The brisk January air bit at the anxious fans as they awaited patiently for the doors of the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo to open up. Temperatures were right around freezing, yet hundreds lined up to see headliners Tool and Primus perform live. Openers for this show were the groundbreaking industrial rock band 3TEETH.
Upon entering the venue, hundreds of fans were lined up to purchase some of the darkest Tool merchandise we have seen since the bands early years. A variety of Tool posters, tee-shirts and other items were up for sale. Each of the rare posters were specifically numbered and some concert goers could purchase signed editions of the posters. Select items of Primus’s merchandise showcased the infamous Mr. Krinkle.
3TEETH, an industrial rock band from Los Angles, CA demonstrated their trailblazing sound as the opening band. With a 90’s industrial metal sound that is mixed with EBM 3TEETH pumped up the crowd. They riveted most from their seats, with their hits “SLAVEGOD” and “NIHIL”.
Opening act 3TEETH was hand picked for this tour by none other than Tool’s guitar master, Adam Jones. Vocalist for 3TEETH Alex Mincolla met Jones at a mutual friends wedding. The two connected well over a mutual interest in videos games. The two played online games together for months after the wedding. By chance Jones happened to discover a 3TEETH video floating around on the internet. Impressed by what he had seen in the video, Jones contacted Mincolla for an incredible opportunity to open for this tour.
The legendary band called Primus was next to take the stage at the sold out show. Footage of soldiers marching and scenes of wartime played on the screen as they performed their first few tracks. Primus started their set with “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers”, “Too Many Puppies” and “Southbound Pachyderm”.
On the screen behind the band, images that were displayed flashed rhythmically with the music. The stratospheric Les Claypool resonated a exhilarating sound of the bass guitar through strategic snapping and popping techniques. Claypool built up the crowds anticipation by saying.
” We are going to play and obscure number here, because you know we do play KC every now and again, right. I want people to go, ‘Oh they play the same old shit again.’ So, we are going to play a very obscure number for ya. Not many people know it. It’s called “My Name is Mud”.”
Primus masterfully nailed the entire set last night. Special guest Mr. Krinkel (Claypool in a pig mask playing an electric cello) appeared from the shadows to give fans a unexpected show. Relentless drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander never missed a funky beat in the set. Along side “Herb” was guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde laying every song out with finely calibrated guitar riffs.
Soon after Primus, it was time for the unpredictable Tool to take the stage. The band opened with a cover song, “No Quarter” made famous by the timeless band Led Zeppelin. This well done rendition transcends the songs original boundaries, transforming it into a hard rock masterpiece.
Heading into the set list, Tool took us back to their early years. Ever reminding hardcore fans of the the bands strikingly old school radical and raw roots. This original raw Tool sound continued throughout the duration of the set. From hearing this trademark sounds influence in their performance, one can only hope to hear this style play a part in the highly anticipated upcoming album.
From the album Lateralus we heard “Parabol” feed directly into the hit “Parabola” without a pause. As the show progressed we witnessed more laser lights and visual effect. The progression highlighted how the band evolved from hard raw metal to the mathematically written music we have seen in more recent albums.
The performance of the song “Schism” displayed how the band was bringing back that original raw sound. Bassist Justin Chancellor began the song in a lower octave with a slightly distorted sound. The song was richly textured by this subtle change up. “Schism” is a percussion-soaked song that high-lighted drummer Danny Carey’s versatility and talent. When Carey kicks his playing into hyper sonic speed during the song’s the breakdown, it can only be described as a work of an instrumental genius. Front man Maynard James Keenan sported an ensemble similar to that of a tactical S.W.A.T.team member. Hidden in the shadows, Keenan allowed for the spot light to remain on the remaining band members.
On this tour we received a morsel of new material with a song called “Descending”. This song is rumored to be a strictly instrumental piece. However, last night coming from the shadows one could faintly hear Keenan hum along in parts of the song. By matching his vocals up with the instruments he remained camouflaged in the music. Playfully teasing fans with just a snippet of an enigmatic song, fans are ever more curious about what to expect in the near distant future.
After a brief intermission and phenomenal drum solo from Carey, we heard a song that had not been played live in nearly 18 years. A long forgotten live gem from the 1990’s album Opiate, we hear “Sweat” in its entirety. The show soon ended with a spectacular live version of “Stinkfist”. Tool left nothing out of this final song. The arena was illuminated with lasers, fog and intense visuals on the screens. Ending with an intoxicating bang, sums up what fans are expecting to receive with the drop of the next album. Keenan also left fans with a brief message of hope, see you soon.
Based on the anticipation build up witnessed from Tool at this show, it is safe to say fans are in for a real delight. The anticipation of a possible new album has been building for years. Tool highlighted their complex dynamics, evolution and progression that has made the one of a kind sound you hear today. It is only speculation that this tour may be a practice session and an exciting preview of what is to come next from this mesmerizing band know as Tool.