and performance art mannerisms gave them the weirdness that they needed to attract attention, and it all just sort of came together for them. Despite the fact that they'd recorded their first album in 1985 and so had been around half a decade at the time this material hit, it wasn't until their first recorded lead singer, Chuck Mosley (they'd had a few others before Mosley but not recorded any actual albums with any of them – supposedly Courtney Love was fronting the band at one point!), was replaced by Patton that commercial success came their way.
Faith No More also had a really impressive range. Tracks like Epic were almost pop flavored while other songs like Woodpecker From Mars were more psychedelic in nature with an emphasis on the heavier side of things. It's interesting to see the crowd get as worked up as they do during this set, you can see people singing along to almost every track but popular tracks like the aforementioned Epic and their earlier hit We Care A Lot seem to go over as the best of the bunch if audience enthusiasm is anything to gauge this sort of thing by.
This (roughly) hour long performance is a pretty interesting glimpse at the band as Patton was still finding himself as a vocalist, at least in terms of what he could deliver live. While he's since gone on to far more experimental projects such as Mr. Bungle and The Fantomas where he could really cut lose and show off how intense and instrumental one man's vocals can get, here he still sounds a little on the whiney side. That being said, as a showcase of what was to come not only from Patton but from Faith No More as a band, this is exceptional material.
Interestingly enough, the band closes with their cover of the Black Sabbath classic, War Pigs. In order to go out with the appropriate amount of bang, Patton rages across the stage, vomiting fake blood towards the end of the song, climbing on some of the lighting gear, puking more fake blood, and then finally pretending to pass out. The show builds and builds up to this moment, getting more intense as it progresses, and for it to culminate as it does here somehow seems wholly appropriate.
Faith No More: Live At The Brixton Academy, London – You Fat B**tards includes the following tracks:
From Out Of Nowhere/Falling To Pieces/The Real Thing/Underwater Love/As The Worm Turns/Edge Of The World/We Care A Lot/Epic/Woodpecker From Mars/Zombie Eaters/War Pigs
In addition to the concert disc, however, Rhino has also included Who Cares A Lot? in this set as well. For those who don't know, this is a compilation of all of the band's promotional videos from throughout their career. It's nice to see some of the more obscure tracks in here like Easy or later tracks like Midlife Crisis included here as well as more popular tracks like Epic, which was a staple on MTV and Much Music when their break through album, The Real Thing, hit it big.
Who Cares A Lot? contains the following videos in the following order:
Midlife Crisis/Epic/Falling To Pieces/Anne's Song/We Care A Lot/Surprise! You're Dead!/From Out Of Nowhere/A Small Victory/Everything's Ruined/Caffeine/Easy/Digging The Grave/Evidence/Strip Search/Last Cup Of Sorrow/
Ashes To Ashes/I Started A Joke
While some of this material has aged poorly and as such looks really, really dated the music holds up well and more often than not we see the same creative and original touches in the videos as we hear in the music itself. Despite some corniness (possibly intentional on the bands part) in videos like Easy where they appear in drag or in almost all of the color schemes from the tracks off of The Real Thing (so much pastel!) this is still a lot of fun for those of us who grew up listening to the band and seeing a lot of this material on television during our teenage years.
Everything in this set is presented 1.33.1 fullframe which is how it was originally meant to be seen. The video quality isn't bad, though the concert footage is a bit on the soft side and there are times where the overheard lights wash out the performers and this results in some detail loss. The promotional videos fare better in that they are more defined, color reproduction is stronger and the picture has better black levels. Fine detail isn't the greatest on either of the two discs but this material does look pretty good on DVD, even if it doesn't look perfect.
You've got your choice of watching both the concert footage on the first disc and the videos on the second disc in either an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix or a newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix. There are no alternate language dubs provided, nor are there any subtitles or closed captioning options available. In terms of quality, well, there's not a huge difference between the two tracks though the 5.1 mix does spread things out a little bit more than the stereo track does mainly by putting the music up front and, in the case of the concert footage, the crowd response behind the viewer. Bass response is tight and strong while the higher end has just a tiny bit of shrillness to it in one or two spots. Other than that, things sound pretty good here, with neither the vocals nor the instruments getting lost in the mix or buried at all.
Aside from chapter selection, neither of the two discs in this set contains any supplemental material at all.
While it would have been nice to see some interviews or other extra features, Rhino's presentation is pretty decent and the content spread across these two discs is definitely worthwhile for fans of the band. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.