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Tool likes Hamilton and Hamilton is pretty fond of Tool

Jessica Mcdiarmid

The Hamilton Spectator

(Jun 25, 2007)

A long black snake of Tool heads wound through downtown Hamilton last night, chains clinking and cigarettes blazing, lining up for the first of the California quartet's shows at Copps Coliseum.

The air was thick with the smell of marijuana; beside the line of mostly 20-somethings, a garbage can smoked.

Last night's show was added after tickets for the July 9 concert sold out in 45 minutes --a record for Copps.

The last time I remember listening to Tool, I was hiding behind my parent's house smoking cigarettes with my big brother and trying to hide the smell from my mom by gargling intoxicating amounts of Listerine.

That was a while ago, back when Aenima was the band's latest album and it was still cool to wear Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics T-shirts.

A whole lot has happened since then. But some things don't change much. In those eight or so years, Tool has only cranked out two albums -- 10,000 Days, the latest that they're touring was five years in the making.

And while the band's sound might be "progressive rock" to the refined ear, as it is so often labelled, the new album sounded pretty much the same to me: noise, heavy, muffled guitars, front man Maynard James Keenan's heavy, muffled chanting and thunky drums holding the noise together.

Seeing Tool live was not on the top of the list of things I wanted to do on the weekend. I don't like noise much anymore. I made my way grumpily to my seat, dodging people in black leather who were headbanging before the lights were even dimmed, wishing I'd followed the advice of a friend who has reviewed many a concert: bring earplugs.

Tool came on stage in its signature formation: bassist Justin Chancellor and guitarist Adam Jones at opposite ends of the stage in the front, singer Maynard James Keenan on the drummer's platform with Danny Carey.

Apparently, Keenan likes to perform back there, with his back to the audience, because the songs are a personal journey for him and he feels more comfortable "in the shadows."

After 15 years with this band, he hasn't journeyed very far, I was thinking.

But then the concert began.

Tool isn't so much a concert as it is an experience.

The music is so loud that the thousands present will surely suffer permanent damage. Psychedelic art writhes and twists on six enormous screens behind the stage, while backlighting casts eerie shadows of the musicians on the audience, which passes around cigarettes that smell mighty suspicious.

Keenan took a short break after the first song to say good evening and tell the audience Hamilton was one of his favourite places to play.

That brought the few people still sitting in the bleachers to their feet, and into the second song, the screaming was nearly as loud as the music, as people danced in the bleachers, shook their fists to the music, poured beer down the backs of people in front of them.

Tool on an album isn't anything that special. The live show is overwhelming, loud, intense -- and quite brilliant. And if Tool likes Hamilton, it's apparent that Hamilton is pretty fond of Tool.

jmcdiarmid@thespec.com

Seeing Tool was not on the top of the list of things I wanted to do this weekend.

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What a lame, half-assed review. I was at the show too, on the floor. Thank god for earplugs! The light show quite literally blew my mind...and I work for a production company where the lighting department is twice as big as the audio department, and I've seen all the fancy new lighting things. Or so I thought.

Anyway this show was all about Danny Carey for me, it was a treat to see him play. It was super heavy and rather tripped-out, and I was very nearly crushed a couple times by a massive moshpit that opened up in front of me, but it was all in good fun.

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I have to say toola re one of my favorite bands, but that review pretty much summed up the last time Isaw them play, which was on the aenima tour. Its sounds exactly the same. Exactly. I was not super impressed with there live show then. I mean they played it perfect, but there was no live show. I could have been listening to the album.

They are still one of my favs though.

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