The tsunami of sound that is Mastodon, swept through Landsdown Street and the House of Blues on May 8th and left a wake of musical destruction behind as they tore through an unrelenting and monstrous twenty-song set list. Troy Sanders (bass, vox), Bill Kelliher (guitar), Brent Hinds (guitar, vox) and Brann Dailor (drums, vox) took no prisoners by opening their set with the galloping “Sultan’s Curse”. From the start, it was clear, that the audience was in for a wild ride.
The band, who call Atlanta, Georgia their hometown – put their fans in a stranglehold with the blistering “Ancient Kingdom”, the pummeling and dramatic “Ember City” and “Andromeda”. Just over half way through their set, they interjected the more radio-friendly “Show Yourself” that they have been prone to perform on the late-night television circuit to help promote their latest release Emperor of Sand.
Guitarists Hinds and Kelliher traded riffs, licks and well-orchestrated fretboard fireworks as Sanders and Dailor handled most of the lead vocal duties. It should be noted that Brann Dailor’s aptitude behind the kit is one that should be witnessed firsthand. Other highlights included the grungy “Steambreather” and the set’s finale, “March of the Fire Ants” – a brutal assault on the senses, plucked from their rookie release, Remission.
Mastodon kept the jib-jab to a minimum between songs and stayed somewhat hidden in the shadows for most of the set. They were clearly more focused on their music than worrying about their appearance. Mastodon was dwarfed by several tall and this LED video screens that were illuminated with trippy visuals that were cleverly and subtly tied into each song.
Eagles of Death Metal, led by Jesse Hughes (lead vox, guitar) may have had the most fun on stage, compared to the bands that would bookend the evening. Right off the bat, EODM set the mood with having Mastodon’s tatted guitarist Brent Hinds join the band for “I Only Want You”. The band clearly had fun with “Complexity” and a masterful cover of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” which popped up later in the set – to the delight of many. EODM’s final offering included a power chord duel between Hughes and fellow guitarist David Catching, a drum solo from Brantley Gilbert, a bass solo a la Jenny Vee and other rock and roll shenanigans to put the icing on the cake.
Chicago’s Russian Circles, who were the first act of the night, got the ball rolling with their controlled set of unique and heavy instrumental compositions. Circles played in the dark, save a few blasts from their backlighting. The talented trio skillfully trudged through their four-song set that included the complex and intriguing “Harper Lewis” and “Defecit”.