Tool, who are coming to San Diego to kick off a second leg of touring at Viejas Arena for two nights

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

After a successful autumn run across the United States, progressive metal titans Tool kick off their second leg of their national tour this weekend at Viejas Arena.

The tour comes after the August release of the band’s critically acclaimed and highly anticipated fifth studio album, Fear Inoculum, which is Tool’s first release in 13 years. The tour and album release also coincided with Tool’s fully joining the digital age–their entire discography was finally made available on Spotify in August, after years of them holding out.

This past November, it was announced that San Diego-based industrial doom act Author & Punisher would open for 10 domestic shows on the second leg of Tool’s tour before the headliner takes off for Europe and makes an appearance at Bonnaroo in June. 

Author & Punisher, who is UCSD mechanical engineering researcher Tristan Shone, has developed a cult following over the years for a crushing industrial sound produced by drone and dub machines he made from the bolts up. Seeing him live is an intense experience–Shone’s physicality while operating heavy machinery matches up with a grinding, overwhelming sound that will impress even the most staunch of doom enthusiasts. His latest release, Beastland, which came out in 2018 on Relapse Records, makes up the majority of his set during his last two years of touring.

Shone explains in an interview that this is actually the third time Tool has asked him to tour with them, and it just happened that the timing was right this go-around. He initially met Tool drummer Danny Carey and his wife while playing the Stumpfest festival, and from there slowly met most of the rest of the band, all of whom have become fans.

“They pick like bands like Isis, Big Business and all these bands that have no reason to be playing arenas,” Shone says of the acts that usually open for Tool. “That’s awesome. I’m super stoked and honored and thankful. They don’t care if the band draws, you know? As long as the sound is right.”

Both acts are known for intense sounds at high volumes with intricate visuals, so those going should be expected to be physically, aurally, visually and emotionally blown away by both the headliner and opener. The bad news? Both of the shows are sold out. If it’s possible to spring for the expensive secondhand tickets, this is one show that honestly might just be worth it.

Words by: Jackie Bryant