Monday, May 4, 2009

Mastodon: Crack The Skye – LIVE at Metro 4.30.09

Has there ever been a bad word written about Atlanta’s first sons of apocalyptic thunder, Mastodon? I know I've never put them down for anything over the years. It sometimes doesn't seem like they get any negative press it and if there is, it blew right past me. That being said I have no problem adding to the global praise when it’s warranted and without any hesitation this performance was.

Touring in smaller venues, this first voyage in support of their ‘Crack The Skye’ LP sees Mastodon taking on the challenge of bringing their new album to the people in it’s entirety. Challenge? Yes, absolutely. The album is a progressive twisting and turning juggernaut, one that initially seemed like a studio created slab of music intended for live audiences in small doses.

If you’ve listened to ‘Crack The Skye’ you already know that there’s layers upon layers of sound underneath the basic tracks. If these sounds fail to surface it’s not going to work, it simply can’t work. On top of that the vocals...the recorded vocals on the record are fucking brilliantly done...anything less than, again would fuck it all up. By the end of the night I was rather blown away by the whole thing, especially the vocals. Did I go into it thinking my reaction would be so positive? No.

In fact when I first started listening to ‘Crack..’ I didn’t see how they would be able to pull it all off. To be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see them at all. I just didn’t think they had it in them to deliver the album live or if they did, so much would be left out or fucked up and in turn dragging the whole thing down.

I missed both Kylesa and Intronaut due this affliction I have known as baseball addiction…long story and an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I’m not sure how both went over. I’ve seen Kylesa before and they kick ass, I'm sure I'll see them soon. I took advantage of their merch by getting a copy of the killer new LP 'Static Tensions'.

Mastodon played in a dimly lit setting with the majority of the lights coming from their backdrop. Well, it wasn’t just a back drop in the classic concert sense it was a huge LCD screen flashing images and ‘CTS’ related scenery.

Opening with “Oblivion” and without saying a word they proceeded to play the entire record song for song, note for note…un-fucking-real. The vibe of the band has altered a bit and I’m not sure if it was because they were in total concentration mode or something else altogether. It wasn’t a distraction as much as it was cool that they held on to the audience’s attention throughout the album’s duration.

Once the new record had been completed, the band returned to the stage to play a few older songs. The ‘Blood Mountain’ material came across very intense, however it was the closer that caused this fan to have a “full circle” moment surrounded by 1,200+ people gathered for the same thing. That song? ‘March of the Fire Ants’. In some ways it remains the track that started it "all". That was a "hit" video and it helped act as a gateway to their world.

Big thanks to Rodney/CMF and the kid in the "Leviathan" shirt...