As expected, Tomahawk blew the roof off of Philly’s Union Transfer last night. After a rather (sorry, just didn’t get it) painful set by openers Buke and Gase, the floor quickly began filling up simultaneously with the hypnotic tribal music being played between sets that was reaching near deafening volume before the band finally exploded onto stage. Using the 20+ minutes of music to almost subconsciously create a sense of excitement is a marvelously effective tool, and I would quite enjoy if more bands were pick up on such tactics.
Patton and Co. hit the stage running and were looking far from a group of musicians going non stop in different projects for the better part of 25 years, especially their tireless lead singer who was relentless with his assault on both mic and strange vocals effects box perched waist high beside his microphone stand. Guttural howls to banshee-like screams, Patton was on point all night along with drummer extraordinaire John Stanier, who easily matched Patton in stage endurance, they were just as appealing to the eyes as they were ears and with no backdrop and a minimally effective light, all senses were focused on nothing but the four guys on stage and their absorbing wall of sound. I was ready to question the length of the set after they left the stage at almost exactly one hour, but with the 700+ frothing fans engaged in a well executed singalong chant eerily similar to the “Tomahawk Chop” chant Atlanta Braves fans to do spark their team( and by eerily similar I mean exactly the fuckin same), they returned to the stage for four more tracks and although it kinda looked like one band member each per track had to be playfully talked into the next one, each song was started with smiles on the faces of both band and adoring crowd before they finally said goodbye with a stirring tribute to the late, great George Jones and his track “Just One More”. Turns out they can nail a country song too. Fifteen minutes later I was home with a another box checked on the bucket list and a beautiful wife sleepily inquiring about the ear to ear grin on face en route from couch to bed. Yesterday was a definitely a good day.
Here are a few tracks from what I think is Mike Patton’s greatest solo work, the cinematic Italian pop of Mondo Cane. Recorded mostly live, it is a series of cover songs from Italy’s 50’s and 60’s Golden Age of music sung nearly all in Italian by Mike and backed by only a 40+piece orchestra, another 15 piece band a full choir. Jesus. It is grandeur in its effort and the pay off is fantastic, though it must warned that one most definitely has to be in the mood for such a concept. Swaying between crooning ballads and frenzied attacks of far away psychedelia, it will catch you off guard at one point, every time, guaranteed. But I also loved it almost immediately and have learned to welcome the surprise aural attacks. I firmly believe this album should be in the collection of all those who truly love music and the joys of finding such strange delight in listening to what we do not understand.This is easily one of this generations most eccentric musician’s eccentric collections. Thats a truthful mouthful right there.
Mike Patton goes straight demented on this one!
Best YouTube quote of the day: “Great vocalist? Yes, but greatest vocalist of all time? Yes.”