Time isn’t exactly being kind to eclectic San Francisco rock band Faith No More. The group never appeared comfortable with the mainstream fame brought on by the unexpected success of their 2 million-selling 1989 album “The Real Thing, ” and since the early ’90s they’ve toiled in increasing obscurity.
But as it turns out, Faith No More makes better music when the eyes of the world are focused elsewhere, as evidenced by the quintet’s fine but roundly ignored last two albums, 1995’s “King For a Day Fool For a Lifetime” and this year’s wryly titled “Album of the Year” (Slash/ Reprise).
Unfortunately, the same rule doesn’t apply to FNM’s live shows, as they’ve deteriorated from the wild and unpredictable performance art they used to be into cynical, unemotional exercises in the routine. At the almost-full Palace on Sunday, the five, all dressed in button-up white shirts and black dress pants, played a short set heavy on new songs but light on spontaneity or verve.
Having dropped such spastic crowd faves as “Surprise You’re Dead” and “We Care a Lot,” Faith (which featured new guitarist Jon Hudson in his first L.A. show) did little in the 75-minute show to generate excitement, though many in the house whooped and hollered and moshed about nonetheless.
In fact, the most interesting points of the evening were when the band segued from one of their patented thrashy, synth-driven numbers to a curious cover song — “I’m Easy” by the Commodores or Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s In Love With You.” Funny, but not ha-ha funny.