Toolfest Takes Over Southern California

June 24, 2017
Glen Helen Amphitheater – San Bernardino, CA

If you’re familiar with rock and metal music, then you are familiar with Tool. They are one of the biggest bands in the world even though for several years now they haven maintaining a low profile. Tool have been announcing small tours with cities on the west coast here and there, but have yet to announce a full tour. Tool announced their only Southern California show and brought a few friends along. For this special show, Tool brought with them other big acts which were: Primus, ClutchFantômas, Melvins, and The Crystal Method playing DJ sets in between bands. With a lineup like this, it was set to be a night to never forget. Even when tickets went on sale, the venue quickly sold most of the seats within minutes which left a lot of fans with only lawn seats available. Regardless, fans came out to have a good time and the venue was quickly packed not too long after doors opened.

Melvins were the first band to start the show and made for a decent opener. The first song played was their Flipper cover of Sacrifice. Melvins didn’t play their fast songs and stuck to their more mellow experimental rock and doom metal music. Their 40-minute set included: Oven, Anaconda, and Euthanasia. Melvins played their songs and left the stage with plenty of more music to come as the venue was only getting more packed by the minute.

toolsc-30Fantômas is a metal supergroup consisting of singer Mike Patton (Faith No More), guitarist Buzz Osbourne (Melvins), and bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle). Drummer Dave Lombardo formerly of thrash metal legends Slayer is normally the drummer for Fantômas, but was unable to attend due to touring with hardcore punk legends, Suicidal Tendencies. This would be their first USA show in nine years and played this special show for the fans. The band’s material consists of covers done in an unusual style of avant-garde metal/grindcore. Fantômas came out and started the show with their instrumental cover of the love theme from The Godfather film, The Godfather. The band’s unusual sound comes from how the band starts with a classic metal sound with fast music, then slows down to a more ballad sound. Patton’s vocals add to the music as he uses his voice as an instrument with high pitch screams rather than actual lyrics. Other songs played included: Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen (Ave Satani), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Charade. This performance by Fantômas was truly a special treat and hopefully both a new album and full tour is on the horizon.

Clutch is a rock band from Maryland and have released eleven albums. They made for a great addition for this show since a lot of Tool fans grew up listening to this band from the same time period in the 90’s. Clutch came out and started the show with Crucial Velocity. Clutch has an energetic and fun vibe while performing live. The most energetic member is vocalist Neil Fallon as he would walk around on stage and do motions with his arms and hands as well as make faces matching the motion of the music. Clutch kept their rock presence going as they played songs from their catalog which included: Firebirds!, Earth Rocker, and X-Ray Visions. Clutch was a great addition for the lineup and had fans rocking out and throwing their horns up in the air.

Primus is perhaps one of the top ten most strangest bands ever. The band is led by bassist/vocalist Les Claypool who is renowned as one of the best bassists in the world. Primus‘ music style can best be described as thrash-funk meets Don Knotts Jr as well as funk metal and alternative metal. Primus is also known to be the band that wrote and played the theme song for the TV show, South Park. Primus came out and started the show with Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers as Claypool sang with his signature clean vocals and bass-slapping method. With Primus‘ caricature music, people were seen dancing and rocking out. Primus brought the funk-metal as they played their hits Frizzle Fry, Mr. Krinkle, and Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver. Claypol brought out a variety of bass guitars showing his musicianship with the instrument and was very comical with the audience. The final 2 songs were the band’s most popular songs My Name Is Mud and Jerry Was A Race Car Driver and then left the stage for the band that everyone had been waiting for all day in the hot blazing sun.

toolsc-97Tool is undoubtedly one of the biggest bands as they sell out venues around the world and headline music festivals. One of the things that has been haunting the band is that the fans have been asking for years when the band’s new album will be released since the last album released was 10,000 Days in 2006. The lights went out and the fully packed venue went into a roar as the members of Tool made their way to the stage. Tool started the show with The Grudge from their 2001 Lateralus album. Unlike most bands, Tool often decides to keep their stage presence secrecy and prefers the audience to be submerged in the band’s music with visuals in the background rather than have the attention on themselves. The only member that was barely visible was fontman Maynard James Keenan as he stood next to drummer Danny Carey and stayed covered in almost total darkness the whole time. Though his stage presence wasn’t needed as his amazing voice did all the talking and proved why he’s one of the best vocalists of all time. Tool mesmerized the audience not only with their amazing and poetic music, but with one of the best light shows put on by any band. No song was the same and each song played was a surprise as to what would happen next. A variety of lights and lasers kept the audience interested and hypnotized at the band’s live show. Tool delivered a lot of the band’s biggest hits such as: SchismÆnima, Opiate, and Third Eye. Tool played Forty-Six & 2 then left the stage. Fans stayed put and yelled out for Tool to come back out. Surely enough, Tool came out for some encores. Carey came out for a drum solo before the band started the first encore, The Pot. Vicarious is another one of the band’s best hits and fans went wild when the song started. Stinkfist served as the show’s finale and is a classic amongst fans. Keenan thanked the audience for coming out and wished them a safe drive home before leaving the stage for the final time. Whether it was the fans’ first time seeing Tool or not, it was a show to be talked about for a long time to come. Fans are still hoping for that new album that Tool keeps teasing little by little.

Review by: Misael Ruiz