Ghost Dance – Tomahawk and Retox Live at the Mayan Theatre Los Angeles (Review, Photos, Set List, More)

February 22nd, 2013
Goto comments Leave a comment

Is it possible that ten years have slipped off the calendar? It certainly seems so. The last time Duane Denison and Mike Patton’s supergroup Tomahawk played Los Angeles it was at the Henry Fonda Theatre in 2003 as a part of Ipecac Recorings’ short-lived Geek Show Tour. That show was an epic affair that boasted opening sets from label-mates The Melvins and Skeleton Key. Tomahawk promptly disappeared with the release of their 2007 album Anonymous following the departure (or firing as it were) of original bassist Kevin Rutmanis. Patton, Denison and drummer John Stanier completed Anonymous without a bassist and did not tour behind that record. Patton busied himself with his Peeping Tom project and the reunited Faith No More, Denison reunited with David Yow in The Jesus Lizard and Stanier soldiered on with his other band, Battles. A decade on, Tomahawk has recruited Trevor Dunn who most fans of the band are well familiar with given his role as bassist for Fantomas and Mr. Bungle. Back together and active, they played one of LA’s best venues, The Mayan, in support of their new album, Oddfellows. The results? More than enough to make you wish they hadn’t been gone ten years.

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan04

All photos by Marv Watson

Unlike the outstanding quality of The Melvins and Skeleton Key ten years back, this time the band’s only opener was San Diego noise rock outfit Retox. Diehard noise heads might remember this band’s singer Justin Pearson from a much better band he used to play with, The Locust. For those unfamiliar, The Locust was an extremely abrasive an often brilliant piece of discordant and chaotic noise. There’s no way to claim it was an easy pill to swallow, but the band knew how to make abrasive music at least thought provoking and impressive. Retox can’t even come close to that artful dissonance. Numerous time changes, pummeling drums, wall-to-wall distortion and endless screaming were pretty much the modus operandi here, each song blending into one another with little notion of pace or how to discern where the songs were. This one would only be for hardcore enthusiasts of this style. Anyone else would have trouble discerning just what was happening here.

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan11

Tomahawk, on the other hand, was a refreshing piece of bizarre brilliance. Each member of the group brings something truly unique to the table, forming a concoction that on paper should just not work, yet does effortlessly inspire eye-popping curiosity. Denison’s guitar work is a mix of obtuse 7th chords and unconventional scales played with a subtle twang. Stanier drums in syncopated segments, hinting at deeper influences in progressive electro and trance music. Patton alternates from country drawl, crooner coos and hard rock howls all while peppering in samples, tones and keyboards for spooky ambience. Dunn splits the difference with the jazzy overtones of his solo work and the sludgy approach his predecessor utilized. Somewhere in the midst of all that madness, everything coalesces into a menacing, playful, eerie and commanding re-imagining of the genres most conventionally labeled rock, alternative and Southern.

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan09

The group starts strong with a pair from their first album “God Hates a Coward” and “Flashback” both brimming over with cathartic choruses. “Oddfellows” colorfully meanders in a more subdued tempo, while “101 North” emerges as the group’s own epic “Riders on the Storm”-esque highway murder saga. The explosive energy returns on “Stone Letter” and things go full-board dirge for “Birdsong,” the most intimidating crescendo ever about feeding a bird. If you didn’t know the song, you might think it was about a final battle between good and evil. Mit Gas track “Captain Midnight” bookends one rock chorus amidst two delicate passages of drum-and-bass pitter-patter in a formula few would ever even think to try, much less wield effectively. New songs “White Hats/Black Hats” and “I.O.U.” aim more for moody, colorful backdrops. Implying more by their tone than any one word uttered. Similarly, “South Paw” drives and builds with melodies and patience alien even almost to this group, like the artful and nimble song craft of decades long past.

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan06

If that wasn’t enough to fully draw you in to their eclectic world, the last three songs of the set proper took the forward thinking to operatic heights. Self-titled album cut “Point and Click” wisely let the tempo be driven by the thudding bassline until the chorus where Patton wails like a siren, “I’ll be there / floating / above it all.” “Mayday” mutates between horror-movie creepy, straight-ahead rocking and a chorus which is both soaring defiance and call for help. And “Laredo” takes all of the previously mentioned elements and serves up a stew of pure, puzzling brilliance. Going from a countrified melodic intro to a pummeling refrain of, “The cat’s in the bag and the bag’s in the river” and ending on a decrescendo of noisy dissonance.

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan16

For the encore the band takes the opportunity the night’s one and only cut from the brilliant Anonymous, “Totem.” The only shame of the night considering the performance hints at what would’ve been possible with 20 minutes more in the set and three more of that album’s songs. The band ends on a pair of hilarious covers, a dead-on take on George Gones’ “Just One More” and Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” Here’s to hoping that it’s not another ten years before the group is back around. This show is proof that Tomahawk is as strong and original as Faith No More or any of other Mike Patton’s most beloved projects.

