Current | Choice
Tool with Isis
Tue, Sep 12
1 AT&T Center
Admiring a band’s commitment to its vision is one thing, but deriving enjoyment from that commitment is another. And that’s where Tool’s music inevitably falls short. For all the dexterity of its musicianship, the band’s songs generally meander forlornly, and singer Maynard James Keenan, much like Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor, seems bent on celebrating psycho-sexual ugliness for the sheer misanthropic rush it provides him.
Keenan took an unconventional path to rock stardom, spending three years in the U.S. Army before studying art at the Kendall School of Design in Michigan, and finally stumbling into a series of Los Angeles bands. With Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello serving as musical matchmaker, Keenan hooked up with guitarist Adam Jones (an old schoolmate of Morello’s) drummer Danny Carey, and original bassist Paul D’Amour (eventually replaced by Justin Chancellor).
Keenan’s strange, wildly possessed performance style is the band’s chief attraction, but even he’s overshadowed by the array of video projections that tower above the group at Tool shows. This band has always been about sensory saturation, and it’s more than willing to remain faceless while bombarding your nervous system.