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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Beat Magazine

Date: April, 1997

Transcribed by
Dan Steadman (flood@peninsula.starway.net.au)


  page: 
 title: 
author: Jack Reynolds

(All mistakes are his, not mine)

Tool, Shihad

Festival Hall

The Tool concert began in seemingly innocuous fashion. Hyped as including
support such as the Butthole Surfers, Skunk Anansie and Sprung Monkey,
Tool were preceded only by New Zealand band Shihad. However, Shihad were
quite impressive with their new material, suggesting that their recently
released album may be worth a listen. 

However, soon enough, indeed much earlier than one would expect, the
legions of Tool fans got what they had come for. The Los Angeles quartet
took to the stage and lead singer Maynard James Keenan, replete with blue
body paint, fixed the audience with an impervious stare before launching
into their epic "Third Eye". For a few minutes, I was unable to appreciate
the sheer brilliance which was about to befall me. Writhing pushing bodies
necessitated a safer vantage point. Once there, I was gradually consumed
by the show. 

The genre defying geniusness inherent in their albums was easily
transferred to the live format. Drawing from all three albums, although
mainly their latest "Aenema" (sic), their extensive repertoire meant weak
spots didn't exist. "Stinkfest" (sic) and new single "46 & 2", were
greeted with predictable euphoria. "46 & @" in particular, is an amazing
live song although so too are the diverse and often subtle refrains of
"Eulogy".  However, it wasn't merely the new songs which got the response.
Their oldest contribution to the set was "Opiate" from the EP of the same
name and the vast majority of the crowd seemed to recognise it. Tool
certainly encourage the committed fan. Indeed keen to experience the power
of the band close hand, I had arrived some 40 minutes before gates opened
but nearly 1000 people were already there and tickets were being scalped
for $100. It was also impossible not to notice the huge number of Tool
T-shirts in the audience. 

However probably the first thing one noticed on seeing Tool live is just
how good a singer Keenan actually is. Recording studios seem to be able to
make anyone sound passable but Keenan actually is. Recording studios seem
to be able to make anyone sound passable but Keenan sounds as good live,
if not better, than he does on their albums. It is also easy to think that
drummer Danny Carey is simply better than average. In an extended
interplay with his rhythm section fiddling with various distorted sounds,
Carey stakes a claim to being one of the best drummers in the world. As
for songwriting, the fact that this 20 odd minute interplay rarely lapsed
into tedium says enough. 

With the quality of this songwriting, the bizarre film clips accompanying
each song (including one featuring elephant's copulating) and an
unbelievably great mix for Festival Hall, it was easy to be seduced. 
However, my seduction derived from more of this. It was helped by an
intangible sense of authenticity which surrounde the whole proceedings.
The enigmatic Keenan probably bears much responsibility for this. He said
nothing for several songs before deeming it worthy to utter "Melbourne". 
However, despite their repeated insistence that Scientology sucks and
California should be destroyed, it quickly became clear that this band
actually have something intelligent, and eminently serious, to say.
Keenan's passionate lyrics are exemplified on stage, and his musings which
often very on philosophical, are given dramatic form. He warns us that
"Pushit" is not about violence but an attempt to encourage compassion for
others rather than ignorant fear. But then it was not so much what he was
saying but the conviction and honesty behind it which was captivating. His
vision seems to have found the perfect conduit in the power of Tool.
Here's hoping this union persists for years to come, for based on its
expression at Festival Hall, Tool can comfortably be regarded as one of
the best live bands in the world. 


[another review, same issue] author: Varla Udege Offshore Festival Torquay Easter 1997 For a potato farmer from down south, Simon Daly really knows how to look after fans of outdoor festivals, with his inaugural Offshore Festival prving a winner of an event. With a beautiful farm to camp on, an army of free buses, a strong line-up of bands and excellent surfing conditions for the Bells Classic, a better Easter weekend could not be had literally anywhere else in Australia by the young surf and music fan. The 8,000 punters who attended Offshore were treated to a masterful performance by headliners Tool, as Maynard Keenan writhed his way through Tool's epic set. Looking like the protagonist from the Stinkfest (sic) clip, Keenan put in an astounding show. Silverchair proved themselves serious contenders with a sound that has filled-out considerably over the past couple of years. Johns even smiled occasionally. The Mark Of Cain's powerful Helmet/Rollins inspired riffs were simply awesome while strong performances were also put in by the fire-breathing boys from Blink 182, Def FX (with Fiona Horne looking spectacular), The Living End, Grinspoon and Snout as Offshore worked itself through the Easter weekend. A reliable source has informed us that preparations are well under way for a bigger and better Offshore Festival for nezt Easter. We'll keep you posted. (I think Beat printed this review after a number of critical letters were recieved over the previous Offshore review they printed a couple of weeks back. The reviewer didn't really talk about the bands much, instead warbling on about his weekend. His final comment was something to the effect of "I thankfully fell asleep before Tool came on." Prat. And why do Beat keep on printing Stinkfist as Stinkfest? There's a story there.. -D)

Posted to t.d.n: 05/01/97 16:34:25