Tomahawk plus Ex-Girl, The Ambassador, Dublin, 13th March
I've only been in the venue about ten minutes and I'm already terrified. Three little Japanese girls have taken the stage and are prancing about in weird costumes playing with beach balls. I'm not sure if this is really happening, but, as they belt out their unconventional arrangements and complicated three part harmonies, I decide to go along with the madness as everyone else seems to be. With their ray-guns and sock puppets, Ex-Girl seem to have made some new friends tonight, if the baffling calls for Slayer covers at the end of their set are anything to go by.
Of course it's Tomahawk everyone is here to see tonight. Mike Patton is back in a real band after the madness of Mr Bungle and Fantomas and the fans couldn't be more excited. One guy in particular seems almost orgasmic as the singer takes the stage for a few seconds to press a couple of buttons on his keyboard.
Fortunately for him, Patton and his oddball crew don't disappoint. Ever the consummate showman, the frontman's schizophrenic performance is not in any way hampered by the keyboards and samplers he is stuck behind. When he's not whispering like Ted Lowe afraid of waking the baby, he's screaming like Tarzan with his loincloth caught in the door of a moving taxi. Throughout such songs as '101 North' and 'God Hates A Coward' he rolls around on the floor and thrashes his microphone lead about like someone who failed the auditions for "The Exorcist".
Not that the rest of the band are going to win any awards for normality. Guitarist and bassist alike are dressed in mutated police uniforms as they lash out their fuzzy, chuggy riffs and drummer Duane Dennison does not let his top hat get in the way of some mighty snare action. This is the kind of music that makes you want to eat steak, drink bad American beer and reconsider Vegas as a holiday destination.
As such, the band is very tight and the crowd is led seamlessly from 'Flashback' to 'Laredo', the final song in the encore, with strange band-member introductions and a salute to the mighty potato led by Mike Patton along the way. The mosh-pit is both lively and friendly throughout, which is less surprising when you consider that what looks like Jesus is dancing in the middle of it. Actually, it might have been that guy out of Nickelback-I'm not sure.
Never less than entertaining and frequently better than very good, I am indeed glad that I saw Tomahawk play, for now I have renewed respect for the root vegetable in all its forms. Also, I heard some good songs.