People who pretend to be too cool for Tool are usually shut up by the band's choice of tour openers. Maynard Keenan and company -- or at least their shrewd booking agents -- usually dig below the mainstream, opening up fans to entirely new areas of the heavy-music spectrum. As an example, the last time the band came through South Florida, at the BankAtlantic Center in June 2007, its support came from the Japanese speed-noise act Melt-Banana.
This time around, when Tool returns to the same venue next Monday, the warm-up act is equally unusual and smart. Welcome Yob, a long-running cult doom-metal act from Oregon with no radio pretense and a serious artillery of dirty, down-tuned distortion.
The band had its first underground heyday from the late '90s to the early '00s, in which it toured the country and released four full-length albums, two for the label Metal Blade in 2004 and 2005. The following year, the band announced it was breaking up, but that was short-lived. Since 2008, the group's returned to activity, this time on an international stage, including an appearance at the 2010 Roadburn Festival.
Its most recent album, Atma, appeared on the label Profound Lore last year. Like earlier Yob material, it is full of of long, turgid passages of churning guitar and ground-rattling low ends. What it is not full of, however, is easy, sing-along vocal hooks or anything one might consider "anthemic." Instead, Yob songs reward patient listeners with dark but sublime moments that come after sometimes many minutes of a queasy journey.
Check out a few Yob tracks below. If you like 'em, let's just hope that South Florida fans are polite enough to check out the set... Yob's Facebook page is already infected by posts by haters from Boston who couldn't hang.
Yob, opening for Tool. 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 6, at BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Click here.