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Richard Patrick - Filter[First of all, big ups to Sam @ NoneLouder for not only supplying me with a ticket to this very special show, but giving up his own ticket so I could go. Above and beyond. And special thanks to Kristine @ MSO PR for making it happen. -Ed.]

“Sorry for throwing water all over you guys!” an apologetic Richard Patrick said from the stage as he was winding down his band Filter’s CD release party show at NYC’s Mercury Lounge last night, just moments before launching into set-closer “Hey Man, Nice Shot.” He continued, “When Filter first came to New York, you guys were moshing the whole time, so I came out tonight I was confused. But now I realize you guys just express your appreciation in different ways! That’s cool. So, sorry about that!”

Patrick’s foible was understandable; he seemed a bit frustrated, nay, perplexed, when the predictably staid New York audience of mostly well-connected 30-somethings and music industry heads failed to do much more than bob their heads to the beat throughout the band’s first several songs. So when Patrick took the stage to Title of Record opener “Welcome to the Fold,” he pulled the tried-and-true rockstar trick of spewing water all over the front row in an effort to get the kids riled up. Only they weren’t really kids, just very appreciate Filter fans happy to have the opportunity to see the band in such an intimate, special gathering. But ultimately it didn’t matter — the crowd was more than enthusiastic in “other ways,” to quote Patrick, vehemently shouting, clapping and giving endless applause after every song, even those from Filter’s brand new disc Anthems for the Damned which hit stores yesterday (read my review here). And as soon as Patrick realized that this audience wasn’t necessarily the moshing type but was no less appreciative, all was good in the Mercury Lounge and the band plowed through an hour plus set of old favorites, new jams and deep album cuts to the pleasure of all those lucky enough to be in attendance.

Another funny moment in the set came when Patrick related to the audience that the band had been at K-Rock earlier that day; a rousing chorus of boos rose from the audience. “What, did I say a bad word or something? It’s the only rock station in town, right?” Touche, Richard, touche.

The band’s live rendition of their new single “Soldiers of Misfortune” that followed was fantastic and impassioned. “That song means so much to me,” Patrick said after wrapping it up. “It had to be written. Someone needed to say that. You guys know what I mean, right?” seemingly becoming more aware of the makeup of this particular audience with each passing second.

The highlights of the set for me were two songs I had long forgotten about because they aren’t on any proper Filter releases; the Crystal Method collabo “Trip Like I Do” from the Spawn Soundtrack, and “Jurrasitol” from the legendary Crow soundtrack, a song with a chorus so mundane it boggles my mind why I loved it so much in high school (the vocal hook in the verse, I guess?). Hearing those songs live was a rush that stirred up so many feelings and memories of… well, you know, teenage stuff.

I’ve waxed ecstatic about Patrick’s prowess as a frontman in the past, and there’s no sense going on about it again now other than to say that the man is an extremely engaging and talented performer, the cream of the crop. It’s the reason Filter has endured, seeing as the rest of the band are a rotating cast of characters (it should be noted that the musicians on board right now are quite good). Patrick’s voice sounded phenomenal last night too, clear and crisp through and through. He hit all the notes, even the highs in “Skinny” which he remarked the band had never played live before this tour because in his days as “a raging fucking alcoholic” (his words, not mine!) he wasn’t able to hit them live.

As the set wound down with the band’s greatest hit “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” it seemed that Patrick spoke a bit too soon; a spirited, old-school moshpit erupted front and center. As the ho-hum head-bobbers cleared out of the way, the true Filter fans had their way for one, final song. Maybe when Filter returns to New York Patrick will save his water-spewing for the end.


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