Tool: Live Last Night
By Dave McKenna
The set list for Tool's Thursday show at the Patriot Center was real close to the one the Southern California-spawned art-metal quartet delivered during its last D.C. appearance, in the fall of 2006 at the Verizon Center, a much bigger building. And Maynard James Keenan, the vocalist and normally the focal point of the live show, acted less interested and less interesting this time around.
But, even diminished, Tool remains an amazingly strong act.
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
The show began with "Jambi," a typical Tool tune that kicked off with droning industrial noise, that built up in volume and intensity and over several minutes brought the tension level in the packed basketball gym to a pre-riot level before bassist Justin Chancellor went on a solo run, drummer Danny Carey started pounding away and Keenan shrieked.
It's an incredibly effective and powerful template, which Tool relied on again and again in the nearly two-hour set.
Keenan has never aimed to be a crowd pleaser. Though still going for the Travis Bickle look in jeans and boots and a mohawk coif, he wasn't as into playing the anti-hero role he's so comfortable with, and good at. There was none of the usual taunting of the fans and not as much of the deranged tai chi choreography that he routinely works through when stalking the stage. He was most kinetic on "Aenima," which had him railing against Scientologists and gang bangers and everything else he finds objectionable about Los Angeles.
With Keenan less mobile and vocal, the light and stage show got more play, and Tool served up its usual visual feast. Big screens surrounding the band were filled with images of animated aliens prowling around and daisy-chains of naked human torsos. And for "Lateralus," lasers of all colors shot the length of the arena. Yet the band's delivery of this tune, and all those that preceded it on this night, was so heavy and absorbing that it didn't need any non-musical accoutrements.
By David Malitz |
July 31, 2009; 12:28 PM ET
Live Last Night
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