Monday, October 5, 2009

Mastodon - Dethklok Concert Review

I had the opportunity on Saturday (10-3-09) to see Mastodon play the WaMu Theater here in Seattle, and I figured this blog would be a fine place to share my feelings.

The WaMu Theater isn't much more than a corner of Seahawks Stadium, but they can pack a bunch of people in there, and the huge industrial strength curtains along all the walls make for a fine acoustic setup. The bill was as follows: High on Fire and Converge opened, with Mastodon and Dethklok sharing the top billing. There were three beer gardens, pouring $8.25 pints of Sierra Nevada, Ea was promoting Brutal Legend with a gameplay booth, and the t-shirt merch selection was pretty damned epic and priced to sell. It all sounds great... except for the $8 beers.

High on Fire started off the night. These guys sound like a pissed off Motorhead to me. I've seen them open for other acts a few times, but I don't know their songs, and I'm not really in a position to grade their performance. They seem like a solid band. I'm not sure I can say the same for Converge however. Once again, I'm not very familiar, and all their songs blended together for me into a bunch of sludgy screaming. But you didn't start reading this post to learn what I think of Converge... right?

Mastodon was next on stage, but for the sake of my article's main point... I'm going to skip them and cover Dethklok first. Dethklok is a joke band of course... but the touring band they put together for the show was tight, and the accompanying videos they played were funny. Not my thing really. We left after three songs feeling like we'd seen it all. We collectively wondered how long they were going to play, but I guess we'll never know. Mastodon tore through an epic set, and I just can't imagine a Adult Swim joke band being entertaining that long.

Now for Mastodon.

First of all, you should know my opinion of Mastodon. Mastodon is the absolute fucking greatest band still recording! As far as I'm concerned, they are the only metal band of the decade that matters... and the only young metal band that deserves to be compared to the Metallicas and Slayers of the world.

Mastodon's set list was very similar to the last time I saw them. They are very much still promoting their (mind blowing) new album "Crack The Skye". Just like the last time I saw them, they started out playing the entire new album, in order. There wasn't any interaction with the audience this time around. Mastodon was letting the music speak for them. The highlights for me were the epics "The Czar" and "The Last Barron". Watching Brent Hinds go crazy at the end of "The Last Baron" was worth the price of admission alone.

Once they finished the "Crack the Skye" material, Mastodon worked back in time through their body of work. Playing two songs from "Blood Mountain", "Leviathan", and then "Remission". They finished things off with a song I wasn't familiar with. Part of me was hoping this was new material, but it sounded more like a Melvin's cover. They ended the evening with Brann walking up to the mic and saying "Thank you Seattle"... the only words exchanged with the audience all night long.

If you are going to see Mastodon this year, you are not going to get a interactive metal extravaganza. You are going to get to see some very hard-core metal geeks playing their music very well. Mastodon is obviously very proud of "Crack the Skye", and want everyone to experience it live. If you have a taste for Mastodon's style of metal, you should let nothing stop you from seeing them this fall.

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