The latter half of last year, I didn't attend all that many shows in the DFW area. Call it busy, lazy, whatever, I just didn't make it out to as many as I would have liked. But I did make a couple of trips to the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX (west of Dallas) to take in some pretty great shows. You simply can't beat My Morning Jacket and their plethora of rockin' tunes. I also got to cover KDGE's annual How the Edge Stole Christmas who had a stacked bill with Of Monsters and Men, Panic! at the Disco, Sublime with Rome, and many others. While I said you can't beat MMJ's performances, I think the bill of Tool, Primus, and 3TEETH certainly left their mark with an insanely intense showcase of raw energy, fantastic musicianship, and sonic fury to your eardrums.
Before their announcement as the opening band to the tour, I really had no prior knowledge of the band, 3TEETH. But this four-piece band from Los Angeles opening the night with their own brand of dark, gritty industrial metal. Slow-moving and calculated, the beats pulsed and guitars ripped through the Verizon air as vocalist, Alexis Mincolla, pounded this leg and roared "Pound, pound, pound my flesh" from their opening song, "Nihil". In terms of production, there wasn't much to 3TEETH's performance, mostly red lighting accompanied by a strobe behind Mincolla. But that didn't take away anything from their performance. Loud and satisfying, they set the bar high and definitely made a great impression to the early crowd. I can't wait for them to come back to Dallas and play a proper, headlining gig.
Now enters Primus, the long-standing rock band from San Fran, fronted by bassist/vocalist, Les Claypool. Primus, in their own right, have played large venues as headliners, so I'm sure opening for Tool must have been different for them. But by judging from their performance, opening or headlining was the least thing on their mind. A combination of experimental and progressive rock, it can be a daunting task to classify Primus's sound. But no one can deny that they are entertaining with their eclectic catalog of songs, off the wall visuals, and of course, Claypool's impressive bass playing. While the crowd enjoyed Primus's offering, most notably hearing fans singing "My Name is Mud" well after their set had ended, the buzz within Verizon had hit its peak, as the stage had been set for the headliners of the night: Tool.
While I will be the first to say that I've never been the biggest Tool fan out there, I can say without a doubt that I respect their body of work and have been waiting to see them live for years. I was blown away. While the opening of the set was low-key and ominous, it didn't take long before Maynard James Keenan, donned in full riot gear, and company got the show rocking with their cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter". It's been quite some time since I had to wear my Earlove earplugs, but this show warranted them beyond a reasonable doubt. It was LOUD. But not in a way were everything was muddy, as the Verizon sound system is pretty great for a large music venue. I don't think most of the crowd realized how great of a venue they got when Tool announced their dates. While Houston's Toyota Center could host up to 19,000 for a concert, Verizon's comparatively modest capacity of 6,350 gave you a more intimate show and better overall sound than you could get an all-everything arena. As the band proclaimed in their tour date press release, it definitely was "an unparalleled sonic and visual experience". Most of their visuals were pulled from their music videos, added were plenty of lighting changes and laser shows, but at the heart of their performance was the music. Including crowd favorites "Schism" and "Ænema", the set only consisted of twelve songs and a drum solo but it was very dense and always rockin'. The set ended on the loudest and most powerful of notes, as they finished their nearly two-hour performance with rockers "Sweat" and "Stinkfist". I mean, what a way to finish. Like I've told people who asked me how the show was, it's gonna take one hell of a show to best this one as my show of the year. Photos of the show are below:
Tool / Primus / 3TEETH @ Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 1:00:00 PM Rating: