All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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With its glass walls, classic architecture and limited space, the Church of Scientology's Garden Pavilion was hardly the place for the blasting riffs, slam pits and combat boots that accompanied Tool's performance Friday night.
Although neither band nor audience seemed to mind the inappropriateness of the Hollywood venue, the heavy security present still hinted that the Church of Scientology may have been unnerved by the thought of 300 screaming fans talking over its beautiful West Hollywood building.
Composed of Maynard James Keenan on vocals, Adam Jones on guitar, Paul D'Amour on bass and Danny Carey on drums, Tool's appearance alone was enough to complement the audience's heavy meta/punk rock attitude.
The band followed a performance by Love Jones, and barely had the rust note been struck on Jones' guitar when a fury of shirtless bodies began running in circles and flinging their arms in the center of the room, pushing anyone nearby out of the way. Before the first song was even finished, a fight had to be broken up.
In an interview earlier in the day, Keenan noted, "Each concert is like stepping into a closet and screaming your head off to feel better about life." This was certainly the case Friday night.
This concept is just a part of what the band has derived from Ronald P. Vincent's 1949 book, "A Joyful Guide To Lachrymology." The step-by-step guide to pain has been the band's greatest influence.
As Keenan described lachrymology (literally, "the study of crying") and the acceptance of rage in his life, I found his attitude to be somewhat pessimistic, though he prefers to describe it as realistic. He says Los Angeles audiences are jaded and judgmental, and they expect more than a band can usually give.
"They will turn on you quickly, and eventually I know that all of Los Angeles will hate us," Keenan concluded. "I just hope that we can continue to deliver to the audience, because when we can't deliver anymore, we won't deserve all of the attention."
Ironically, this cynical attitude seems to draw Tool audiences even closer. And although the band delivered only one hour of music Friday night, the fans still acted as if their $12.50 was well spent.
For a performance with such a small audience, the band lacked intimacy and involvement with the crowd, much of the time ignoring the comments fans shouted to them. At times, the audience members in the slam pit (as well as those getting passed overhead) proved more interesting than the actual performance. But it was obvious that all other attention was focused on the band, especially when they brought out the 300-pound woman featured on the inner cover of "Undertow," the band's latest CD release (on Zoo Entertainment).
The stage antics of lead singer Keenan, who looked possessed, if not by the music then by some unseen force, were enough to keep the crowd entranced. Displaying a thin mohawk and tattoo down the back of his spinal cord, coupled with a stare that could freeze water, Keenan seemed to live up to what he had earlier described as "someone who doesn't take any bullshit."
Despite our having different definitions about Keenan's attitude, there is one thing that we both agree on: "Undertow" is pretty damn good. This being their second release, the band has already gained a strong following and will appear in this summer's Lollapalooza tour.
For fans who want to catch them before that, they will also perform May 7 at the Hollywood Palladium with Living Color and Bad Brains, before taking off for a European tour.
[Picture / Caption: Tool (left to right, Paul D'Amour, Danny Carey, Maynard Keenan, Adam Jones) slammed and jammed at a Hollywood church Friday.]