Posted 11 May 2010 - 07:43 AM
To preface: I've seen Mastodon four times (counting tonight), three of which they played CTS in its entirety, so this isn't nearly the first time I've heard most of the stuff they played. And just to put this post in context, the guys were off yesterday but had played the "Missing Link" 'festival' in Oakland the day before yesterday.
I believe this was their set tonight:
4 The Czar
5 Ghost Of Karelia
6 Crack The Skye
7 The Last Baron
Very short intermission while they put up a 3rd mic (for Bill) and changed around Brann's kit a bit:
8 Crusher Destroyer
9 Crystal Skull
10 I Am Ahab
11 Capillarian Crest
12 Circle Of Cysquatch
13 Aqua Dementia
14 Iron Tusk
15 March of the Fire Ants
16 Blood and Thunder
First off, I wish to god I had soundboard recordings of Capillarian Crest and Circle of Cysquatch I could share. In all the times I've seen them live I have never, ever heard Brent screaming like he did on those two particular songs tonight. It's the stuff I honestly only expected on albums, he really fucking let loose and it paid off in spades for the audience. In the times I've seen them in the past Brent's mic often seems a little to low, or his voice not quite at full power during the blatant screaming sections of those (and other) songs (the ones that feature his screams anyway), but tonight... God DAMNIT he was a vocal powerhouse when it came time to really belt shit out.
Not to sound like a dick, but I just didn't think he had it in him to produce those types of vocals any more (based on older concert footage I've seen and my own experiences).
Okay, besides Brent's impressive screaming tonight there was a whole lot more the guys had going for them. First and foremost they were very, very aware of the audience, and played off us well. The McDonald Theater in Eugene Oregon has a smaller stage than other venues I've seen them, and a side effect of this is that whoever stands right up front and center can effectively block whose ever playing on drums, or video screens etc. Troy did a great job of using the rest of the stage to his advantage by moving aside when he wasn't singing so the audience could enjoy Brann's performance too.
Although his drumming was great as always I wanted to mention that vocally Brann was fucking killing it. His vocal harmonies on songs like Ghost of Karelia were coming in loud and clear. In sections where he would harmonize with Troy you could hear them both loud and clear and they played off each other well. Normally I only ever really hear him during Obvlion, but tonight he had a much bigger presence throughout CTS.
CTS actually seemed as if it were played at a slightly higher tempo tonight, and the entire album felt energetic and alive. I've mentioned in the past how much more I prefer Blood Mountain material live, but even though this was the third time I've seen this album performed in full it is by far my favorite performance of it. I was actually surprised how fast it seemed to go by, by the time the entire crowd was shouting "The Last Barooooonnnnnn!! along with the band I still felt as though we were only just getting started. Time flies when you're having fun.
Also, Troy's screaming sounded great (especially at the end of the song Crack the Skye). I personally love it when he uses that particular vocal style.
The only real technical difficulties during the mastodon set were very minor. Troy's mic was a tad too loud for the first couple songs of CTS, the video screen had a small section spazz out for about 20 seconds, and Troy's special mic he uses for the roboto voice during Circle of Cysquatch produced no sound at all, but the rest of the set sounded great. The McDonald theater has got much, much better acoustics than any of the other places I've seen Mastodon, and because of this the sound was much crisper and cleaner than I've grown to expect.
We were treated to an extended solo by Brent at the end of The Last Baron, and I've never heard the end of CTS fade out better. When the song ended the first word out of my mouth was, "Fuuuuuuuccck!!". Brent also jammed quite a bit between songs while equipment was swapped out between individual songs in the later half of the show, and it helped keep the energy flowing while the crowd eagerly anticipated the next song each time.
I mentioned that the guys were aware of the audience, you could tell they were having a good time. Brann made himself known between songs, standing up, waving, and throwing horns while Brent was solo jamming for us. Brent spent a lot of time right up on the edge of the stage playing to the crowd directly at his feet, and he and Bill did some nice guitar harmonies side by side later on in the show.
Brann let us know that this was their very first time playing in Eugene Oregon, which kinda surprised me based on how many people actually knew so many of their songs. The show was packed and the crowd was shouting and singing along with all kinds of shit. We don't get many great acts down this way, as we're typically stuck driving a couple hours to Portland instead. But even though we have crap for radio stations down here, and even though Mastodon has never played here you wouldn't know it based on the audience participation, even for Baroness. The people around me really knew their Mastodon lyrics, that in itself made for a fun show.
Speaking of Baroness, god damn they are a great live band. I was a little distracted during their set at first when Brann and his posse (family & friends) came out and stood in the center of the GA floor to watch Baroness perform, and rocked out with us -- but soon enough all attention was soon turned back to the stage where Baroness was putting on a hell of a stage show. They were half the reason I was at that show, and I am really glad I got to see them since they skipped Oregon during their own tour for their latest release, The Blue Album.
I don't really know much about Between the Buried and Me. Their music is really hard to digest when you're hearing it for the first time up on stage because it is very proggy. I know all their songs off Colors, but they only played one off that album, while the rest were from Alaska and The Great Misdirect. They sounded great (vocalist mic was a little low), but I have no idea if they screwed up any songs or not because they're new to me. Judging their performance based on the people around me (who are apparent big fans), they loved every song.
Valient Thorr was a great opener. They rocked the fucking house as a matter of fact and had the whole crowd fist pumping along with them by the end of their set. Although no where near Jacob Bannon levels of activity, their singer gives an active performance and spouts tons of dialogue between songs, much akin to the way Suicidal Tendencies does before many of their songs. The dialogue is typically funny tales that end with a moral to the story that ties in directly to the upcoming song. With songs about Future Police and dialogue about topics like Robo-cop and The Terminator it's worth listening to his ravings before the kick-beat of their rock and roll inspired metal kicks off.
All in all it's my favorite Mastodon performance to date. The crowd absolutely loved the show and you could just feel the energy in the place, it was wild. My only regret is not being more familiar with BTBAM's music so I could have better enjoyed their set.
Sadly I get the feeling we might be closing in the end of an Era. I can't imagine these guys playing small venues like this much longer. With their stadium tour coming up at the end of the year (with AiC), and their growing notoriety... I fear that the closest I'll ever get to seeing them perform again will be in row 300 of some stadium after their next album comes out.
P.S.: The turbulent 'flight through the star clusters' sequence on the video screen that takes us through the song Divinations is so god damned fitting. I'm really glad they tied the video on the screen so much more closely to the music, it's fucking great.
Posted 11 May 2010 - 11:49 AM
Oh, and about the end of an era....I know for a fact if Troy can help it, they will always keep their shows going in smaller venues.
Posted 11 May 2010 - 02:42 PM
Posted 11 May 2010 - 02:47 PM
Posted 11 May 2010 - 04:21 PM
P.S. SHORTYZ IS BACK
Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:19 PM
P.S. SHORTYZ IS BACK
one of the worst posters in our history.
Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:33 PM
Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:51 PM
Posted 11 May 2010 - 09:49 PM
Posted 11 May 2010 - 10:32 PM
Posted 12 May 2010 - 01:39 AM
Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:20 AM
Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:03 PM
Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:13 PM
What do you think is making Brent even better vocally?
Heroin and multivitamins.
Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:32 PM
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