Near the end of Faith No More's intense and intensely entertaining performance at the Orpheum Theatre on Monday, frontman Mike Patton thanked the audience: "We appreciate your patience — we're not a very easy band to stick with."
Likely there weren't a lot of fans in the sold-out crowd who could be convinced of that sentiment. Many had waited nearly 20 years for the quintet, which came to prominence in the late '80s and early '90s, to return to Boston. That crowd was wildly ecstatic from the first thundering downbeat to the last cathartic scream of the dynamic 90-minute performance, which served as a joyful — and loud — reminder of the Bay Area hard rockers' gift for mashing up the heavy, the soulful, and the funky. The band probably also made some local florists happy, judging by a stage festooned with numerous flower arrangements: splashes of color against a white backdrop and the band members' all-white garb.
Patton, bassist Billy Gould, keyboardist Roddy Bottum, hard-hitting and inventive drummer Mike Bordin, and guitarist Jon Hudson previewed a handful of strong new tunes from Faith No More's forthcoming "Sol Invictus," out next Tuesday and the band's first since 1997. They also roared through back-catalog tunes with a nimbleness and heat that made it clear they still have energy to burn.
They kicked off the night with a foreboding and sinuous new track with an unprintable title, setting the tone for what was to come as they careened from brawny riffage to slithering rhythms, heavy-metal freak outs, and smooth soul symphonies. Patton's still astounding voice, its range and power undimmed, surfed atop it all, injected with his uniquely maniacal aplomb.
Big hit "Epic," the hitching-to-soaring anthem, was dispatched early, and the band dug as deeply into other tracks: the hip-swiveling "Evidence," the clatter and rage of "Surprise! You're Dead!," and the mid-set singalong "Midlife Crisis" — into which was delightfully mashed a bit of Boz Scaggs's vintage jam "Lowdown."
Faith No More further indulged its love of adult-contemporary classics with its famed covers of the Commodores' "Easy" and the Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke." The Orpheum show sold out lickety-split, but Faith No More returns to perform at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on Aug. 4.
Faith No More
With Le Butcherettes
At: Orpheum Theatre, Monday