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Peeping Tom live!

| April 18, 2007 | 0 Comments

Peeping Tom
Park West, Chicago
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rap and rock? What is this 2000?

No, no, wait. What is this . . . 1990? After all, that was the year Faith No More, fronted by Mike Patton, introduced themselves to mainstream music with a song called “Epic,”which combined rap vocals and heavy metal guitars. Granted, it wasn’t the first hip-hop/rock collaboration, but it was still unfamiliar, and somewhat taboo territory.


So forget this summer’s Rage Against The Machine reunion. Who better to bring back rap rock than Patton?

To be fair, and to avoid casting Peeping Tom as some sort of jocky pumped up Limp Bizkit, the band’s 2006 self-titled record wasn’t really “rap rock.”Nor was it really a band. More just Patton writing songs then Fec-exing them to an off-the wall list of collaborators like Dan The Automator, Kool Keith, Massive Attack, and Norah Jones. The results bent, twisted, and generally fucked with boundaries — basically doing exactly what you would expect Mike Patton to do once you put electro, rock, and hip-hop in his hands.

Backed by a touring lineup that includes Dub Trio (guitarist D.P. Holmes, bassist Stuart Brooks, and drummer Joe Tomino), keyboard player Keefus Cianca, DJ Dan The Automator, , vocalist/violinist Imoni Coppola, and vocalist/beatboxer Butterscotch, Peeping Tom were just as genre blurring, but also much heavier and more rock oriented. Much of this could be attributed to Dub Trio. The group only appear on one of the album’s tracks but given the chance to play behind everything onstage, they added an undeniable stomping groove to the material and made laid-back fare like “Your Neighborhood Spaceman”a more furious feel and made already-heavy tracks like “Five Seconds”flattening. “Five Seconds”was also one of the songs, along with “We’re Not Alone,”that showed Patton is still one of the most versatile vocalists in rock music, able to go from boozy croon to subtle hiss to psychopathic scream within the span of a chorus.

Patton’ s talents are well-known, though. The beauty of Peeping Tom live is that it doesn’t have to be all about him to be successful. He has assembled such impressive talent to surround himself with (Dan The Automator is his DJ for fuck’s sake) he doesn’t need to spearhead every song. Backup singer is a insulting term to apply to Coppola, whose sexy strut was only topped by her sultry voice on “Kill The DJ”(maybe the most anthemic song among the night’s slew of anthems) and “Sucker,”a song Norah Jones performed on the record. If filling Jones shoes seems like a daunting task, consider poor Butterscotch, who was assuming the role of Rahzel, the most well-known beat boxer in the world. Given a five-minute solo spot between “Don’t Even Trip”and “Getaway”(where opener Pigeon John played Kool Keith), though, the petite Butterscotch, whose mic seemed bigger than her, showed why Patton chose her for the tour. When the band played Lollapalooza Rahzel did a one-man band “Seven Nation Army”; nothing in Butterscotch’s arsenal was that adventurous, but she was good enough to earn a roaring ovation from the crowd and for Patton to exclaim “Not a dry crotch in the house”after the solo.

While we’re making Lollapalooza comparisons, it should be noted Patton and co.’s Park West set wasn’t as good as their Lolla set last summer. That could be attributed to a number of things, like the lineup differences. You couldn’t help but feel Patton was stretching to fill the hour-plus a headling tour allots him, though. At Lollapalooza Peeping Tom had 35 minutes, so Patton crafted a short, explosive set. At Park West he had more time to fill, yet still with the same 11 songs. This resulted in letdowns in the room’s energy level, which was otherwise through the roof. Ending the evening with a cover of Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street”was the most obvious example.

— Trevor Fisher

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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