Tomahawk

support Bosnian Rainbows
author SC date 31/08/13 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

After a long summer with loads of festivals, one could think that upcoming concerts would not be an impressive proposition for a longer period of time, yet with newly started Bosnian Rainbows and the old-boys from Tomahawk on stage tonight, I was made curious for an evening that could go in every direction. And I must say that it did! Personally I have not listened to Bosnian Rainbows before tonight’s show, so I was not sure what to expect. Tomahawk, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter, and therefore my expectations for them were really high.

Bosnian Rainbows

This Saturday night the show was supposed to take place at Lille Vega. However, the great demand for tickets forced the venue to upgrade the show to its bigger brother Store Vega, which at first glance does not seem as a great idea, because as Texas-based alternative electro-rock band Bosnian Rainbows enters the stage they are facing an almost empty hall. Female lead singer Teri Gender Bender enters showing signs of nervousness as she shakes while smiling to the few attendees. The rest of the band is placed close to each other at the center of the stage. As the band starts playing, Teri dances in a very crooked and slightly Balkan-inspired way, which contrasts the musicians who act really introvert. Guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López plays energetically, as he throws his guitar around while playing, but without looking at the audience.

His behavior is similar to the way drummer Deantoni Parks, who impressively plays drums enthusiastically with one hand while simultaneously controlling a keyboard with the other, but his eyes never reach us. Their pop-inspired electro-rock is quite good, but it never gets a grip in the slowly growing crowd. Personally, I find Bosnian Rainbows a bit misplaced due to what is yet to come. Their music is heading in a totally other direction than what we are here for, which is kind of sad, because what they are delivering is actually rather good. An inappropriate crowd member even starts cheering for Slayer, which unfortunately stresses my point. Oh yeah, and then there is this other keyboardist, Nicci Kasper, who is hiding himself behind his instruments so that you almost do not notice him. If someone like Björk was the headlining act then Bosnian Rainbows would have been a perfect fit, but tonight, their set is rather awkward.

5

Tomahawk

As Tomahawk's set-start approaches my fear of an empty room is quickly proven wrong. Due to the sealed-off balcony, the venue's floor section is packed as a bombastic marching-inspired theme starts playing in loops for approximately five minutes, building tension and excitement for what we have in store. Tomahawk walks on stage and everybody sort of holds their breaths, which is released in relief as the classic (to the inaugurated of us) “God is a Coward” hits our ears like a hammer-smash to the face. Visually the band has chosen not to do anything special at all, not even a logo-banner, which I think is actually kind of cool. Right from first impact drummer John Stanier punishes his drum kit with full force. His cymbals are placed so high that you occasionally become amazed, as he hits them to perfection and with the same ferocity as the rest of his kit. Newest member of the band, bass guitar player Trevor Dunn starts off being a bit retracted, but fortunately, after the first four songs he starts to get into it and finds the energy to look at the crowd and get more physically involved, which almost seems like it positively affects his sound as well. Not that he has made any mistakes until now, the bass just gets more clear in the soundscape and provides that deeper layer.

Just like Dunn, the audience gets livelier as the concert progresses, creating a better and better atmosphere at the venue. Guitarist Duane Denison on the other hand is more rigid, but with this said, one cannot put a finger on a single fault when it comes to the precision of his guitar handling. Every note is so accurate and clean that it is almost unbelievable. All of these three men deliver a way over standard performance, yet I must say frontman Mike Patton takes the prize tonight. That man is not only a genius in the creative process, but also when it comes to performing live. Right from the start Patton is in control of where we are going tonight, his immense vocal range and characteristic physical presence impressing like nobody else, while he controls his electronic effects. In the middle of the set he is throwing himself around while screaming the words to “Rape This Day” from the “Mit Gas”-record, concluding with the words “Don’t be afraid. But now its time to get sexy”, which starts the crooner-inspired “I.O.U.” from the new “Oddfellows”-album, allowing him to deliver pitch-perfect vocal parts.

One can constantly see small dust-clouds of saliva as Patton sings the rock/metal tunes as well as the slower ballads with 100% involvement. To introduce the song “Choke Neck” Patton tries to anti-jinx a possible upcoming failure by telling us in advance, that it is a live-first-timer for the band. Nevertheless, afterwards, he sarcastically rat on his fellow band members by telling us their names and who “Fuck’ed it up the most”. This generates a relaxed atmosphere allowing the rest of the band to joke a bit as well. The ordinary set is concluded with classics like “Flashback” and “Totem” leaving us with a longing for more. And more we got! Tomahawk comes back two times delivering two plus two extra songs, including covers of Frank Sinatra’s “Angel Eyes” and George Jones’ “Just One More”, and the band ends up leaving to the same bombastic looping tunes as they turned up to, as the audience starts to sing along and stamp the ground in respect. Fantastic!

During the entire show the sound quality was perfect, every single musician played tight and clean (not counting “Choke Neck”) and Mike Patton was in his element. Denison, however, only physically shined in glimpses, which I must say removed that last thing that could have made this Tomahawk show absolutely brilliant. Nevertheless, this is hardly enough to spoil all the fun, and overall this show was almost spotless.

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