Before embarking upon a range of dates upon the European mainland, Mastodon popped over to the UK for a mini-tour of smaller venues. Chris Cope was there in Glasgow to watch a Crack The Skye extravaganza
This is loud stuff. Reaching Motorhead-esque volume levels, Mastodon seem to have laced their guitar leads with dynamite, and after a couple of songs in, the crowd’s ears are both pricking excitedly but also curling over to try and protect themselves from impending deafness.
But hey, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?
The sweaty crowd is here to see Atlanta’s finest, Mastodon, who seep onto the stage amidst knee shaking noise. Their set is split into two halves, with the first showcasing their latest wares, Crack The Skye, in full.
There’s no dipping of toes here, with the band dive bombing into ‘Oblivion’ before pacing their way through to an entrancing rendition of ‘The Last Baron’. Despite the addition of keyboards to their stage set-up, the progressive nuances that make this band so alluring are slightly lost at sea in the mix, but with the loss of one component there arises another; in a live setting their guitar sludge is truly intense and juggernauts itself through each ear, heart and soul in the room.
Mastodon @ Glasgow ABC photographs courtesy of Alex Woodward @ Crimson Glow Photography
The second half is a greatest hits of sorts. Troy Sanders and co. blast us with some Blood Mountain tracks, with ‘Colony Of Birchmen’ a communal favourite, whilst ‘The Wolf Is Loose’ opens up the floor like a black hole, bodies whirlpooled about underneath the venue’s gloriously massive disco ball. Their classic sophomore album Leviathan is faithfully re-visited too, with ‘Iron Tusk’ in particular a kinetic blitzkrieg of guitar skulduggery.
It seems that stepping into back catalogue encouraged the ‘Don to loosen up a bit. It was as if they’d been told the world was due to implode in 45 minutes time – so you better make the most of it. Perhaps the unfamiliarity of newer material got the best of them, with the first half lacking a whole lot of gusto, but after the half-time oranges Sanders was revelling in his lurching, face-making antics once again and Brent Hinds was periodically prancing around like a ginger, hairy, crazed ballerina.
An engaging end then to a hugely impressive set. The mysterious Mastodon however only spoke to their crowd once, to say thank you, which was rather disappointing for those keen on their band banter but for those who appreciate never knowing what you’re going to get from a band, it was a perfect night.
Mastodon @ Glasgow ABC setlist
Ghost Of Karelia
Crack The Skye
The Last Baron
Colony Of Birchmen
The Wolf Is Loose
March Of The Fireants