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Tomahawk - London Astoria, 10/3/2002

  by Mark Rowland

published: 10 / 4 / 2002

Tomahawk - London Astoria, 10/3/2002


Controversial, uncompromising and sometimes downright disgusting, Mike Patton's new band Tomahawk prove to be all this and more on their debut British tour at the London Astoria

Those of you who don't know who Tomahawk might be familiar with some of the other bands whose members make up its numbers. Guitarist Duane Denison used to play in the Jesus Lizard ; bassist Kevin Rutmanis from everyone's favourite lost grunge band the Melvins ; John Stanier is also the sticksman with hard-as-nails post-hardcore heroes Helmet, and, last but by no means least, there is Mike Patton, the notorious frontman of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and Fantomas. All of these bands share certain common factors. They have been major influences on many recent rock bands. They all make or used to make innovative, diverse and down-right noisy music, and are now legendary throughout alternative circles for both their sound and also their antics both on and off stage. Most of the crowd, as is expected, are here for Mike Patton. As a member of Faith no More, Patton won the hearts of many an alternative boy and girl with his erratic style of funk singing and throat-shredding screaming, his blunt refusal to compromise, and his eating of his own fecal matter. First up though, are hip-hop unknowns Dalek. It is clear that most of the crowd do not have a clue who Dalek are, and that their music is not what they expected from a Tomahawk support band, but Dalek still get the crowd moving, their crunching beats and anti-pop raps surprisingly finding plenty of fans in this alternative crowd, though their sound is quite a very alternative hip-hop sound, so perhaps it's not so surprising. So far, so normal, but the first signs that this gig might not be so straight forward comes towards the end of Dalek's set, when someone comes onstage wearing a mask and a T-shirt that charmingly reads 'C**t'. Whispers start and, inevitably, much of the crowd is certain that that is Mike Patton, although, to be honest, it could be anyone. Mike Patton and his boys make a brief appearance onstage during their equipment check, prematurely whipping the crowd up into a state of excitement, before leaving the stage again, and the audience convinced that Tomahawk will be back onstage at any minute to play their set. Tomahawk do, of course, arrive onstage late. That should give you an idea of what frame of mind this band are in. A rock and roll one. Opening with 'God Hates a Coward', a track that , funnily enough, perfectly merges together the sound of of Faith No More with the Jesus Lizard, Mike Patton and pals, all donned in police uniforms from different American states, look genuinely insane, with Patton screaming into a gas mask, while at his sides Denison and Rutmanis sway looking like they should be kept in a padded cell at all times. Even more strange is that Rutmanis is still swaying after the song ends, and continues to do so for the whole set. It's wonderous to behold. The music itself is performed fantastically. Not one member puts a note wrong, and every song is about 50 times more intense than it's recorded version. Things, however, get a lot more interesting than this. There's the between song banter between Patton and the audience, with Rutmanis occasionally joining in. To give the best idea of what this mainly comprised of, here's an example: Patton:"What's wrong with you people? Come on! Well, I don't know what's up with them, I'll have to consult Dr. Kevin Rutmanis. What's your diagnosis doctor?" Rutmanis: "Well, I can't be sure, but at a guess, I'd have to say that none of these people F**k." I think that pretty much sums it up. The final piece` de resistance comes during the performance of single 'Laredo' in the encore, when Patton whips out his little feller and gives the crowd an impromtpu golden shower, much to the delight of half theaudience and the disgust of the other. It's not often these days that you go to a truly exciting, shocking and at times revolting gig. Most big rock bands now deliver a comfortable show featuring either a) shoegazing self-loathing b) childish dick jokes or c) irritating up-your-own-bumhole disorders, so it's nice to see a band that are out to offend for a change. Next time they are in your area, be sure to check them out. Just make sure you bring some water proof clothing.

Picture Gallery:-
Tomahawk - London Astoria, 10/3/2002

Tomahawk - London Astoria, 10/3/2002

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