the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Kerrang!

Date: March, 1997

Transcribed by
Ian Underwood (

author: Jason Arnopp

The Astoria, London
Sunday, February 23
2 out of 5

MOST ROCKING MOMENT:Singer Maynard Keenan taking a member of the audience
hostage for 15 minutes.

LEAST ROCKING MOMENT:The longer of Tool's epics.Hammock required.

BEST ONSTAGE QUOTE:'What do you think-zipped or unzipped?'-Keenan asks the
audience for their opinion of his newly-donned swimsuit.

VERDICT:Tool long It's undeniably impressive to see a totally
uncomprimisng band like Tool packing out a large venue like the Astoria.
Unfortunately, the place is so stuffed that going for a 'Jimmy tuppence'
requires grappling irons and an elaborate pully system. Foil assault their
captive audience with vaguely Pixies-esque hammer blows. Guitars chime
discordantly, there is the occasional mad shriek, and some excellently
hyperactive drumming. On first hearing, the songs don't sound too bad
either. While it's hard not to miss the energy boost of Senser, back when
three quarters of Lodestar were members, the newly dapper Heitham Al-Sayed
and co have a host of fine, if less accessible songs. The peaks of their
set tend to be rockier gems like 'Another Day' and 'Wait a Minute',
although the downright bizarre 'Worthwhile' impresses with its dynamics
and laid-back groove. Audience response is a little muted, despite
Al-Sayed's mental antics, although 'Down in The Mud' fianlly earns
cheers-presumably because its soft-hard approach clicks with Tool fans.
Tool are remarkable in many ways, but not all of these ways are good. It's
all very well being out on a limb and obscure, unless of course you're
boring. And for the majority of this two-hour performance, that's exactly
what Tool are. The LA quartet emerge with singer Maynard Keenan covered in
blue paint, with luminous red dots. Making no concessions for newcomers,
they begin with 'Third Eye', the last track on current album 'Aenima', and
one of its most fish-mad excerpts. Although Tool are NOT A METAL BAND
(important, apparently), they seemingly delight in penning alternative
rock's answer to Iron Maiden's epic 'Rime of The Ancient Mariner'. This
means attention wandering lulls jostle with flashes of frustrating
brilliance. 'Forty Six & 2', for instance, is utterly focussed, mainly
revolving around a single riff. It prickles the spine and ably
demonstrates how easily Tool can connect when they really try. There is a
great moment when Keenan wrestles a stage invader to the ground, then sits
on the hapless lad's back, continuing to sing the song. After what seems
like forever, Keenan just walks away, mumbling something about the 'guy on
the floor'. Tool finish on a high with the LA-trashing 'Aenema', a rare
occasion when it's clear just what they're talking about. This final song
is preceded by an excruciating period when the band crouch down amid
artful lighting and we basically get a drum/bass solo. Time stands still.
'I like the vibe,' protests Wade Howland, an Aussie Tool fan who has
waited five years to see them. 'The grooves they lay down reflect their
emotions...' His gaze returnsto the stage, where Keenan is sneering at the
world. Then he conludes his statement. '..Even if you can't understand
what they're talking about.'

 (I frankly find this review hilarious. It's as if he works for MTV or
something. Evidently someone who likes his music three minutes long and
not in anyway remotely challenging, it makes you wonder how many times he
has actually listened to the album. No wonder Tool rarely come to the U.K)

Posted to t.d.n: 02/22/98 16:04:37