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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: X-press Magazine

Date: May, 2002

Transcribed by
maziar (mn@perthmail.com)


  page: 42
 title: Facts and Friction
author: Julian Tompkin

TOOL/The Melvins
Perth Entertainment Centre
Saturday, May 4, 2002.

If you could put a sound to today what would it be? Shakira: 
sure it's catchy but what's so distinct about it that makes it 
exclusive to today? Eminem is an obvious answer, but just 
because he makes it to the top of the charts doesn't mean 
there aren't other people who have been there and done 
what he does. There is one band who recently have 
personally realigned popular music, creating something 
undeniably revolutionary devoid of the corporate world, 
without age old shock tactics and without succumbing to 
popular trends.

Longtime touring buddies with tool, The Melvins obviously 
had one aim and one aim only - to piss people off. For a 
band who has proved that songwriting is one of their talents, 
the set they delivered was dissapointing, little short of noise 
that reveals that of a jackhammer on the annoyance scale. 
Noise art is real, it exists with a purpose - everyone from 
Fugazi to Faust are proof of that - but if it translates nothing, 
not a single message, what's the point? This three piece 
played as loud and frustratingly crass as they could, relying 
on feedback to get people shaking their heads in confusion - 
they may have succeeded in their aim, but if confusing 
people and irritating them with tuneless noise is worthy of the 
title of art then there'd be more people purchasing old diesel 
generators rather than wasting their money on music.

Everything that happened from now on was poised to change 
the life of many. The Entertainment Centre was rightly filled 
to capacity as people screamed to receive Tool to the stage. 
As the members took their places it was obvious this wasn't 
going to be a standard rock show - obviously - as Maynard 
James Keenan took his place at the rear, stage left; he and 
the band barely-illuminated by the dimmest of lights, their 
silhouettes thrust ghostly into the awaiting audience cast by 
three giant screens at the back of the stage. As the screens 
began to flash images of naked bodies, alien like flesh and 
recurring visions of haunting eyeballs, the band launched into 
songs that have alone changed music as we know it. 
Through 'Schism' to 'Lateralus', the music both engaged the 
consciousness and violently throttled all the pre-conceptions 
of what was to come.

Keenan rarely moved from his slightly raised platform, 
leaving his features almost invisible with his back to the 
audience, but his obscure, almost fit like, movements 
conveyed the passion and his brutal voice the magic. The 
band were a tight machine, spread across the stage working 
through the band's uniquely impressive catalogue 
with 'Stinkfist' and 'Forty-Six & 2' (which at more than half a 
decade old still seem futuristic) through to the material from 
the band's 2001 offering, Lateralus.

The most amazing element of the night was seeing the 
stillness of the audience, transfixed on what was going on 
before them, hardly a person engaging in the ago old mosh 
tradition. People, old and young, simply had no choice but to 
watch the band's every move... take in their every sound, as 
the rarity of Tool is that they create music for the mind. 
When the band left the stage for a quick breather, rather 
than leave the crowd begging for more, or play the 
stereotype with an encore, they showed a bizarre video clip 
(Parabola), Tool style, returning to erupt into the poignant 
song once more.

The obvious message from the stage was the importance of 
mind over image, as two bald, androgynous-like, motion 
artists dangled from the roof, totally naked while Tool played 
in almost complete darkness, screaming out their songs of 
Armageddon, death and songs of life. Rarely speaking, apart 
from the odd nervous "thank you", Keenan waited until the 
very end of the show, after the band had come together for 
the firs ttime of the evening to form a ring around the drum 
kit, to simply sate "I hope that we've served as a catalyst for 
healing on some level".

Indeed Tool have done that, opened the minds and hearts of 
a generation, changing people's perception of music forever. 
As the band paid their respects, throwing everything they 
could loot from stage into the audience as thank you, the 
whole venue stood in applause, collectively creating an 
energy unrivaled in this correspondent's knowledge. Welcome 
to a new era.

-JULIAN TOMPKIN

Posted to t.d.n: 05/08/02 22:52:22