Tomahawk @ Mayan Theatre, February 19, 2013
After what felt like a half hour loop of Native American battle chanting, experimental metal group Tomahawk took the stage like braves on the weird warpath at the Mayan on Tuesday, February 19.
Tomahawk is kind of a supergroup – no big deal – with Mike Patton of Faith No More on vocals, Duane Denison of the Jesus Lizard on guitar, John Stanier of Helmet and Battles on drums, and Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle on bass. These guys don’t mess around with anything pop or gimmicky. They go straight for the aggressive rock sound that they’ve been melding and molding for years in their various projects, all culminating in their newest studio release, the aptly named Oddfellows. (By the way, the album cover for Oddfellows is really cute. Check it out.)
In a split-leg low stance behind his station of laptop, keyboard, and microphones, Patton sang the hell out of the setlist of 19 songs, wandering the total gamet of his full force vocal range. Sometimes he sounded weird, high-pitched, sometimes low growling, sometimes aggressively whiny. He sometimes looked as though he’d eat the microphone. Then all the sounds would smooth out into one long sustained note sung while the band drove the song into a breakdown that sent the crowd’s fists chopping into the air like, well, tomahawks.
The crowd was generally dudes and generally rowdy, although the moshing seemed to be contained to the right side of the stage. Maybe it’s because those were all the people in the direct path of Trevor Dunn’s low, heavy basslines. It’s always fun to watch the subconscious negotiations of the more passive crowd members trying to stand their ground with their phones in their hands vs. the more testosterone-infused side of the crowd. I fantasized about someone moshing an Instagrammers phone right out of their hand onto the ground like a blocked shot.
Tomahawk gave some final treats to the audience in their 3-song encore, which included a country cover “Just One More” and Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” Then the lights came on, and the tribal warpath rally music faded in once again, with the crowd chanting along as they filtered out.