w/ Primus, 3Teeth
Bridgestone Arena; Nashville, TN
January 23, 2016
Review by Julian Ciany
In the midst of one of the worst snowstorms that Nashville has ever seen was one of the greatest metal shows that the city will likely ever host. On Saturday, progressive metal legends Tool brought their tour with Primus to a snowy Broadway to play the Bridgestone Arena. Opening up the show were 3TEETH from Los Angeles. We trudged through the slushy mess to get there, and we were not disappointed for our efforts. The show was an amazing spectacle of amplification and heavy hitting rock and roll, and we couldn’t have chosen a better event to leave the comfort of our warm, snowless homes for.
While we didn’t have a photographer, we do have a full review for you below. Hopefully Tool won’t take another ten year break before their next tour, because this was just too good.
After looking at the condition the roads were still in on Saturday morning, and after endless Friday cancellations, I wondered if the show was even still on. A mere six inches had seemed to almost completely shut down the city, but, sure enough, Tool were announced to proceed as planned. I had been looking forward to this show for months and months, and I’ll be damned if I was going to miss it. After a long and hard journey downtown, I finally made it to Broadway as I slid down the ice into Bridgestone Arena.
I walked into the venue just as Los Angeles band 3Teeth were finishing the last few songs of their set. Their mix of a heavy metal attitude with industrial doom was a suitable way to open up the night. The vocals didn’t seem to be the focus of the performance as they were overpowered by the strong presence of the guitars, and it all seemed to formulate into this big heavy drone that shook the walls of Bridgestone. The venue wasn’t packed yet. It was a sold out show, but I wondered if the storm was going to prevent a lot of ticket holders from making it in? 3Teeth sure were a spectacle to start the bill off with, as they’ve found new opportunities and crossed new borders on this tour with Tool. I can only imagine such a feeling.
Next up were Primus, whose Founding member, Les Claypool, is a legend in a variety of musical genres. He has gained notoriety in the jam band world with his appearances at countless festivals, and he has the awe and wonder from metal fans across the world. A Primus show is quite the spectacle to watch, and all three members combine their well documented stage antics with an underlying sense of humor and rhythm. Their performance at Bridgestone was no exception to this standard. The group blasted through some of their biggest hits such as “Too Many Puppies,” “My Name is Mud,” and “Jerry Was A Racecar Driver.” They also handed over a few covers such as “Clown Dream” by Danny Elfman and The Residents’ “Hello Skinny.” The three members proved to be masters of their craft as they created the dark funk sound they are so well known for.
At every Primus show that I have been to, Les Claypool ends up stopping at some point to address to the audience. Sometimes he is mad because people are throwing bottles or no one is as involved in the experience as they should be, but this time, it was to talk about how lucky he feels to be doing what he’s doing. “I look at all of you and I think about how this is my job. And that’s pretty fucking cool,” he proclaimed to the audience after “Mr. Krinkle,” setting a positive tone for the rest of the night. Maybe it was darker metal music that we were witnessing, but that’s absolutely no reason to not have a blast and smile.
After a long and eventful evening, it was finally time for Tool to come on stage, as the event crew set up a massive backdrop complete with amplifiers and screens galore. When the lights went down, the opening notes to the band’s long lost cover of “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin started, prompting everyone in the finally-packed arena to go crazy. When the vocals started, everyone was trying to spot out lead singer Maynard James Keenan, a frontman with a reputation of never standing in the spotlight. Eventually, it was possible to spot out his silhouette, right by drummer Danny Carey. Adam Jones pulled out all the necessary tricks on guitar, backed by a powerful rhythm section consisting of Carey and bassist Justin Chancellor. Tool’s performance was one of a kind, complete with some of the most stunning visuals I have ever seen. They played through some of their most beloved numbers such as “Enema” and “Schism,” all the while the songs’ accompanying, visually intense music videos on the screens behind them. They also brought out some of the best tracks from their most “recent” (released in ’06) record 10,000 Days, such as “Jambi” and “Forty Six & 2.”
After “Forty Six & 2,” Tool left the stage as a teleprompter that read “Intermission” and a 15 minute countdown started. This was a clear indicator that the band had a lengthy encore ready for us. Drummer Danny Carey was the first to come back, as he tore through a ridiculously intense drum solo. I am not always a fan of flashy drummers, but Carey has such strength to support his licks that it makes sense for the music. One of the best drummers around today, his solo was a great example of why. The band then went into the rest of the encore that ended with “Stinkfist,” a song I am sure everyone in the crowd was waiting for. I left the show absolutely amazed at what I had just experienced. I can only hope that I get another opportunity to see Tool again soon, and would encourage all of you not to snooze to see them, if ever given the chance.