TOOLfist Review [4/25/2009 – Frank’s Country Roadhouse – Syracuse, NY]
I suppose I’ll start off by saying that TOOL is not a band for the casual listener. The casual listener might listen to TOOL if they like songs that “rock.” And I’d have to say that, in fact yes, TOOL does rock. But, there’s more to TOOL than just rocking out. A lot more.
TOOL has a certain depth of artistry to their music that is a rarity in any genre. Lyrically, musically and artistically, TOOL is a force to be reckoned with. Every aspect of what they do is well-rounded and artistically crafted – each song is likened to a living, organic being that grows and develops as it progresses.
With that being said, it’s probably apparent that I’m somewhat of a connoisseur of TOOL’s music. You’d be correct in that assumption. And it’s from this perspective that I’m writing this review of TOOLfist’s performance the other night at Frank’s Country Roadhouse, in East Syracuse, NY.
TOOLFIST approaches the music of TOOL in the true spirit of a "tribute" (click to see Wikipedia definition). We are relentless in our study of the TOOL music and constantly seek to raise our own bar. In our estimation, anything short of that mantra is a disservice to TOOL, the fans of TOOL, and the venues where we play TOOL music. In addition to doing justice to the music, we seek to continue this homage by creating a multimedia, special effect, and light show that is in the vein of the TOOL experience. The music of TOOL after all isn’t something you just listen to, it’s something you experience, share, expands (I could go on!!)…
That’s what’s found on the TOOLfist “About” page. And it’s accurate. TOOLfist played an excellent show. I was impressed. True to the original in almost every aspect.
First, I want to point out how phenomenal Gregg, the drummer, was. His skills on the drums were simply uncanny. He more than did justice to Danny Carey’s work. From the complicated, polyrhythmic beats of Jambi and The Pot, to the hammering 5/4 time of Vicarious, to the classics of TOOL’s songs like Bottom and Sober, Gregg’s performance on the drums captured the very essence of what TOOL’s music is all about.
We come, next, to Jim who plays bass. Great stuff. TOOL is all about harmony and the blending of each band member’s instrument in the forming of an organic piece of living music, and Jim provides the perfect compliment to Gregg’s drums and Bill’s guitar. From songs like The Pot, to The Grudge, to Schism, Jim provides the hard-hitting, and other times harmonious, bass-lines that make TOOL’s music what it is.
Then there’s Bill on the guitar. Adam Jones would be proud. True to TOOL’s style of, as I said, organic and almost living music, Bill’s guitar playing plumbs the depths of the inner shadow in Stinkfist, mystifies with Jambi, and cuts deep with that certain schadenfreude of Vicarious. An excellent guitarist, to say the least.
And, finally, we come to Jose on vocals. The first thing you’ll notice about Jose is that he is, in almost every aspect, Maynard. From the way he carries himself on stage, to his mannerisms, to his clothing, he is true to TOOL’s front-man in every aspect. While the voice is the most difficult instrument to replicate, Jose does an amazing job. From the guttural screams of Opiate and Eulogy, to the harmonious musings of Jambi and Schism, Jose strikes an uncanny resemblance to Maynard.
To conclude, I’ll just say that, again, TOOLfist put on an excellent show. The amount of music they played that night was incredible. Three hours of TOOL? That, in itself, is a feat of immense proportions.
I was able to obtain a set list from Jose at the end of the night. Here’s exactly what they played that night…
- Timothy Leary
- “Maynard’s Dead”
- The Grudge
- (-) Ions / Jambi
- 4 Degrees / Intolerance
- Forty Six & 2
- Message To Harry Manback
- The Pot
- No Quarter
- Prison Sex
Just an outstanding set list of phenomenal TOOL songs.
So, to finish off this entry, if TOOLfist is playing at a venue near you, and you’re a fan of TOOL’s music, it’s a necessity that you see them perform. While they aren’t TOOL, they are absolutely worth going to see.
And, finally, read a book. It’s good for you.