Sunday, April 22, 2007

Australia at its Most White Trash

Mastodon Live, Sydney 17 April 2007 (oh yeah and Slayer played too)

Following my experience the preceding Friday, I took my time getting to the Mastodon/Slayer gig on Tuesday. Dumb idea. I completely missed the first opening act (Mortal Sin, who I know nothing about) and I arrived only just in time for Mastodon themselves. In fact, if the drinks queues outside hadn't been so long that I went into the main stage area in search of sweet sweet alcohol, I might not even have noticed that those first few thunderous chords belonged to the band I was there to see.

  • The Wolf is Loose
  • Crystal Skull
  • Capillarian Crest
  • I am Ahab
  • Circle of Cysquatch
  • Iron Tusk + extended outro (actually a whole song which I didn't recognise, something off Remission perhaps?)
  • Aqua Dementia
  • Colony of Birchmen
  • Blood and Thunder

The Blood Mountain stuff is right, but I might have the names of some of the Leviathan tracks wrong or mixed up. I only bought that album a couple of weeks ago.

The moshpit was a lot busier than I expected, as I thought that it would be full of munters waiting impatiently for Slayer to come on, but a lot of kids seemed to be there primarily for Mastodon and even the older guys in Slayer t-shirts seemed primed to go nuts for any opening act that provided the requisite heaviness, even one as quirky and unpredictable as Mastodon. Despite the violence and the huge metaller motherfuckers delivering it the pit was pretty enjoyable. It just goes to show that when everyone adheres to proper moshpit etiquette we all have fun, from the biggest meanest tough guys to the littlest goth chicks.

It would probably be far better to see Mastodon on a headlining tour, as they would almost certainly put on a brilliant stage show. All we got here was random sound clips being played between songs and Troy (the leadman) doing his best Cysquatch impersonation at the end of the appropriate song.

The music itself was for the most part good but not great. They had less energy than I expected, except for the last two songs which went off in high gear. 'Colony of Birchmen' was delivered with intensity and I took the opportunity for a good, passionate singalong. It was followed up by 'Blood and Thunder', which closed the set with a totally nuts rock out and the catchiest singalong chorus ever; “White! Whale! Holy! Grail!”

Then it was time for Slayer. I was expecting a bit of a dirty muntery crowd and I wasn't wrong. I hate to sound like an elitist but it was fucking white trash city out there, and the smell of sweaty armpits and stale beer lingered all over eastern Sydney for the rest of the week. Still the vibe was really good and everyone was having a good (and very intoxicated) time.

Slayer put on a good show but I wasn't that fussed about it. They're one of those bands who I don't know particularly well but when they started playing I found myself saying 'Oh I know this song' more than a few times. For the first half hour I quite enjoyed their set, but it wore a bit thin by the time an hour and a half was through, as they also happen to be one of these bands that have a formula and never deviate from it.

It was a fun gig, but Mastodon really need to come back and do a headlining tour...

(Dammit. Wanted to use the 'Ravenous Flying Lizard Sharks' tag again but Mastodon (surprisingly) didn't play 'Hunters of the Sky')

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