the rapture; hmv oxford street; 04.09.2006;
get myself into it/sister saviour/house of jealous lovers/w.a.y.u.h./the sound.

Last night, at around 5pm, people gathered in the sweltering heat inside HMV, Oxford Street, London. Standing bored, between isles and isles of media products, they picked up random CDs, looked at the covers and discarded them back to the racks.
therapture_03interior2006.jpgOver an hour later, four skinny guys who looked like they’d just walked off the street walked through the ‘STAFF: NO ENTRY’ doors and came out to applause. Luke Jenner (vox/guitar), Vito Roccoforte (drummer), Matt Safer (vox/bass), Gabriel Andruzzi (sax/percussion/keys); big hair or floppy fringes, tight Tees and skinny jeans all around. They could be Topman models. But one thing stood out – you could see the cowbell and saxophone waiting, just itching to be played. This was to be a dance show, just as much as a rock show.
The Rapture’s first album, Echoes, came out in 2003. Before it came Out of the Tracks and Onto The Races EP (2001) and Mirror (1999), an 8-track LP.
Echoes was critically acclaimed, especially for its breakthrough single, House of Jealous Lovers, which became an anthem for indie discos worldwide. This became known as their sound; thumping bass, shouted wailing vocals, percussive dance rhythms, raw guitar and of course, the cow-bell.
Their new album, Pieces of the People We Love (mid-September), shows that they’ve finessed their sound. New single, Get Myself Into It (Sept 4), reminds me of Connected by Stereo MCs. A great sax line is the root of the groove and it’s all about having to ease yourself in to a night out or a holiday. Everyone knows the feeling, if you don’t get involved, you know you’ll have a shit time.
For the album, one of the producers they’ve teamed up with is DangerMouse, who’s getting quite a reputation as ‘the’ producer of the moment. What you notice immediately (in the new songs I’ve downloaded), seem more layered than before. With Echoes, many of the slower, emotional, intensive songs relied on the fragility of Jenner’s voice (e.g. Open Up Your Heart, Infatuation). The slower songs on this album can be characterised by a fuller sound, for example, Live in Sunshine. Another thing too, the drumming is exceptional in every song, leading the group as always.
The Rapture - Pieces of the People We LoveThing is, this is predominantly a dance band and as such they’re made for dancing. New songs, The Sound, W.A.Y.U.H. (Whoa, All right, Yeah, Uh Huh) are real pumping tunes, The Sound being the heaviest cut of those I’ve heard. Other songs I’ve heard, The Devil, Calling Me, Don Gon Do It and Pieces of the People We Love are less dancefloor. Don Gon Do It deserves extra attention as an excellent album opener, hynotising the listener as a slow-grow, easing into the rhythm of the album.
The Sound, W.A.Y.U.H., The Devil are great songs. The first two especially should be thumping the walls at a club very soon if there’s any justice. They are pounding songs, building to climaxes and you can’t help but start to move. Hopefully, you’ll feel your hips start to wobble and will give in to the rhythm, again, if there’s any justice.
So as they took to the stage last night, you had to feel for them. As they came out, Jenner immediately proclaimed that he wanted this gig to be better than when Madonna played the HMV, although he soon added that they’d never top Yes, who’d also had the privilege of taking the minute stage.
It was always going to be hard to get people moving in an artificially-lit, limited-floor-space record store. But they tried their best. It seemed most people were there to ‘check’ them out and weren’t already converted fans, which also didn’t help.
After one song, Jenner had realised. He tried some audience participation (to muted responses) for Sister Saviour, and then asked everyone to help out:
“Come on, imagine you’re in a dark club, middle of the night, E’d off your tits or something.”
Still, despite the fact that people weren’t ready to shed their ‘cool’ in HMV at 6pm, a few people (myself included) did start to dance and gradually it livened up. Problem was, they were only playing for five songs and by the time everyone was into it, it’d already passed.
The highlight of the set was the two new songs at the end. The Sound, played last, was almost a way for the band to show their aggression at the bad management and booking of this gig as Jenner played a ridiculously high, hurt-your-ears-it’s-so-loud guitar line throughout. Thrashing with each bar, the beat led until the end climax of thrashing and smashing.
Even better was the new W.A.Y.U.H., which is a cousin, if not a sibling of House of Jealous Lovers. More on this below, although it does feature a wonderfully gratuitous, throwaway lyric, sung by Safer: “She said you’re allegory is far too blunt/I said this ain’t no labratory, you’re a cunt…”
As the band left the stage, Jenner was grabbed by screaming 12-year-olds who were crying with joy at hugging the object of their affection and then they stayed to sign records. For all the good will, you couldn’t help feeling that you’d be a pissed off in their situation. They were genial and friendly and smiling afterwards, but all I could think was what it could have been, even if just the lights were turned down. When some people can’t be seen, maybe they might shed some of that cool, get off their asses and start dancing.

