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Tool show us at SAP Center that they’ve only gotten bigger & better with more time

ToolBy Mike Rosati //

Tool with Author & Punisher //
SAP Center – San Jose
January 14th, 2020 //

My first Tool show was at the Trocadero Transfer, a small SF club in the SoMa neighborhood that has been remodeled and renamed as The Grand.

It was 1993, and the band’s debut album Undertow had dropped several months earlier that year. My friend had been following the East Bay Express’ music column, which published a review of Tool’s 1992 EP Opiate. He picked up a cassette and we quickly became enamored, playing the snot out of it on every road trip we took together.

Unfortunately, we mistimed that show at the Trocadero Transfer and missed Failure’s opening set. The room was packed so we had to find a spot at the very back of the venue. And although we couldn’t see through the crowd from where we stood, we noticed that there was a trash can along the back wall. With little time to think, we turned it upside down, climbed atop of it and grabbed onto the fire sprinkler pipe. For us, that seemed to make all the difference, providing an amazing view of the room as the audience moved like an undulating ocean of bodies when Tool finally took the stage. Frontman Maynard James Keenan appeared shirtless and donned a Mohawk ponytail braid while standing at the front of the stage under a spotlight. Since then, I have seen a lot of shows but nothing quite like the moshing that transpired that night.

Tool

Fast forward to Tool’s latest Bay Area stop at San Jose’s SAP Center, and things have changed quite a bit for the prog-metal titans. Compared to that first performance I witnessed almost 27 years ago, Keenan (vocals), Danny Carey (drums), Adam Jones (guitar) and Justin Chancellor (bass) are now selling out arenas all around the world with a massive lighting rig, immersive video backdrop and veil of strings at the front of the stage when they open with the title track on their fifth LP Fear Inoculum.

But unlike the quartet’s previous tours, Keenan was actually illuminated at different points during the show as he strutted across the raised platforms behind Jones and Chancellor in a leather jacket with a Puscifer logo, a pair of red plaid pants and another Mohawk (albeit this one was spiked). Jones, as usual, was an economy of movement but his guitar voluminous in sound while Carey’s drums have only grown more into an incredible shrine of percussion.

Tool have certainly come a long way since that December night at the Trocadero Transfer nearly three decades ago, but looking back now, I’m sure glad we found that trash can.

Setlist:
Fear Inoculum
Ænema
The Pot
Parabol
Parabola
Pneuma
Schism
Jambi
Vicarious
Descending

Encore:
Chocolate Chip Trip
Invincible
Stinkfist

Deap Vally unleash a full-on assault at The Chapel

Deap VallyBy Mike Rosati //

Deap Vally with Shana Falana //
The Chapel – San Francisco
November 12th, 2018 //

LA indie-rock duo Deap Vally assaulted Bay Area fans at The Chapel with their grungy riffs and garage-heavy sound last Monday.

Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums, vocals) played songs from both of their albums — 2013’s Sistrionix and 2006’s Femejism — as well as two new ones that they released this year. Toward the end of the set, someone dressed as a dinosaur joined them onstage for “Bring It On”, their latest track to get the music video treatment, with friends, family and military veterans filling the room.

Serving as support were New York-based shoegaze band Shana Falana. The two-piece have two studio LPs to their name, both on the indie label Team Love co-founded by Bright Eyes leader Conor Oberst, and are currently touring the U.S. through early December.

Setlist:
Baby I Call Hell
Bad for My Body
Little Baby Beauty Queen
Get Gone
Smile More
Heart Is an Animal
Walk of Shame
Teenage Queen
Gonna Make
Critic
Bring It On
End of the World

Encore:
Grunge Bond
Royal Jelly

Noise Pop 2019: Celebrating Bay Area indie culture with great music & a whole lot more

Noise Pop 2019 - Caroline Rose


Caroline Rose

Photos by Mike Rosati, Norm de Veyra & Marc Fong // Written by Kevin Quandt & Ryan Bright //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 25th-March 3rd, 2019 //

Another epic edition of Noise Pop is now in the history books, and we were there to witness much of the action. Here are a few of our favorite moments, plus a ton of photos, from 2019.

Coke

With a name like Coke, you’d hope this SF band would be loud and wild enough, even with a 7 p.m. hit time, and they were. Playing their second-to-last show before losing a key member to the East Coast, they proved rock is not dead and that it generally sounds best in medium-sized bars full of your friends. – KQ

In the Valley Below

It has been a hot minute since the duo of Jeffrey Jacob and Angela Gail released their widely acclaimed debut album and supported it with multiple late-night appearances that saw them play their breakthrough hit “Peaches”. Their slow return to the stage hasn’t stopped this pair from performing some powerful indie pop that set the stage perfectly for Albert Hammond Jr. on a Wednesday night at The Independent. The live-expanded twosome also delivered select cuts from their forthcoming sophomore release The Pink Chateau, which will also feature an accompanying “motion picture companion.” Certainly appearing to be a comeback year for the Michigan-based group and a packed room at the Independent would likely agree. – KQ

Albert Hammond Jr.

Hammond Jr. is an explosive performer, and his Noise Pop show at The Independent was no exception. Relying heavily on his 2018 release Francis Trouble, his live effort showcased his frontman stature and musical abilities apart from his cohorts in The Strokes. Interestingly enough, the album explores the stillborn death of his twin brother and a recent reckoning that part of Francis’ fingernail was actually born alongside him. Despite the LP’s macabre topic, songs like “Far Away Truths” really conveyed Hammond’s raw energy as he jumped right into the crowd, mic in hand, for a cathartic mosh pit. – RB

Bob Mould Band


Bob Mould Band

Bob Mould Band

Bob Mould has had a lengthy, fruitful relationship with Noise Pop and the packed Fillmore demonstrated that in spades after recently releasing his rather well-received, and 13th, solo album Sunshine Rock since disbanding Hüsker Dü and intersplicing Sugar releases. Mould is nearing the age of 60, but you’d be hard-pressed to think that when he frantically paces back and forth onstage while firing off his characteristic take of punk-leaning alternative rock. “In a Free Land” and “Something I Learned Today” were Hüsker Dü highlights, while “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” and “Hoover Dam” represented a handful of Sugar cuts that the balding frontman belted out. Mould recently moved to Berlin from SF, but any longtime Bay Area fan can sleep well knowing he’ll always return to give us a dose of his infectious punk rock. – KQ

Film School

While it has been almost 20 years since Gerg Bertens initially formed Film School, the band has continued to keep a strong relationship with Noise Pop. Many consider the five-piece’s 2016 Noise Pop shows at Bottom of the Hill to be its grand return after hanging it up in 2011, and this year’s well-attended opening set showed that they can still whip up some polished alternative shoegaze. “Two in Sun” shined bright, and many of us hope this California outfit sticks around and rides the wave of the current shoegaze revival. – KQ

Beirut

After taking several years off, Zach Condon’s project Beirut returned this year with a new album titled Gallipoli and an international tour that included a stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland for Noise Pop. While Beirut’s career-spanning set might have been a nostalgia trip for some, the musicianship and multi-instrumentation were the real highlights of the night. They managed to make their unique brand of “world” music, which features Balkan, polka, mariachi and francophone influences, feel inviting, warm and triumphant thanks to subtle textures of the accordion, ukulele, trumpet, Moog synthesizer, piano and Condon’s unique satiny vocal stylings. For me, new songs like “Landslide” and “We Never Lived Here” stood out just as strongly as fan favorites “Elephant Gun” and “Nantes” — and the entire crowd’s response indicated that as well. – RB