Epic. A nearly two-hour show of guitar windmills, endless stick twirls, karate kicks, ponderous, psychedelic lyrics and massive riffs. You could watch The Soundtrack of Our Lives and spend the whole time picking apart the references: The Who, Stones, Pink Floyd, Love, Spirit, Faces, Beatles, etc. But to do so is to miss the point of TSOOL, who distill everything that is great about rock's classic late '60s / early '70s era into one incredible band. And an even better live show. Seriously, these guys knock it out of the park every time.
The band are supporting their fifth album, the 24-track Communion, and most of the show is from that, which is fine as it rivals Behind the Music as their best album. I wish we'd gotten the pastoral "Pictures of Youth" but it's hard to complain with the nice selection from all five TSOOL albums. We got "Thrill Me," "RA 88," "Flipside," the building "Second Life Replay" and their incredible, genius cover of Nick Drake's "Fly" from the new record, plus "Big Time," "Nevermore," "Firmament Vacation" and more… so many songs I can't remember them all.
The encore was nearly as long as the main set, and began with "Sister Surround," the closest TSOOL have come to a hit in America and, no matter how many times I've seen them do it, never ever ever gets old. Much like the rock moves that are their bread and butter. In other hands it'd be cheesy, but it's like they invented them, though guitarist Mattias Bärjed's red satin Who jacket (probably an original) reminds you of the past.
TSOOL play Bowery Ballroom tonight. Tickets are still available. Seriously, go see them. And they've got some other dates around the US too:
Mar 12 Bowery Ballroom New York
Mar 13 Double door Chicago
Mar 15 The Independent San Fransisco
Mar 16 Trubadour Los Angeles
Communion got a good review in Pitchfork today, even if it reads at least a point higher than its 6.2 rating.