Friday, January 10th at the Viejas Arena was a night to remember. As the stage dimmed to begin the evening, Author & Punisher appeared onstage. The local San Diegan artist, Tristan Shone, shook the entire venue with heavy, industrial sounds blaring from his custom-engineered machines. Distorted and aggressive, the sounds that came from this unique take on industrial metal are still ringing in my ears today. Through innovation and ingenuity, Author & Punisher has managed to turn that niche genre of music on its head through what can only be described as a wonderful cacophony of flesh and steel.
It goes without saying that Danny Carey is one of the most iconic prog drummers in the world, but hearing him pay tribute to the late Neil Peart in an explosive drum solo was one of the top highlights of the night.
After the opening act had wrapped up, the crowd eagerly awaited the moment everyone was there for — TOOL. The well-renowned rock/metal titans had finally returned from their 13-year break with their groundbreaking new album, Fear Inoculum. The titular track began as drumming god, Danny Carey, sat at his custom drum kit. The ambient sounds of guitarist, Adam Jones, and bassist, Justin Chancellor, could be heard as the stage remained dark. As the song continued, frontman and vocalist Maynard James Keenan took his usual spot next to Carey and chimed in with his illustrious vocals. Other tracks were performed from Tool’s latest album, including “Pneuma”, “Invincible” and “Descending” — all of which accompanied by a giant, kaleidoscopic backdrop lighting up the arena.
Visuals from the band’s music videos were often displayed as other familiar songs were performed, such as “Vicarious (10,000 Days)”, “Parabol/Parabola (Lateralus)”, and “Stinkfist (Aenima)”. It goes without saying that Danny Carey is one of the most iconic prog drummers in the world, but hearing him pay tribute to the late Neil Peart in an explosive drum solo was one of the top highlights of the night. The energy radiating from the band perfectly mixed with the excitement and anticipation of the crowd, spiraling into a cerebral symphony of art and melody. It was an amazing performance all around and I hope to ride the spiral once again if they come around to San Diego in the future.
Photography by Erik Sieckert