At the start of Tool’s explosive show in Pomona the first chance for the L.A. hard-rock band to play material from its recent No. 2-selling “Aenima” (Zoo) album singer Maynard Keenan warned the sold-out crowd not to expect more than a sloppy performance from the apparently rusty band.
But what the rowdy faithful got was a tight, powerful and dynamic show that was as close to the true spirit of rock ‘n’ roll music as any so-called alternative band currently treading the boards.
Keenan, as always the focal point, revealed in eight-minute songs his furious take on modern life.
Often the songs began slowly and softly, building through the singer’s controlled pressure-release approach to singing and screaming.
Such incendiary new songs as “Aenema,” which foretells California’s deserved submersion into the Pacific, and “Eulogy,” perhaps the most realized of the band’s new material, revealed a band whose potential was only hinted at on their 1993 breakthrough “Undertow.” In fact, the eight new songs in the set were steps above the four older tracks, both in songwriting depth and brazen execution, though such catalog tunes as “Sober” and “Prison Sex” still hold considerable sway over the band’s followers.
Guitarist Adam Jones still relies on ’70s hard-rock riffs for much of his playing, turning strains of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Rush into charged, biting chords.
The group’s rhythm section, featuring new bassist Justin Chancellor, propelled the group’s post-metal stylings with a twisted, near-jazz approach.