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan01

Set list:

God Hates a Coward
Flashback
Oddfellows
101 North
Stone Letter
Birdsong
Rape This Day
Baby Let’s Play ____
Capt. Midnight
White Hats / Black Hats
I.O.U.
Rotgut
South Paw
Point and Click
Mayday
Laredo

Totem
Just One More (George Jones cover)
Pay To Cum (Bad Brains cover)

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan15

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan13

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan10

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan07

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan14

Tomahawk_mrv_190213_Mayan05

All photos by Marv Watson

Search for Duane Denison albums on Amazon

By Raymond Flotat Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , , , ,


Related Mike Patton Content:

News
Mondo Cane to Make live US Debut
Fantomas Reveals Plans for Live Album/DVD Set for The Director’s Cut
Mike Patton to Score Upcoming Ryan Gosling Film The Place Beyond The Pines + New Tomahawk Album With Trevor Dunn on Bass Planned for Summer 2012 Release
A Look Back: Watch Mr. Bungle Cover “Existential Blues/Pencil Neck Geek” Live in LA in 1991
WATCH: Deltron 3030 Debut New Music Video for “City Rising From The Ashes” Featuring Mike Patton
Mike Patton Working on No Fewer Than 6 Albums For Future Release
Watch: Mike Patton Perform “When Good Dogs Do Bad Things” Live With The Dillinger Escape Plan
Faith No More And Mr. Bungle Detailed In Comprehensive New Book
Kid Koala and Dynomite D Return to Studio with a “Slew” of Heavy Hitters
No New Fantomas, Tomahawk or Lovage Albums in 2011
Watch: Mike Patton Performs “Roots Bloody Roots” with Sepultura Live at Rock in Rio
Tomahawk Announce Fall 2012 Tour Dates + 7 Inch Waratorium
Mike Patton To Perform Laborintus II at Sydney Festival 2014
Watch: Faith No More Cover Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Niggas in Paris”
Trevor Dunn Says Mr. Bungle Will Not Be Reuniting
WATCH: Tomahawk Makes U.S. Television Debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Faith No More – Coachella Stage
Mike Patton to Release Music From The Film and Inspired By The Book The Solitude of Prime Numbers November 1
Mike Patton Says Faith No More Don’t Want to Overdo Their Reunion
WATCH: Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane Full Concert Performance From Santiago, Chile
More Details on Mondo Cane Album
Fantômas Still on Hiatus, Have Not Recorded Together Since 2003 Says King Buzzo
Listen: Stream Secret Chiefs 3 and Mike Patton’s Collaboration “La Chanson De Jacky”
Tomahawk Performs New Songs at Nashville Show Including “Oddfellows,” “Baby Let’s Play,” “White Hats” and More
The Place Beyond the Pines Announce Film Giveaway Contest
Soulsavers Enlist Mike Patton and Jason Pierce for New Album
Faith No More To Play Chile’s Maquinaria Festival
Secret Chiefs 3: Traditionalists Collaborates with Mike Patton For Vinyl Single
Listen: Stream Tomahawk’s New Song “Stone Letter”
Mike Patton’s The Place Beyond the Pines Film Score To Be Released on Vinyl
Mike Patton to Score Horror Film “The Vatican Tapes”

Reviews
Kaada / Patton – Romances
Peeping Tom – Peeping Tom
Guano Padano – 2
Ghost Dance – Tomahawk and Retox Live at the Mayan Theatre Los Angeles (Review, Photos, Set List, More)
Mike Patton – Mondo Cane
It’s It – Faith No More Live at the Palladium
Mike Patton – Luciano Berio Laborintus II
Fantomas – Delirium Cordia
Mike Patton – The Place Beyond the Pines (Original Soundtrack)
General Patton Vs. The X-Ecutioners – General Patton Vs. The X-Ecutioners
Fantomas – Suspended Animation
A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi – Beck, Mike Patton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp-Muhl, Ed Droste, Zola Jesus and More Pay Tribute to Serge Gainsbourg at the Hollywood Bowl

Top Story
Faith No More to Play Classic King For a Day Album with Trey Spruance in Santiago, Chile
Faith No More Adds Final Reunion Tour Dates in Chile and Los Angeles

Related Trevor Dunn Content:

News
The Melvins Lite Attempt To Break Guiness World Record For Fastest Tour of the US on Fall Tour Playing 51 Dates
Tomahawk Announce New Album Oddfellows For Fall 2012 Release

Reviews
If By Yes Live at Elysium SXSW

Related Tomahawk Content:

Features
Interview with Battles’ John Stanier

News
Listen: Tomahawk Releases Stream of New Song “Oddfellows”
Fun Fun Fun Fest Announces 5 More Bands For 2012 Festival Including Tomahawk and Bob Mould
Tomahawk Announces 2013 Summer Tour Dates
Tomahawk To Issue All Three Of Their Albums on Vinyl For Record Store Day Release
Watch: Tomahawk Release Stream of George Jones’ Cover “Just One More”
Voodoo Music Experience Announces Initial 2012 Lineup Featuring Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Skrillex, Tomahawk and More
Tomahawk Announces Winter 2013 Tour Dates
Tomahawk Announces Summer 2013 Tour Dates
The Unsemble (Members of Tomahawk, Einstürzende Neubaten and Silver Jews) Announce Self-Titled Debut for March 2014 Release
WATCH: Tomahawk Perform at For Noise Festival 2013

Reviews
Tomahawk – Mit Gas
Tomahawk – Oddfellows

Top Story
Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012 Lineup Announced Featuring Run-D.M.C., Santigold, Refused and Many More

Related John Stanier Content:

News
Battles Announces Summer 2012 Tour Dates

Related Duane Denison Content:

Reviews
U.S.S.A. – The Spoils

Comments