Image by: Ginny C
Concert Reviews

Concert Review: Tool Mesmerise Auckland

Roger Bowie

Author and Punisher open the show. One-man band. Builds his own sound machines. Noise. A little too industrial for me.

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Author and Punisher

But now for the show…….

Is Tool a band or a movement? Machine guns, tracers, rolling thunder provide the backdrop for a sight and sound extravaganza as the reclusive rock group perform songs from the latest album Fear Inoculum as well as samplings from earlier offerings. Samplings that are typically 10 minutes long.

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I don’t know the songs, it doesn’t matter, and the symbol is not a Star of David, but a heptagram which links the occult to positive energy and openness. It seems it’s not about the songs, but about a barrage of sound which surrounds and visuals which assault and mesmerize. Lots of volcanic power, fire, apocalyptic images at scale and nano, cell-like structures which morph and transform and play with the mind. There’s a lot of technology in use tonight, aiming to deliver equal sound and vision to all areas of the arena. No-one misses out. 

The band are secondary, almost superfluous, with Maynard James Keenan back left, and often just a silhouette of mohawk madness. Is he the Dark Knight, or the devil, is he a clown, or Dionysus drinking his wine? All of the above. Drummer Dan Carey hidden behind his kit, sometimes emerging in his track gear to caress the gong, and Adam Jones stage left, duelling with Justin Chancellor stage right. Like ancient gods. Yes, they are there, but sometimes you just don’t notice. Too much else going on. The visuals are the stars of this show. And when the curtain comes down, a mesh of shimmer and light, you really can’t notice them.

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The thinking person’s metal band, is how they have been described, highs and lows, fast and slows, a tangle of contradictions. But there’s one thing for sure, it’s relentless and visceral, it penetrates the soul, and the scariest thing of all is that it feels good. Submit.

Now I know what it must have been like to have been at a Led Zeppelin concert forty years ago. Sheer power.

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It must be a movement, it’s more than just music. I hope Donald Trump isn’t a fan……

We get a well-timed break before the encores, with everyone kept honest by the stopwatch. No-one misses out, and Stinkfist closes the show, and there he is, the thing itself, right there back of stage.

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There are no more words. Stupefaction. Just the images. Maybe it’s not a movement. Maybe it’s just a tool.

Fantastic night.

Check out Ginny’s great shots.

1. Fear Inoculum 
2. Aenema
3. 7empest
4. Pneuma
5. Schism
6. Jambi
7. Parabol
8. Parabola
9. Forty Six & 2

10. Chocolate Chip Trip
11. Invincible
12. (-) Ions
13. Stinkfist

Radio 13 thanks and credits Ginny C for all the images featured in this article. 

Written By: Roger Bowie Roger Bowie has been collecting music since 1964, starting with 45 rpm singles, and then building an LP and CD collection from 1970. 1.8 per week since then. Not a vast collection, but eclectic and occasionally obscure. Roger is a big Americana fan, and regularly attends AmericanaFest in Nashville, held every September. Also, he once played golf with Alice Cooper...