Precision strike from Tomahawk
August 31 at Store Vega
With the dimming of the lights and the steady beat of Native American drums, à la the band's third album Anonymous, the stage was set for Tomahawk to scalp the crowd that had assembled at Store Vega.
With a low-key stage entrance, the 'supergroup' – fronted by Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr Bungle and Fantomas, among others – launched into 'God Hates a Coward' and then hardly looked back during a nearly 70-minute set that highlighted the wonderful weirdness of Tomahawk.
Heavy on tracks from the band's first two albums, 2001's Tomahawk and 2003's Mit Gas, the quartet and the Vega audience were one throughout the night, both parties wavering between moments of intense concentration and spastic release.
Although Patton, rightfully seen as a living legend among fans of hard rock and experimental music, was the focal point of the evening with his impressive vocal range and various voice tricks, this was no one man show.
The long, flailing limbs of former Helmet drummer John Stanier and the dapper, smooth bass work by Trevor Dunn were the engine that drove the Tomahawk machine, while Duane Denison, formerly of The Jesus Lizard, was the glue that held it all together.
Copenhagen saw the band play their live debut of 'Choke Neck', a track off of Tomahawk's excellent Oddfellows album from earlier this year. Patton jokingly asked the audience after the performance which member they though had fucked the song up the most, and then gave Stanier some good-natured ribbing before taking the lion's share of the blame himself. From the audience's perspective, however, the live debut was nothing short of a treat, and it fit in seamlessly with the rest of the show.
Patton then told that crowd that if they managed to fuck up the next song, 'Flashback', it was a sure sign that they had gotten too old. Far from showing any signs of age however, the song served to propel the concert into its frantic second half, which saw Tomahawk vacillate between rockers like 'Point and Click' and 'Stone Letter', and Patton's jazz crooning on 'Angel Eyes'.
For a band that went six years between albums and is perhaps better known for the members' previous bands, Tomahawk had all of the precision of the missile that bares their name during a solid, engrossing show.