Tool with Psychotica

I got into Tool first because of their resemblance to Primus, but as I heard more of their stuff, I realised what a truly talented band they are. Particularly impressive me to was Danny Carey's drumming, which I think is simply amazing, and it was that spectacular drumming that was the highlight of their show at Capitol Ballroom in Washington, DC.

The best part of the show for me was when they played Sober, one of my favourite songs by Tool, and preceded it with a long drum-solo/instrumental which not only showcased Carey at his best, but also showed how Tool use high and low dynamics in songs to create a unique sound (ala Primus and King Crimson, where soft and heavy passages are interpersed with ease). This also makes for a good mosh pit, but there wasn't a lot of it until the very end even though the show was sold out and the Ballroom was packed.

The band was in fine form. Maynard's vocals were excellent and clear (the mix was too, which helped a great deal in distinguishing the individual instruments and the vocals) and the guitars and drums formed a nice complement to the drumming. Most of the songs they played were from the new album (Ænima), which included Stinkfist, Eulogy, Third Eye, and Ænema. The songs they played from Underdow included the title track, Sober, and Prison Sex. They also played the title track from Opiate.

One of the nicer things about the show was that there were no encores. The band just played start to finish, and took a short break after Opiate before playing the last song. This is a practice I heartily approve since I think the whole encore process is a bit of a sham (if the crowd doesn't leave after the lights come on, that's another issue).

The opening band was Psychotica and this was the second time I was seeing them (at the same location). Their act (Sex Pistols type pop-punk) hadn't changed very much and I grew more familiar with their tunes. I think they are a decent choice for a warm-up band for Tool, even though most of the fans there didn't get into them.

Tool is a great band who put on a great show, and this is definitely one of the year's best concerts. Check them out if you get a chance!

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || || December 3, 1996