the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Kerrang!

Date: May, 2002

Transcribed by
Kris Clayton (

  page: 42
 title: Black Magic-Tool cast their unigue spell on London
author: Dave Everly

Outside, the heavens have opened. Brixton High Street-Not 
the most welcoming stretch of road at the best of times- is 
currently being doused by the sort of downpour that could, 
with very little effort, stray into the realms of the Biblical. Few 
people are hanging about on the street outside the acadamy 
this evening; it's straight out of the pub and into the venue. 
Only the touts-£30 a ticket to you,pal - seem impervious to 
the deluge.
   Inside the Acadamy, it’s equally murky. But this is a 
different kind of murk entirely. Tonight, Tool- the most 
obligue perplexing, mysterious, intillegent band on the 
planet – are playing the second of two consecutive shows. 
They will perform for almost two hours; for most of that time, 
they’ll be dim and indistinguishable, shrouded in low level 
lighting. But this isn’t the ominous darkness of the gunmetal 
skys outside. This is he overwhelming shadow of enigma.
   Tool, more than any of their peers, inspire the sort of 
reverence you don’t normally find in modern rock’s 
disposable culture. Close to 9000 people will witness these 
two shows; they’ll buy Tool beanies at £16 each, or work 
shirts at £45 each (who says art doesn’t cost); they’ll cheer 
when the drum kit is revealled, let alone when the band 
finally appear; they’ll stand through two hours of dense, 
turbulent, occasionaly impenetrable music that sits so far 
apart from the mainstream that it should have its own postal 
   All this idolatry would be cloying if it weren’t for the simple 
fact that it’s so deserved. Tool, as has been pointed out 
innumerable times times before, are unigue. It’s in their 
refusla to bow to convention, the way they simply don’t give a 
shit about anything but Tool. It’s in the fact that they’re 
musicians, rather than simply ‘musos’. It’s in the way an 
increasingly strange mythology (wigs, in-jokes, drum kits set 
up in occult patterns) has built up around them. And people 
love them for it.
   Brixton Acadamy, full to capacity, certainly does. Look out 
over it’s sloping floor and the first thing you notice is just how 
many Tool t-shirts there are. The second thing you’ll notice is 
just how many Korn, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach t-shirts 
there aren’t. This is Tools crowd, wholly and entirely. Chances 
are, the majority of the people here tonight will have 
experienced all of this before. They’ll have seen the giant 
screensthat flash with hallucinogenic patterns, headfuck 
visuals and those striking promo clips. They’ll have seen the 
way guitarist Adam Jones (tall, rake thin, lost in his music) 
and bassist Justin Chancellor (almost as tall, sharp suit, 
shoulder legnth hair) hold court at the front of the stage, 
leaving Maynard James Keenan to his podium (and his own 
personal screen) behind them. They’ll know exactly when the 
brooding ‘Stinkfist’ explodes in a shower of noise, or when 
the band will leave the stage to let the video for ‘Parabola’ 
run on the screens.
   Ironically for a band who have spent the past decade 
distorting what can be done within the age-old boundaries of 
rock ‘n’ roll, Tool aren’t in the buisnessof confounding 
expectations, at least not up onstage. There are no surprises 
here, no hidden tricks, nothing approaching spontaneity, 
basically. The Tool live experience is so deadly serious, it’s 
almost funny. Almost. But that doesn’t matter, tonight or any 
other night. Tool in full flight is a glorious spectacle to 
behold, even if that spectacle isn’t always easy to make out 
in the half-light. Few people look as cool in silhouette as 
Maynard James Keenan. Sometimes he’ll be hunced over, 
simian-style, like the middlestage of an evolutionary 
diagram. Other times, he’ll hop from foot to foot, then lean 
back, a marionette trying to break free of its strings. 
Occasionaly and most startalingly of all, he’ll strap on a 
guitar and join in the synchronized chaos as he does during 
the tribal thump of instrumental opener ‘Triad’.
   The setlist hasn’t changed much scince they last visited 
these shores: that means an awful lot of ‘Lateralus’ 
(highlights: ‘Parabola’, a masterful ‘Schism’, ‘The Grudge’), 
peppered with a handful of nods to their more distant past 
(‘Stinkfist’ and ‘h’ from ‘Aenima’; ‘Sober’ from ‘Undertow’, 
sounding positivly skeletal in comparison). They’re all 
delivered with and odd emotional detatchment; theres on 
direct conversation between the band and the audience 
(indeed, for the first 60 minutes, Keenan’s only words to the 
audience are the monotone “Good Evening”). Tool, like the 
old adage says, are letting their music do the talking.
   The bid us farewell with ‘Lateralis’itself, a marathon of a 
song that begins with a noise that sounds like blood rushing 
through your ears and ends with that same blood rushing out 
of your ears. After it reaches its glorious conclusion, the band 
gather together at the front of the stage and- yes, even 
Maynard- begin hurling bottles of water into the crowd. Tool, 
for the first tie tonight, actually look human. The lights have 
come up, the reverance has been rewarded.
   And outside, its stopped raining.
Rating KKKKK (Classic)

Posted to t.d.n: 05/22/02 16:13:57