Friday 21 October 2016

Gig review: CHUCK MOSLEY at The Underground, Stoke-on-Trent 03/10/2016

For those unfamiliar with Chuck Mosley, he was the lead singer on the first two Faith No More albums, We Care A Lot and Introduce Yourself. Both of which were hugely influential on the Alternative Rock/Metal scene, and are still as relevant today as when they came out. Chuck has also been a member of Cement and Bad Brains as well as a solo artist. But let's be honest here, the vast majority of his fan base including myself, discovered Chuck through Faith No More. When I heard he was doing a full UK tour, and better still, playing a few miles from home, I was extremely excited. 

Chuck seems to have had a rough time over the years since his split with Faith No More. Aside from the stories of substance abuse, Chuck broke his back in a road accident in the mid 90's taking him out of the scene for about a year. He hit the music headlines in December 2014 when he publicly asked for donations from fans as he'd fallen on hard times and was on the verge of losing his home. Considering what a groundbreaking and highly revered musician Chuck is, I am still amazed that he's a struggling artist. Earlier this year, Chuck reunited for a couple of shows with Faith No More to celebrate the release of the special anniversary edition of We Care A Lot, so I was hoping this would reignite his career. Regardless, this was my opportunity to see a living legend who had been a significant part of the soundtrack to my teenage years.

I arrived during the support band's set. I counted about thirteen people in the room, including the musicians, staff and myself. I turned around, and there was the man himself. I said "Hi" to him and asked if he minded if I took some photos of the show. He apologised to me for the turnout. He came across as really down and disheartened, then went to the bar to get another beer. 

Anyway, the show started with Chuck on his own with an electro-acoustic guitar plugged into some pedals. This must have been going straight into the P.A as there were no amps or cabs visible. Due to the poor turnout, the show was very relaxed and had the atmosphere of one of your friends jamming in your living room. Admittedly, there were a number of false starts, and the playing was a little ropey from time to time (possibly due to all those beers!), but given the setting, it didn't matter. 

Chuck Mosley

Chuck was soon joined by the rest of his band, a drummer and a bassist. Like Chuck, the bassist didn't have a visible amp and probably had a direct input into the P.A. The drummer wasn't behind a kit. He had some bongos. Don't get me wrong, the drummer and bassist were fantastic players and added some real magic to the performance. The reason I'm writing about the lack of amps is because I don't think I was alone in expecting a 'full live band experience', including a full drum-kit, amps and electric guitars etc. The way they did it worked and sounded cool. It also meant that they had minimal equipment to tour. They could have fitted everything they used on stage into the back of a small car. Maybe this is the future of touring on a budget? You can save money on extra transit vans lugging around flight cases of amps, drums and lavish backdrops, and make your tour less risky financially. It was an unusual set up, especially given the price of the tickets, but it worked for Chuck's show. (Update: I checked the internet and some of the earlier tour posters said that this was an acoustic tour. The one I saw didn't, which is down to the promoters.)

Chuck Mosley

The gig was fairly short, and he played a number of songs off his 'Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food' album, and a few Faith No More songs including 'Death March', and a beautifully unnerving rendition of the Patton era 'Take This Bottle' which was a welcome surprise. The band toyed with the intro of 'We Care A Lot' but didn't play it in full. The whole vibe of the show was very loose and came across as improvised. At times it felt like disorganised chaos bordering on the shambolic. However this chaos was laced with rays of true magic. It would have been nice to hear more of a structured set with some more classic songs in, but what we got felt like an authentic jam session by some fine musicians lead by one of the most creative and influential artists of our time.

Chuck Mosley

At the end of the show, Chuck spent time with the crowd, and signed CDs, and posed for photos etc. He was an absolute gentleman and a down to earth guy.

Chuck Mosley

Chuck Mosley

Having been a huge fan of Chuck Mosley since my early teens, it broke my heart a little to see him play in front of a handful of people in such a lacklustre environment. I know there are many Faith No More fans in the city, but where were they? Without Chuck Mosley, there'd be no Korn, Disturbed, Linkin Park or any other of these multi-million selling contemporary bands who clearly borrowed from the Faith No More sound. Chuck is hugely significant in the world of Alternative Rock and Metal and I feel he deserves not just the recognition from the mainstream media, but a better hand than the one he's been dealt. Onwards and upwards, Mr Mosley!


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