Show Me Center rocks with Tool

Sunday, June 17, 2007
Tool lead singer Maynard Keenan danced in front of a video projection backdrop during an instrumental break in the first song of their performance at the Show Me Center on Saturday. (AARON EISENHAUER

Tool played to a packed Show Me Center Saturday night, satisfying the desires of local music fans craving something other than the country performers who usually play the venue.

The prog-metal four-piece's devoted following came out in droves for the show, proving that rock can do well even at the Show Me Center.

A crowd count was not available by deadline.

The feel of a real rock show, the kind that is mostly enjoyed in the larger venues of metropolitan areas, was palpable both inside and outside the Show Me Center leading up to and during Tool's performance.

Fans in the parking lot huffed down final smokes and enjoyed last chugs of beer before taking their places to see opening act Melt Banana.

The four-piece Japanese noise rock outfit's sound made for a strange mix with the megaband that would follow, with a style so far removed from radio rock that it almost defies classification.

Fronted by a diminutive female with a thick Japanese accent (and also employing a diminutive female bassist whose size belies her speedy fretwork), the group tore through a roughly 30-minute set of feedback, distortion, heavy effects and a good dose of thrash.

The set was sandwiched between a several-minute noise jam marking the beginning and end.

The words were unintelligible almost throughout, the song structure nearly nonexistent. Some in the Show Me Center crowd heckled the band near the end of the set, but for the most part "Melt Banana from Tokyo, Japan" received a rather warm, and surprising, Southeast Missouri welcome.

Anticipation spread throughout the crowd as Tool's white stage was fitted with six large video screens, with fans in scattered spots of the arena cheering and clapping at every note of the sound check and every blink of the light check.

The band came out quietly before hammering eardrums with the sounds of its newest effort, "10,000 Days." Eccentric front man Maynard James Keenan stayed largely in the shadows, using his cowboy hat as a prop on occasion. Meanwhile guitarist Adam Jones, bassist Justin Chancellor and drummer Danny Carey pummeled the audience with heavy, pounding rhythms. Tool lived up to its reputation for professional, polished show, playing the entire set in synch with videos projected behind.

After performing its newest material the band launched into fan favorites like "Stinkfist," "Forty-six and Two" and "Schism" from its earlier albums. Keenan whipped the crowd into a frenzy creating the kind of energy that seems unique to shows by bands like Tool -- artistic, experienced rockers with a loyal following and a huge reputation.

Saturday night they lived up to the reputation in Cape Girardeau, delivering the best rock show the venue has seen in several years.

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