I was at the Granada last night next to the sound board getting ready for Mastodon
to come on, and I'm going to be totally honest here and tell you right now it was pretty unlikely I was going to give this show a bad review. I've loved every album they've put out -- including the one they just released and were rumored to be playing front to back on tour -- and didn't see disliking them unless they completely phoned it in.
I'd like to tell you about how they came on stage and did an amazing show, replicating their studio work astonishingly well while at the same time staying so completely in the moment with one another it was impossible to distinguish the working parts of their music and where one riff or bassline ended and another started.
I'd like to tell you that not only were they technically near-perfect, but they also were a physically imposing stage presence, tossing around guitars and slamming themselves back and forth to the drums. But I can't tell you any of that because somehow Brann Dailor's drumming whipped up a temporal field that, upon interacting with the soundboard's systems, created a wormhole of tachyon particles sucking me back through time and space.
Upon my arrival, I quickly killed a lumbering animal of a species I didn't know. I used its bones and teeth to fashion an enchanted throwing weapon. Then I made for the volcano in the distance, and on my way I met four wise men: Capt. Ahab, Rasputin, The Golem of Prague, and Prometheus, and they told me that all their obsessions were from the same root and I said that was cool. Unfortunately, a lot of bands I hate had also been sucked through the tachyon portal -- like Yes and the Mars Volta. So the wise men butchered them and melted their organs in the volcano and drank from it and somehow managed to make everything I didn't like about those bands awesome. And they named themselves after a long-extinct beast, and if I speak of truth but have not knowledge of the beast I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. Then another portal opened in the earth and I was deposited back at the Granada, so that worked out fine.
As for the show, Mastodon did indeed play their new album, Crack the Skye, all the way through before starting in on the greatest-hits stuff, and if you don't like that, I don't know what we have to talk about. After running down Skye, they played nearly another hour's worth of crazy riffs and drum-fills-where-you-shouldn't-be-able-to-fit-drum-fills and even managed to headbang in rhythm to something like eight time changes a song and didn't even stop to wipe the sweat off their faces. The shit slays. Unfortunately, the set list was sucked into that tachyon portal too, so I can't tell you the exact order for sure. Sorry.
Some of the best metal riffs give you the sense that something's coming -- which is why that semi-truck trying to murder a kid in the highway was the perfect image for the "Enter Sandman" video. Mastodon's riffs do that, but you get the impression that whatever's coming has been here before and knows things you don't want to know. They made me feel like a wounded animal.