Answering the Questions: A Handy Guide to the Band Tool in 2014

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Photos by Jim Bricker
A. INTRODUCTION

You've probably read online that Tool is touring again (and was in fact in Houston Tuesday night), and if you're like most music fans you probably have a lot of questions. According to the rules of rock, bands only tour for a handful of reasons, and since you haven't heard any news about Tool recently, you're probably thinking you missed something big.

REWIND: Tool at Toyota Center, 3/25/2014


Fear not, casual to semi-casual Tool fan; we just saw them live and we can answer any question you might have.

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10 More Aging Pop-Star Tours We'd Like to See

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Photo by Jason Wolter
Sting
This Saturday night, Houston will be greeted by two very familiar faces: Sting and Paul Simon. The two are legends in their respective fields, and although their music doesn't quite sound similar, the tour is welcome all the same. It's sort of like Elton John and Billy Joel, only a little less obvious when you read their names together.

I know I'd like to see more of this. If nothing else, it's two for the price of one off the old concert bucket list. It's also an opportunity to see, as in the case of John and Joel, collaborations between two old favorites as a segue during the show. Here's ten more I'd like to see hit the road together for a tour.


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Seven Bad Singers in Good Bands

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Photo by Groovehouse
Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth
I'm willing to bet you've heard more than one band and thought, "that guy can't sing." Maybe you even liked the music, but the singer was just so awful it ruined it for you. It's not simply the domain of local bands who couldn't find a decent singer off Craigslist either. Some popular bands have singers so bad they can ruin the whole band, though more often than not it can thankfully be overlooked.

It's hard to understand how it happens. Maybe they just really like the person, or maybe they just really couldn't find anyone else and got stuck. No matter how though, it's a recurring issue, and these are just a handful of the bad singers you find fronting great bands.

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Six Ways to Enjoy a Concert More

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flattop341 via Flickr
At least someone in this audience is pissed off at the person next to them.
As a fairly extroverted person who is hyper in general and also suffers from a crippling caffeine addiction, I'm constantly going out and doing things, especially things that involve large crowds and performance. Translation: I go to a lot of concerts and live shows. This is a passion that some of my more introverted friends don't quite get.

I understand where they're coming from. To an introverted person, the atmosphere of a live show can be absolutely dreadful. You've either got people trampling over you having a good time themselves, or you don't really know how to take in such an environment without just wanting to go home and be alone for a while.

There are things that we can all do to help with this. I came up with some advice for both those who want to have a better time at concerts but don't know how, and some advice for those people who trample on others' good times. While the latter could probably be boiled down to "don't be an asshole," where would the fun be in that? So here's six ways you can have fun at a concert that will benefit you no matter what camp you fall into.

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What the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Got Wrong This Year

Categories: Rock Show

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Photo by Groovehouse
KISS at the 2011 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
You can never get a Hall of Fame induction class exactly right.

Every single year near the Super Bowl, the NFL's inductees have plenty of detractors. But there may not be a cattier Hall of Fame process than the one employed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Monday night, the Hall revealed its 2014 class, highlighted by Nirvana in their first year of eligibility and KISS finally breaking through on their 15th. Sadly, it also means they aren't fulfilling their promise of buying Cleveland's most welcoming landmark and firing everybody. Those two figures seemed to be mortal locks, one being arguably the most influential band since Zeppelin and the other once more bringing shock and macabre pageantry back to rock and roll.


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Blondie & X at Warehouse Live, 9/27/2013

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Photos by Jason Wolter
X, featuring Exene Cervenka (left)
Blondie, X
Warehouse Live
September 27, 2013

Blondie's show last Friday night was a far cry from faultless. And I, like everyone else on the packed floor of Warehouse Live, could've cared less. It was Blondie.

Opening band X played a fairly long set of sustainable American music that sounded pretty much exactly as it did in 1977 when this L.A.-based outfit got started. I guess this is the beauty of classic American punk rock: generally it is somewhat innocuous in the respect that it could have been made 36 years ago or 36 days ago and no one could really tell the difference.


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Your Guide to This Year's Mayhem Fest

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Last week, I told you all about the Summer Slaughter Tour which blew through the House of Blues this past Saturday, and alluded to the numerous metal tours still to come up. Well, you may have just had your ass kicked last weekend, but it's already time for another one. This weekend's fest is the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, or more simply Mayhem Fest.

The long-running tour features a much bigger and more populist lineup than Summer Slaughter's niche metalcore, but even then it might leave you in the dust with the amount of names and various styles. That's why I'm once again here to help and provide you with all you need to know about Saturday's headbanging madness.

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Last Night: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at Stafford Centre

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Photos by Jim Bricker
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
Stafford Centre
April 17, 2013

If you grew up during a particular window of the early 1980s, there were certain things you couldn't escape: economic malaise, the San Francisco 49ers, and MTV. If you were an early enough adopter of Music Television, you were more than familiar with the likes of Triumph, April Wine, and .38 Special.

But you were probably even more aware of Patricia Andrzejewski, known colloquially as Pat Benatar. Everybody knows the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video aired on MTV, but not as many realize the second was Benatar's "You Better Run," or that Benatar's husband of 31 years (and collaborator for even more), Neil Giraldo, was the first guitarist featured on the network as well.

It helps explain why he's now sharing a bill with his much more recognizable wife, and the pair's Sonny and Cher vibe helped guide what Benatar described as an "unstructured evening" of songs.


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Mississippi-Bred the Weeks Hope That You Know Bo

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Photo courtesy of Big Hassle Media
When the Beatles were signing acts to their Apple Records label, it proved to be both advantageous and not so much for Badfinger. For while that band got great exposure, they were also tagged as the "Baby Beatles" for their somewhat similar looks and musical styles.

It's a situation that members of the Weeks hope to avoid in the wake of their signing to the Kings of Leon's new label, Serpents and Snakes. It will release the Weeks' upcoming full-length record, Dear Bo Jackson, on April 30.

Still, if comparisons are made, vocalist Cyle Barnes (who does sound an awful lot like Caleb Followill) sees it more as a badge of honor.

"Well...if people say that, it's not a problem. Our sounds are very different," he says. "And hey, if you get compared to a band, I don't mind being compared to them! I mean, they are a big band for a reason, and they're one of our favorites."


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Last Night: Flogging Molly at House of Blues

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Angelica Leicht
Flogging Molly at House of Blues

Flogging Molly
February 17, 2013
House of Blues

Damn, I wish I was Irish.

So does half of Houston, apparently, judging by last night's sold out Flogging Molly concert at House of Blues.

Thanks to the salty sea-dog opener Skinny Lister (who deserve much more than my little mention; they were ridiculously entertaining), the crowd was bouncing and pushing before frontman Dave King and company ever made it on stage.

The Who's "Baba O'Riley" blared over the speakers during the interlude and forced the crowd into an impromptu dance party, and an idiot throwing Pabst cans riled up the crowd, which was already bordering on the point of explosion.

Flogging Molly, LA's seven-person Celtic punk band, who blend traditional Celtic, Irish, and Folk with ridiculously loud and boisterous punk music, create a sound that is super-charged with energy, and last night was no anomaly. When they hit the stage, they were definitely loud.

And awesome.

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