I saw Mastodon
on Thursday night (4-29). I'm mixed on the show...
Most importantly, Bill was a no-show. He was hospitalized a couple days before the show. They postponed their Rochester show which was two days before Grand Rapids, so I'm fortunate to have gotten to see them at all. The guy I was with told me Bill is rumored to have a terrible drinking problem, and that's what the hospitalization was for. I haven't seen anything online saying anything one way or the other.
They started off playing all of Crack the Skye. A guy from Baroness stood in on guitar for the first few songs (Pete??? maybe?), but I think they were down to a three-piece after The Czar, maybe after Ghost of Karelia. They were a three-piece the remainder of the night.
Big negative: They only went through the first six songs of Crack the Skye. The Last Baron didn't get played, which was extremely disappointing for me.
04. The Czar
05. Ghost of Karelia
06. Crack the Skye
07. Crystal Skull
08. I Am Ahab
09. Circle of Cysquatch
10. Aqua Dementia
11. Iron Tusk > March of the Fire Ants
12. Blood and Thunder
Seeing other sets from this tour, this set is about four songs shorter than the others when Bill was with them. Based on when I sent my wife a text at the beginning of their show, I estimate they only played about an hour and fifteen minutes, maybe even slightly less, so there could be a song or two from above they didn't even play.
Musically, these guys were fabulous. Some of the later songs had heavy, heavy riffage.
I mean, it was head-crushing heavy. It was awesome to see a band like this get on stage and headbang the fuck out. In my opinion, they clearly had more interest and energy after they got through Crack the Skye. I got the impression that those songs are starting to drag on them a little bit, which would be understandable considering they've been playing it non-stop for quite some time now.
Vocally, that's where my criticism is of the performance. Troy was pretty solid anytime he was on the mic, though he was spotty at times. Brent, on the other hand, was below average at best. His vocals were like a mumbling, off-key version of Beavis and he seemed to really struggle through most every song. It's something that would really boost the shows of these guys. (Also, Brent sang the verses of Oblivion. I could've sworn Brann normally does 'em.)
The visualizations behind the band were awesome. They had great repeating animations of the Blood Mountain cover as well as the Leviathan cover. The Leviathan one had flashes of lightning and snow falling repeatedly over the whale as night faded in and out during the songs.
I'd like to see these guys again, especially when all four guys are on stage. It was an all ages show, so I felt very, very old.