Mastodon @ The Fox Theater, Oakland – 5.1.14 Mastodon @ The Fox Theater, Oakland – 5.1.14

All words/photos by Todd Sipes.

Mastodon
Mastodon

As the lights dimmed into a pale blue hue, voices erupted from all corners of the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday night. Still elated by Gojira’s blistering performance, the audience made it clear that they were ready for the raw energy of Georgia’s prog-metal giants, Mastodon. With no formal introduction, the foursome opened their set by ripping into their near 14 minute long, “Hearts Alive.” To ensure the audience was fully awake, Mastodon continued with shattering performances of “Divinations” and “Crusher Destroyer” before delving into some of their more melodic masterpieces.

Living within a genre dominated by either blast beats or odd-time aficionados, these four men have created their own unique home which is perfectly captured in a live setting. By avoiding gimmicks like crowd sing-alongs and scripted displays of aggression, singers Troy Sanders and Brett Hinds proved that the quartet’s music can stand on its own two feet without the theatrics which are so prevalent in live performances today. The two vocalists have a beautifully haunting dynamic which alternates between slow, ethereal crooning and anguished roars that appropriately embody the animal on which their band is named. Combined with the single-stroke onslaught by drummer Brann Dailor and shredding of Bill Kelliher on rhythm guitar, Mastodon faithfully represented their previous epic albums, demonstrating why they’re considered one of the most creative bands in heavy metal today. Throughout the night, the band played three to four songs from each album such as “Black Tongue”, “Siberian Divide”, ”Oblivion”, and “Trampled Under Hoof”; giving fans a taste of their twelve-year discography.

Towards the end of the evening, Mastodon gave us a sneak peek into their upcoming album Once More ‘Round The Sun by playing two new songs: “Chimes at Midnight” and “High Road.” The two songs gave this writer the impression that their new release will likely be a cocktail that contains elements of The Hunter with a dash of Blood Mountain. After tonight’s performance, it’s obvious that Mastodon is aging very well and they will continue blazing trails with their wonderfully bizarre sound when Once More ‘Round The Sun is released on June 24th.

Setlist:
1. Hearts Alive
2. Divinations
3. Crusher Destroyer
4. Capillarian Crest
5. Black Tongue
6. Bladecatcher
7. Crystal Skull
8. Trampled Under Hoof
9. Siberian Divide
10. Naked Burn
11. Megalodon
12. Oblivion
13. Octopus Has No Friends
14. Chimes at Midnight
15. High Road
16. Aqua Dementia



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