“This doesn’t sound like Saint Louis!” exclaimed Tool front man Maynard J Keenan twelve minutes after his band took the stage at Chaifetz Arena on Friday night. The crowd responded in kind, pressing Keenan to respond “THAT sounds like Saint Louis!”
In town for a much anticipated sold out show on the campus of Saint Louis University the band is not touring in support of an album. Their last album 10,000 Days was released way back in 2006, but they have embarked on a month long major tour with fellow Prog-rockers Primus and Industrial metal newbies 3Teeth in tow.
With songs that were constantly extended beyond their album versions, as per usual, the band (Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, bassist Justin Chancellor and drummer Danny Carey) brought a much needed fix to a hungry fan base in The Lou. Their last appearance here was at the Family Arena in 2010.
When you have played three shows in a city since your last album was released and one of them was a gap of five years, fans tend to get a bit antsy. But Tool has tried to give a fix. Not that they provided much in the way of new music that they have allegedly been working on, but they did provide a snippet in an instrumental called “Descending”.
While “Descending” clocked in at just over 4 minutes in length, for fans it was something they could delve into and ponder what gloriousness may await them In a new Tool record in the, hopefully, near future. But that is for another discussion. Some fans, however, may wonder if the band is waiting 10,000 Days between albums, not likely.
Even though the band doesn’t tour year round, playing a sporadic gathering of shows each year, their performance on Friday sounded like they had been on tour for most of the year. In sync and sounding rich with depth the show went off without a hitch.
It’s not like the band stormed onstage, that isn’t their mantra, but casually walked to their positions and started slowly with a splendid cover of the trippy Led Zeppelin classic “No Quarter”. With a Dark thematic undertow Tool’s show was laced with macabre imagery that turned to surrealistic images mixed with psychedelia in abundance behind them on several large video screens.
Fans ate up everything and were transfixed from the in depth wavelengths that assaulted their oratory and visual senses from beginning to end.
The elusive Keenan was dressed to the Nines in a full riot gear stayed in the shadows occupying a 10 square foot area next to the drummer, but that is nothing new.
There were many highlights during the night, one of which included “Sweat” a song that they had been going back and forth with “Vicarious” but had been played for the last three shows in a row now, to the approval of many fans.
The crowd was a sea of swaying, head bobbing euphoria throughout the show, from the familiar bass lines to open “Schism” to the closing guitar notes of “Stinkfist”. The held onto every note and lyric, searing it into their consciousness. And who could blame them. Something has to get them through a cold Saint Louis winter.
As a support act Primus played a short set that was under an hour in length, but they made every moment count. With a setlist that bordered on ultra-progressive the band (bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool, drummer Tim Alexander and guitarist Larry LaLonde) cut through a brilliant set that can be called wonderfully weird.
Either you get Primus and you love them or you don’t and you, well, don’t. For fans of Primus Friday night was stellar, from First song to last.
Les Claypool didn’t talk much, saving the valuable time for the music. But he did say one thing: He asked, after mentioning being stared at, if the fans were afraid. Then said they should be in anticipation of Tool hitting the stage after them.
The only complaint was one Primus couldn’t really avoid due to the shortened set list: They were missing classics like “Mr. Krinkle” and “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver”, among others. But just seeing their stellar set complimenting perfectly a superb Tool show was enough for most fans.
Industrial metal newcomers 3Teeth brought a solid metal set that had heavy influences from Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein written all over it. Lead singer Alexis Mincolla was electric, energized and strong on vocals as well as fun to photograph.
Tool and Primus were very interesting to shoot as well. From Primus’ impressive lighting setup, to Tool’s full gamut of great light (Carey) to intense shadow (Keenan) my Nikon D800 was certainly put through a full spectrum workout Friday, one that I would be happy to do every night, if I could.
No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover)
Forty-Six & 2
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
Here Come the Bastards
Jilly’s on Smack
My Name is Mud
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver