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Mastodon - Done, or just getting started?
After leaving the splendid Municipal Waste concert next door I rushed to get ready for one of my all-time favourite acts, Mastodon. I already had to miss out on Totimoshi because of this, and because the venue was completely sold out and packed, I had to make haste and take a piss, grab a beer (a big one of course!) and rush to the front to see my heroes in action! After seeing a pretty poor performance at last year’s Hellfest, I was hoping they would blow me away again this time. Does the band still have its magic?
Mastodon’s Crack The Skye album has pretty much gained them an army of mainstream fans, but also made a lot of the old school fans start to doubt their heroes. I belong to the latter group, for the album didn’t grab me by the balls as much as its predecessors did. I realize it is still a brilliant album, yet it felt a bit like they lost their balls and went prog rock. As soon as they kicked off their set with ‘Oblivion’ I already started to feel that they might play the whole Crack The Skye album, which actually became reality. Just like when I saw them at Hellfest, the band proves not to be able to sing as great as the record makes you think. They try, but obviously fail at certain points. There were some moments where they did make it, but when you’ve known this band long enough you expect nothing less than perfection, and that just wasn’t the case tonight. In the last track disaster struck again, as guitarist Brent Hinds was handed a wrongly tuned guitar several times, restarting the song false and finally ending up tuning the guitar himself.
After they played the entire album they took a short break while their fifth (live) member Rich Morris gave the audience an electronic intermezzo. After this he left, leaving the original four-piece to play some old tracks like ‘Circle Of Cysquatch’, ‘Aqua Dementia’, ‘Where Strides The Behemoth’, ‘March Of The Fire Ants’, ‘Mother Puncher’ and ‘Iron Tusk’. That was all, not merely enough to cover up the damage done in the first part of the set. No ‘Blood And Thunder’ this time. Disappointment took a hold of me, as one of my heroes seemed not to be able to live up to my high expectations anymore. The rest of the crowd (with a lot of newbies that didn’t really seem to enjoy the old material) looked satisfied though. All in all I can say that, besides that the band played excellent instrumentally, if they continue down this path vocally, I am pretty much done. And that is a hard motherfucking fact of life to deal with…