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UnRated Magazine Review:
Band Concert Review
Tomahawk Sidetracks During Tool Tour

Tomahawk Sidetracks During Tool Tour

By Jason Zolghadr

Fans of Tomahawk in Chicago were in for a special treat Tuesday night when booked a last minute gig at The Empty Bottle on Western Ave. The band, currently on the road with the band TOOL, had been set to open the evening in Normal, IL, but the show was cancelled. Maybe Tomahawk thinks it’s bad voodoo to take a day off, or maybe they needed the money. I hope, rather, that it was because they like Chicago that took the opportunity to bring a rare performance to the Empty Bottle.

For those not in the know, Tomahawk is comprised of Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Fantomas), Kevin Rutmanis (The Melvins), and John Stanier (Helmet). While the band is technically still in their infancy (their self-titled disc was released just last year), they draw together well over 40 years of experience in the business, resulting in a one-year-old band that writes and performs like a ten-year-old band.

Tomahawk took stage shortly after 11pm before an already warmed-up audience thanks to the excellent Vandermark Five. Without a word, the uniform-clad members launched into “Point & Click”, a dark and moody number which proves to my personal favorite off of their disc. In a little over an hour, the band managed to cover the majority of their LP’s material, and work in a few unrecorded numbers as well. Aside from the radiating energy Tomahawk produces (complete with manic Patton stage-antics on a stage smaller than bar itself), perhaps the most notable element of this show was the absolute intimacy; the only thing separating the band from the sold-out floor were Tomahawk’s amps. One fan even took liberty of sharing his beer with the band throughout the course of the set.

Before returning for the encore, the band left the stage with feedback and delay loops still ablaze after a brief noise jam descending from their last song. When they did return for the encore, they invited Ken Vandermark himself from the Vandermark Five to join them with his sax and blast out another 5 minutes or so of improv. To achieve balance, Duane led the band into chillingly sweet rendition of the Frank Sinatra song, “Angel Eyes”, which proved to be a perfect closer. “Pardon me, I’ve gotta run….”