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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: InPress Magazine

Date: April, 1997

Transcribed by
Dan Steadman (

author: Martin Jones

Tool / Shihad

Festival Hall

I inadvertently timed my arrival perfectly. I saw just enough of New
Zealand's mighty Shihad rocking on the big Festival Hall stage to make me
want to go see one of their upcoming pub gigs. Shihad have plenty of
overseas, big-stage experience and were perfectly comfortable up there,
finishing their set with a mighty version of the current single La La

While I admired Shihad's performance, I didn't envy them. I would not want
to be in a guitar rock band within a hundred miles of Tool. They are at a
stage where they are setting the standards for contemporary rock; a
standard simply unattainable to us mere mortals. Not only do this band
create superb sounding albums of technical and creative intricacy, taste
and intelligence backed by staggering power and emotion, they can
reproduce and even augment their recorded material in performance. 

Maynard Keenan painted his entire body blue for this occasion and while it
was not quite as effective as his blue and white make up of the Offshore
festival, his staggering, puppet-like gait was just as eerily alienating. 
Accompanying many of the songs was a collage of the group's videos and
some psychedelic style artwork, projected on the rear wall. At times this
was a confusing distraction (which was probably the desired effect) and at
others it was all absorbing, pulsating hypnotically with the music. 

Aurally, I doubt if I will ever hear another band with as much impact. 
Evolving grinding, sinister meance into angelic, tear-rendering melody,
Tool have an uncanny sense of contrast. Maynard's voice is a huge part of
this impact, able to imitate angel and devil in one sentence, aided by
some stunning vocal effects. The whole band has an expert grasp on their
sound engineering, enabling the three instrumentalists to produce the
sound of a small army of musicians. The complexity of the interaction
between bass, guitar and drums would require a dissertation to detail and
perhaps I should quit there before I am tempted to attempt it. 

The imperfections to this evening's performance were: an elongated
feedback introduction to Sober which lost me purely because of its length
rather than its delivery, but which did heighten the suspense of waiting
for the song;  and the swarm of Tool T-shirted teens who insensitively
screamed out the words to songs like Sober in the most intimately subtle
moments. I wonder how many people (myself included) actually understand

Posted to t.d.n: 05/01/97 16:47:39