As the co-writer of Faith No More’s 1990 hit, “Epic,” Mike Patton helped supply a major building block to perhaps the most Darth Vader-esque music style that ever existed in this galaxy: rap metal. And for the longest time, Patton refused to continue pursuing this direction, despite seemingly every gentleman who wore baggy trousers and a backwards baseball cap singling him out as a prime influence.
But shortly after the dawn of the 21st century, Patton was ready to embrace rap once more (but to his credit, sounding nothing like the aforementioned copycat foolers), as 2005 saw the self-titled release by General Patton vs. the X-Ecutioners, and a year later, the self-titled album from Peeping Tom.
Largely considered to be one of the more musically straightforward releases that Patton has issued since Faith No More’s split in 1997, “Peeping Tom” has now come to life on the road via Rahzel (beatbox), Imani Coppola (vocals), Mike Relm (turntables, electronics) and John Kirby (keyboards) plus the group Dub Trio.
On one of the last nights of their U.S. summer tour before playing a series of September stadium shows opening for the Who (!), the Peeping Tom posse rolled into the medium-sized Brooklyn venue Warsaw. For the occasion, Patton broke out his best threads, resembling one of Tony Montana’s henchmen dressed all in white (including a blazer), plus a black hair net.
Although Peeping Tom’s album was mostly a studio creation (with many a file being shipped back and forth across state lines), the octet translated it extremely well on stage. With live guitar/bass/drums supplying a healthy dose of oomph to the proceedings, the songs proved only stronger in a live setting.
Performing arguably its best song (and first single) early in the set, “Mojo,” the band then played the majority of the album, broken up by a Rahzel vocal showcase. Relm also had a solo spot, in which he somehow linked the “Peanuts” theme to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.”
Long one of rock’s best frontmen, Patton did not disappoint, whether it was encouraging the audience to “flip the bird” during a venomous stanza of “Don’t Even Trip,” to laugh a la Cesar Romero before and after “Sucker” (which saw Coppola replicate Norah Jones’ vocals from the album) or convincing an audience member to hoist their crutches up in the air. While the majority of the evening’s music had a hip-hop flavor, the rocking “We’re Not Alone” gave the crowd their metallic fix.
Pulling double duty, Dub Trio handed in a completely instrumental opening set in support of their latest release, “New Heavy,” which combined the doomsday riffing of Black Sabbath with dub reggae. While there’s no denying the group’s fine chops, without any vocals, the songs began to all sound the same after a while. This should all be corrected on their next release, which is planned to include vocal contributions from Patton.