29th Nov. Birmingham O2
Mastodon was a band that I wanted to see live ever since a friend of mine introduced me to the song Blood and Thunder back in like 2009 or something, this being in a time when I was very naive to (at its best and worst) metal music. So when I heard it, it sounded so raw and aggressive yet melodic and well constructed unlike most of the generic music I had been exposed to beforehand (I was kind of late to the whole music thing in general). As I delved deeper into their other music (at this point more exposed to metal and alternative music) they became one of my favourite bands of the last 3 or so years. With a mix of so many styles and just a massive sense of power behind each riff I just ate it up, becoming so influenced and inspired by a band like this I’m surprised I only managed to catch them during their current tour (2014).
So here’s the kind of crappy part... I was enjoying the second supporting act -Big Business!! Check them out- they were getting to the end of their set and it was fucking awesome. There was just a bass player with a fuck-ton of distortion and a bellowing voice coupled with an amazingly loud and complex drummer. I remember thinking “This drummer is incredible” and next thing I know I start to learn forward and just couldn’t stop myself... everything went black. A friend helped me up and guided me outside as I took a pretty bad thump to the head, courtesy of gravity and the floor. I honestly don’t know what happened it could have been; a mix of smoking too much, the environment, not enough sleep or food? But apart from feeling a little light headed on the train journey in it just kind of came out of nowhere. I didn’t feel anxious or uncomfortable, quite the opposite, I was having a good time. It just felt like someone pulled the plug all of a sudden... strange!
That aside! Mastodon played an awesome mix of songs and I managed to get back in before they started. I was surprised at how well their new material worked on stage as I had not seen them performed at a smaller venue. In particular I mean the song ‘’ which was my personal favourite of the night along with ‘March of the fire ants’ ‘Blood and Thunder’ and ‘Oblivion’. They didn’t half arse any elements of their songs and even after a lengthy set crammed with quite a lot of material they still managed to blast out Blood and Thunder full force to end the set.
It all ended with a few choice words from Brann thanking the audience and referring to Birmingham as “the birthplace of heavy metal” obviously leading to quite a reaction from the crowd. So in summary I couldn’t quite enjoy the first half as much as I wanted and didn’t get as involved in the crowd as I would have liked to but once the concussion wore off it was great! The choice of songs and overall sound was great. Each element of the band had its due. The bass really resonated well and locked in with the drum sound. The size of the venue really complimented Troy’s thundering bass sound and the heavier guitar parts. The more melodic driven parts and solo’s were clear and not at all muddy. The crowd seemed involved and pretty insane throughout (even though I took to the back). And then I went home to rest my weary and bruised head and sleep it off. While I didn’t experience it how I would have ideally wanted... Fuck it! It was Mastodon and it was brilliant.
Special thanks to the people who helped me outside when I couldn’t see shit and could barely walk... oh and to the stewards who brought me water and let me back in and didn’t assume I was on acid or something... or maybe they did and just didn’t give a fuck. Oh and sorry if I fell into anyone!