Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Live review: Tool, Bojangles Coliseum (1/26/2016)

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 12:53 PM

Tool w/ Primus, 3Teeth
Bojangles Coliseum
Jan. 26, 2016
click to enlarge Tool singer Maynard James Keenan
  • Tool singer Maynard James Keenan

He may have been lurking in the shadows wearing a full suit of body armor for the duration of Tool's nearly two-hour set on Tuesday night at Bojangles Coliseum, but singer Maynard James Keenan seemed to be a in good mood for much of the night. He sure was chatty. 

It started after the band kicked off its set with a cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter." Keenan unenthusiastically led a quick chant of "Let's go..." with the crowd giving back roars of "Panthers!" before telling the crowd, "I'm going to forgive you for the way you treated my home state of Arizona the other day" in reference to the Carolina Panthers' thumping of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game two days earlier. 

From there, the band launched into "The Grudge" as the setlist then veered into songs new and old. They dusted off "Opiate" from the 1992 EP of the same name and played "Descending" which is a newer instrumental fans hope will be featured on a new album.

"Opiate" got a bit of an update as the band extended the middle section for a lengthy instrumental, during which Keenan simply said, "I smell marijuana... That's illegal." 
click to enlarge Tool drummer Danny Carey
  • Tool drummer Danny Carey

The band crushed "Forty-Six & 2" before red words behind the stage lit up reading "Intermission" with a 12-minute countdown ticking underneath. That led to a seven-minute solo by drummer Danny Carey, followed by "Vicarious" and a quick rant from Keenan about a recent Instagram post he feels was misunderstood. 

Keenan talked about Medal of Honor recipient Robert Miller and how "Vicarious" was his favorite song. A photo recently posted by the band depicting an assault rifle with lyrics from the song written on it in memory of Miller was not meant as an endorsement of the military, per se, but his rant was not meant as an apology "at fucking all," either. Keenan just said that some people misunderstand when they look for higher meaning in Tool's lyrics. He then offered "Stinkfist" as a closing remark as the band closed the night. 

click to enlarge Tool guitarist Adam Jones
  • Tool guitarist Adam Jones
The band sounded better than the last time they were in Charlotte — Keenan offered subtle tweaks in some of his vocal presentations that gave the songs new life simply through a change in tone. Guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor were both spot-on in their instrumentation throughout the night.

Though I have been harsh on the band in the past for not mixing up the setlist enough, I approached this show at face value and left feeling I had witnessed one of the best Tool shows I had seen in years. It's not like the band's technically proficient riffs and time changes are something you can sleepwalk through — and Tool never disappoints or sounds "off" when they perform as if they're simply going through the motions. The band always sounds locked-in and this night was no different. 
click to enlarge 3Teeth
  • 3Teeth
The night got started with a short set by L.A. industrial band 3Teeth. Sounding like a mixture of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry — with far too little lyrical content — the band cruised through song after song with layers of samples and chugging guitar chords.

click to enlarge Primus
  • Primus

Primus followed with a set that was heavy on the hits and older material. The band cranked out a stellar "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweakers" before hitting fan favorites including "Too Many Puppies," "My Name Is Mud" and "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." Bassist/singer Les Claypool wasn't one for banter, however, and mainly stuck to the task at hand as the band stretched out in its extended jams. 

click to enlarge Tool bassist Justin Chancellor
  • Tool bassist Justin Chancellor

Tool setlist
No Quarter
The Grudge
Forty-Six & 2
Drum Solo

Primus setlist
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
Last Salmon Man
Too Many Puppies>
Mr Know It All>
Too Many Puppies
Southbound Pachyderm
Mr. Krinkle
My Name Is Mud
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver

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