Maybe we could all learn a lesson from the Rapture. Lighten up, move your hips, stop trying to look cool and dance your ass off. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel. It reminds me of the end refrain from one of their new songs, “W.A.Y.U.H.”, which urges us to dance, dance, dance:
“People don’t dance no more,
They just stand around like this,
They cross their arms and stare you down
and drink and moan and piss…”

No-one really got the irony of this being sung out to the fans. Except the band of course. They knew it when they wrote the lyrics. It just takes us a while for everyone else to catch up.

—END—

push the envelope. watch it bend.

tool; hammersmith Apollo; 14.06.2006
stinkfist/thepot/fortysix&2/jambi/schism/rightintwo/
rosettastoned/merkaba/sober/lateralus/vicarious/Ænema

The perculiar thing is, what draws people to Tool?maynard james keenan. tool. live.
I often wonder about this. Is it the mysticism? The strangeness? The music, the lyrics? The art? The ramming of anal metaphors down your throat?
It’s a combination of facets? Pounding drums, chugging guitars and rumbling bass; climaxes, introspection, anger; vocals emotive and free, soaring over the music. This is all just a part of it – the band works because all four are performing together, as one. Musically you’d think they are a hard band to sell commercially. 9-minute songs, syllables written in the Fibonnaci sequence, telling fans to “spiral out” and “keep going” – none of this is exactly the type of thing a A&R man would want to sell.
The thing is, watching this band is a fucking show. The music sounds organic, ‘the pieces fit’. It’s not just a gig where you zone off for a minute, listening or looking around, slightly bored, wondering where the smell of weed is coming from. It’s an experience. Communication.
Behind Maynard, flashes of videos, crawling bodies; pull them up from the floor, jars, boxes, scars. A stick-on Moheican flips past in silhouette as he dances in time to the music, stomping forward with each crash. Danny crashes all around him, pounding incessantly. I wouldn’t have a clue how to do any of it. Justin actually looks like a metal rockstar though, all long hair, whipping round his head. Adam looks bored. Or is it concentration?
Maynard & Justin. Tool. Live This is intelligent music. It speaks and it’s designed to make you think. It’s beautifully layered at times, creeping crescendos. It means something too. This is why the mix is not just metalheads in cliché t-shirts, there’s no defined look. It’s hard to sell, I said, yet millions of copies of Lateralus and 10,000 Days were shifted on the day of release.

Right In Two is a song that is quickly approaching top 10 of all-time status for me. It manages to sum up pretty much everything I think about humanity when I’m at my darkest ebb. The perception and realisation that the wars we fight, the battles we wage, the things we care about are meaningless and insecure. We fight, at what cost or point?

Extract from Right In Two:

Angels on the sideline, puzzled and amused.
Why did Father give these humans free will?
Now they’re all confused.
Don’t these talking monkeys know that Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys
Where there’s one you’re bound to divide it
Right in two.
Angels on the sideline, baffled and confused.
Father blessed them all with reason;
And this is what they choose?
Monkey, killing monkey, killing monkey over pieces of the ground.
Silly monkeys give them thumbs they forge a blade
And where there’s one they’re bound to divide it
Right in two.
Monkey, killing monkey, killing monkey over pieces of the ground.
Silly monkeys give them thumbs they make a club,
And beat their brother down.
How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability,
To lift an eye to heaven, conscious of his fleeting time here.

This is probably one of their more direct songs, especially in terms of lyrics. And yet it’s one of the most powerful. The shame of humanity, recreated in crashing chords in the middle section. A zone out as Danny plays an Indian-sounding solo on a tabla. The the octave-shifts, the crashes, symbolizing the fall of man? Or the wars we fight? Only they could tell you that.

Humanity stipped bare.

And at 6:01 on the record, I swear there’s an impression from South Park. ‘TIMMY!’

 

N.B. these images have been lifted from another website, but it was weeks ago and I can’t remember which one. If they are yours, I apologise and will credit you if you email.
Also, I think it’s a tabla.

J.

_________________________________________________

 

9 Responses to “reviews”

  1. Tool Freak said

    This was the best reveiw i have ever read

  2. J said

    Thanks man. That’s really appreciated. I gather by the pseudonym that you’re a Tool man too.
    That band mean the world.

    J.

  3. MJKsFan said

    thank you. finally, somebody who understands that there is more to the music than meets the eye. MJK is the best musician to ever walk the earth.

  4. J said

    Much obliged chieftan.

  5. blackfaeridust said

    I have never read a more descriptive and in depth review. I attended my first Tool concert two days ago and it is exactly that. I would recomend it to anybody. Definately something to experience.

  6. DRKREVRND666 said

    IVE SEEN TOOL TWICE ON THIS TOUR AND BOTH TIMES I WAS AMAZED AT HOW MUCH LIKE THE ALBUM THEY SOUND LIVE MANARD IS THE BEST LEAD SINGER IVE EVER HEARD EVEN THOUGH HE ISNT VERY ACTIVE DURING THE LIVE SHOW HIS VOICE DOSE THE ENTERTAINING FOR HIM HE DOSENT NEED SOME CHEEP GIMMICK TO MAKE TOOL THE BEST BAND OUT THERE RITE NOW

  7. sean said

    quite lovely. =)
    keep speaking freely and honestly.

  8. me said

    TOOL 4 LIFE BROTHER

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