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MASTODON Live In Dublin, Ireland

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 10:28 AM


At Dublin's Academy

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Review By Justin Ryan

Subject of a recent one million euro($1.5m) face lift, Dublin's Academy venue on Abbey Street tonight hosted the perennially impressive MASTODON. In promotion of their most recent studio release, Once More 'Round The Sun, the Atlanta, Georgia quartet's intensive new European tour commences here, weaving its way across fourteen countries in thirty days. Twenty two shows are scheduled to be played, the tour concluding at "The Circus" venue in Helsinki, Finland on Friday, 19th December, 2014.

There were two support acts on this evening's bill. KROKODIL, a British band who recently released their debut album, Nachash on Spinefarm Records commenced proceedings at 7:20pm. The band consists of members of several other U.K. metal bands such as SIKTH, CRY FOR SILENCE, GALLOWS and HEXES. Delivering a short set of material encompassing a variety of metal and hardcore elements, their choice of vocal style is harsh, in the extreme.

Next to take stage were BIG BUSINESS. Four albums into their career, the Seattle duo of Jared Warren(bass) and drummer Coady Willis(both of whom are also part of THE MELVINS' current line up) delivered an earth shattering thirty minute set of low end thunder. Combining the doom laden grooves of BLACK SABBATH mixed with the desert rock of KYUSS, added to the growl and speed of MOTORHEAD results in a sound that shakes teeth fillings loose. Skinsman Coady Willis threatened to pop his arms out of their sockets during his half hour drumming masterclass. Warren's bass lines were also impressive but it has to be said that this band would be so much more of a live proposition if it included an accomplished guitarist; after all, everything else is in order.

At 9:07pm, the packed one thousand person sold out venue welcomed the headliners, MASTODON, onto the stage who were set up to play in front of a backdrop banner of similar, but not identical artwork to Oakland artist Skinner's current album cover. Tonight's show was kickstarted by the stage being lit up from complete darkness by a sudden, lasting,blast of green lighting (clever use of lighting was utilized throughout the show). "Tread Lightly" being chosen as the gig's opening number, the title track from their latest album quickly followed, then Blasteroid" from 2011's essential, The Hunter record. Apart from a "We love you guys!" from lead guitarist Brent Hinds in appreciation of the absolute chaos on the floor standing section before the night's third tune, there was absolutely no stage banter with the crowd in the first hour of the show. With only the slightest pause between each song, it became apparent that the concert format that MASTODON had chosen for the night was one of utter sonic relentlessness. This modus operandi effectively meant that the night's set list was played as one continuous piece of music, the crowd barely having time to cheer the completion of one song before the opening notes of the next one were picked. The format worked brilliantly, MASTODON's vast range of impressive material creating an intensity and adrenaline rush of such fever pitch proportions that during the thrashing "Megalodon", lead guitarist Brent Hind's microphone stand and microphone made their way into the third row of the audience. Fortunately,a member of the road crew was at hand to rescue it from the souvenir hungry crowd!

Eight songs off the new record made the set list this evening, each new song in turn was greeted with a warm reception. Although containing sufficient elements of the band's original signature sound for it to be clearly identifiable as that of MASTODON, the new material is mostly a more easily accessible, polished hard rock/grungy/up tempo heavy metal sound. That said, the quality of the new material is high (only three of the eleven new songs are not so good, namely "Aunt Lisa", "Chimes At Midnight" and "Diamond In The Witch House"). Choosing to load tonight's show with new material could be interpreted as a signal from the band that they are entering a new sound era and therefore the much older, less commercial, immensely heavy, early back catalog material will be sacrificed for their new sound. Only time will tell; the next album could be a key indicator as to MASTODON's future sound direction.

A total of eighteen songs were performed this evening, over a running time of an hour and a half. Although the concert was front loaded with tracks off the new record, apart from "Ember City", the last seven songs played were from earlier works. "Ol'e Nessie", from 2002's stunning Remission album was a particular highlight; it was the lone song from that album to make tonight's set list. Two songs a piece from the albums Crack The Skye ("Oblivion" and "Divinations"), Blood Mountain ("Bladecatcher" and "Crystal Skull") and The Hunter ("Blasteroid" and "Black Tongue") were performed flawlessly as were three songs culled from 2004's Leviathan record("Aqua Dementia","Megalodon" and "Blood And Thunder"). In keeping with the aforementioned gig format, there was no encore; "Blood and Thunder" being selected as the concert's final number. To close the show, time was taken by each band member to salute the audience, bassist Troy Sanders commenting, "Thank you so much. There's no better place to start a tour than Dublin!". Guitarist Brent Hinds and the man with the Irish blood, Bill Kelliher did their best to give everyone a guitar plectrum and shake hands with those close to the stage exit. Drummer Brann Dailor had the night's final words. "So Dublin, what did you think of that! If you want any more,I'll have to take a nap back stage first!". He finished by dedicating the concert to the recently deceased Isaiah Randolph "Ikey" Owens (December 1, 1974 Ė October 14, 2014), who contributed keyboards to the track "Pendulous Skin" from the album Blood Mountain.

Setlist:

  • "Tread Lightly"
  • "Once More 'Round The Sun"
  • "Blasteroid"
  • "Oblivion"
  • "The Motherload"
  • "Chimes At Midnight"
  • "High Road"
  • "Aqua Dementia"
  • "Ol'e Nessie"
  • "Halloween"
  • "Aunt Lisa"
  • "Divinations"
  • "Bladecatcher"
  • "Black Tongue"
  • "Ember City"
  • "Megalodon"
  • "Crystal Skull"
  • "Blood And Thunder"


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