- 16 Jan 19
No chat. No encores. No bullshit from the genre-defining band as they perform an outstanding set in Dublin.
Kicking off their European tour on our shores in support of 2017’s terrific ‘Emperor of Sand’, an album which further cemented Mastodon’s legacy as the leading band in hard rock and metal today. The US quartet are to treat a sold-out Olympia Theatre to their uncompromising metal paired with beautiful, catchy hooks and melodies for the evening.
Norwegian outfit Kvelertak take the stage as we make our way inside the packed out Olympia. Kicking off with their brand of “black and roll”, (black metal and rock and roll for those addled at the term) the lads bring a hardcore punk energy to the stage - characterised with plenty of instrument swings and scissor kicks. New vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen impresses, as he brandishes his mic stand with little regard and does his best to claim the stage.
The infinite “wall of guitars” sound that is produced from having three guitarists and a bassist onstage is duly noted during tracks ‘Apenbaring’ and ‘1985’, with the latter’s upbeat Van Halen-esque tempo being the standout.
Mastodon open their set with an onslaught of three of their heaviest tracks to date, with ‘March of the Fire Ants’ from 2002’s ‘Remission’ still sounding as brutal played live as it does on the record.
The night sees plenty of new material being played, including the hook infected beauty ‘Toes to Toes’ from the 2017 ‘Cold Dark Place’ EP. Playing a number of tracks from the ‘Emperor of Sand’ album, there is a haunting air of sadness to songs like ‘Ancient Kingdom’ and ‘Scorpion Breath’ that is notable. Written whilst the band dealt with multiple family members and friends being diagnosed with cancer, the album has a beautiful sincerity to it.
The record is not the only tribute to their loved ones, as promoters from this tour are to make donations to three charities; The TJ Martel Foundation, Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and the Pancreatic Cancer action Network. A cause close to the band’s heart, having lost their manager Nick John last autumn to the disease.
Towards the half time mark, special guest Scott Kelly of California metal band ‘Neurosis’ joins the band onstage to share in growling duties for the remainder of the show. Things are kicked up a notch when they launch into headbang inflicting tracks ‘Crystal Skull’ and ‘Aqua Dementia’, with the latter being the evening’s highlight.
Psychedelic acid-drop epic ‘Crack the Skye’ is another masterclass in the lads ability to seamlessly construct beautiful highs and brutal lows in a progressive manner that never seems like skill-wankery. A somewhat coy Brent Hinds announces it’s is birthday - to much praise from the audience, but quickly vacates the stage after a thrashing rendition of fan favourite ‘Blood and Thunder’.
Launching from song into song with no faffing about and no self-indulgent chatter is something to admire about Mastodon. As someone who doesn’t particularly care for the fuss of encores, the bread and bones, wart’s ‘n all attitude makes for a much welcomed format. It has to be said that the real star of the evening is drummer Brann Dailor, with his virtuoso skill drumming on tracks like ‘I Am Ahab’ and paired with vocals on ‘Ancient Kingdom’ - I urge you to point out a more talented individual behind the kit. Championing the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to an absent Brent Hinds, Dailor and Mastodon leave the stage with Dublin sufficiently rocked. 2019 is off to a good start.
March of the fire Ants
Chimes of Midnight
Toes to Toes
Ghost of Karelia
I am Ahab
Scorpion Breath (feat Scott Kelly)
Crystal Skull (feat Scott Kelly)
Spectrelight (feat Scott Kelly)
Aqua Dementia (feat Scott Kelly)
Crack the Skye (feat Scott Kelly)
Diamond in the Witch House (feat Scott Kelly)
Blood and Thunder (feat Scott Kelly)