Mastodon - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 19.06.2012
Mastodon - Rock Café, Tallinn, Estonia, 19.06.2012 by Ivor (24)
So, Mastodon came to Tallinn the other day and I finally decided to take up that offer of theirs and go see them live. Apparently, and this comes as a bit of a surprise, so far I seem to have found something else to do when we've been roughly at the same geographical coordinates at roughly the same moments in time, which includes the Hellfest festivals of '07 and '09. Come to think of it, I remember explicitly not being interested in Mastodon on at least one of the occasions. So, what gives?
Well, mostly I got curious what a band with such huge a name is like live and of course to find out what the fuss is all about. After all, they were head and shoulders above the rest in the Metal Storm Awards last year. Judging by that it was going to be either really good, or, which is somewhat more likely given the average tastes of our average voter, average. So, armed with the joyful re-listening experience of their latest album, I set out to the venue to meet this highly esteemed Mastodon.
But first, the warm-up. Shelton San have been around here for a while but I don't remember ever seeing this post rockish stoner collective live. Which can mean two things. Either I haven't indeed seen them, or their performance was not worth remembering. Without digging through my gig going history I'm leaning towards the former, the reasoning being that this is some pretty nice tripping stuff that is definitely enjoyable and memorable live. Apart maybe from the vocals, which at first were fine enough but started to spoil the experience the more you heard them. The pace was also a bit off. However, if you were to speed it up a bit and go completely instrumental this band could potentially deliver an out of body experience to remember. As things were, though, they were a nice introduction to what was to come some moments later.
Being familiar with The Hunter hadn't of course prepared me for Mastodon's live show. And I don't mean it in a sense that I've not heard the rest of their stuff. If you take a closer look at the set list below, you'll find that about two thirds of it consisted of The Hunter. What I got was largely familiar music thrown at me. What I hadn't expected, though I wonder why, was the sheer enormity and power of their sound. Mastodon? Pfft... I mean, this felt like a herd of mastodons advancing at you just beyond the line of the horizon - the low rolling rumble, the ominous wall of sound. This felt like The Great Wall of China itself had grown legs and was stomping over you.
Bloody hell, that felt wicked. Admittedly, the more violent songs of the set aren't exactly to my liking but that doesn't lessen the fact that the drive was all there. Mastodon really got the show going. The fists, the hands, the horns, the singing along - you know, the usual stuff. You could kind of feel the crowd, and not only in the physical sense of an enthusiastic fellow music appreciator beside you. It felt more than that, like at times the crowd sang along to "Octopus Has No Friends," "The Sparrow," or, to what seemed a universally favourite, "Curl of the Burl."
1. Black Tongue (The Hunter)
2. Hand of Stone (Blood Mountain)
3. Crystal Skull (Blood Mountain)
4. Dry Bone Valley (The Hunter)
5. Thickening (The Hunter)
6. The Hunter (The Hunter)
7. Octopus Has No Friends (The Hunter)
8. Stargasm (The Hunter)
9. Blasteroid (The Hunter)
10. Crack the Skye (Crack the Skye)
11. All the Heavy Lifting (The Hunter)
12. Spectrelight (The Hunter)
13. Curl of the Burl (The Hunter)
14. Bedazzled Fingernails (The Hunter)
15. Aqua Dementia (Leviathan)
16. Iron Tusk (Leviathan)
17. March of the Fire Ants (Remission)
18. Blood and Thunder (Leviathan)
19. The Sparrow (The Hunter)
20. Creature Lives (The Hunter)
I can't say the show was brilliant. I've seen better stage performances. I've definitely heard better sound. And I've felt better vibes at a show. However, what I can say is that not often have I felt such power coming from the stage. There's something to this band, living up to the name they are carrying. If things fall in place, Mastodon is worth seeing live. What more, this time I've found a new riff to worship - and judging by the reactions of the crowd, I'm by far not the only one to enjoy "Blood and Thunder."
Shelton San: Homepage, MySpace
Mastodon: Homepage, MySpace
Written on 02.07.2012 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
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