Reviewed by Meghan Player
If you’re a music fan, it’s unlikely you haven’t heard the name or at least the legend that is Mike Patton. Synonymous with 90s heroes Faith No More, Patton has lent his name to some of the biggest and most diverse musical projects for a better part of 25 years – and has never showed signs of slowing down. Tonight, in a follow-up to their washed out set at Soundwave, the Metro Theatre was packed to the hilt to welcome back his avant-garde project, Tomahawk – for the first time in almost 10 years.
If you’ve never seen Tomahawk live before, it’s hard to know what to expect – and upon entering the theatre, my curiosity certainly peaked. In a near complete blacked-out room, a continuous nature documentary loop played on the screen above the stage. Unsure what to make of this, nor dismissing it completely – the rabbit hole grew deeper when opening act ‘N/A’ took to the stage. Through an obscure mix of spoken word and electronica, I suddenly felt like I had walked into a Leigh Bowery performance. Distorted synth vocals, whirring guitars and looped samples meant a majority of punters were confused by the two-piece, but nonetheless it was an experience most won’t forget soon enough.
Obviously, tonight was for Tomahawk. After what seemed like an endless loop of Native American-style drum beats due to an onstage technical error, the band took to the stage to a rapturous roar from the sold-out crowd. Not a band to be taken lightly, they launch into a set of old and new material – each song a justified work of art. Patton’s wild-eyed stares, menacing snarls and cheeky grins create quite the intimidating yet endearing image – often meaning you don’t know whether to look or turn away.
The band itself are tight as hell too – ranging from a simple, melodic melody to a punishing, bone-crushing riff the next. Drummer John Stanier, guitarist Duane Denison and bassist Trevor Dunn are no strangers to the music scene, and it certainly shows – with each pounding track met with the same ferocity captured on their records. The welcome addition of new tracks, ‘Oddfellows‘, ‘Stone Letter’ and ‘IOU‘ mixed with the earlier ‘God Hates A Coward’ and ‘Point And Click‘ clearly demonstrates not only the bands vast and versatile career, but their incredible progression since the beginning.
Undoubtedly tonight demonstrated a band at the top of their game. Tomahawk know how to push the limits, experiment with new techniques and deliver a style of music that you would be hard pressed to find in an industry choking to death on the latest trends and fads. Tomahawk are a rarity, and for that I salute them.