Last night I caught one of Mastodon's two NYC shows at which they are playing the entirety of their new album Crack The Skye. I'm a big Mastodon fan, but I'm upfront about my favorite stuff of theirs being Leviathan, two albums back. Crack The Skye is a good record, but it is significantly more "rock" than Mastodon has been in the past (though some folks said that about their last record, Blood Mountain, too), with clean vocals and, y'know, choruses. I predicted (to my friends and bandmates) it would be a huge crossover hit, and that seems to be coming true what with CtS's activity on the Billboard charts of late. My hope is that their next record will be extra-brutal, leaving all the new fans going "...what?".
The show went off well; they started with album opener "Oblivion" and went straight through, guitar-exchanging time between songs smoothed over by atmospheric keyboard washes and video projections that seemed primarily derived from the film Alexander Nevsky. The crowd, somewhat to my surprise, seemed both very familiar with the new songs and definitely on board with them, if the fist pumping, singing along, and mosh pit activity are any indication (despite all of the above tapering off as time went on). The material does come off a bit better live than on record, in my opinion, which is a credit to the crushing power of Mastodon's live presence.
Speaking of which, the band (and especially lead guitarist Brent Hinds) really came alive after the CtS portion of the show had ended and they moved on to a selection of hits from Blood Mountain and Leviathan (okay, and "March of the Fire Ants" from Remission). I don't know if that stuff is just more fun for them, or if they were psyched to have finished with the "business" portion of the show, but it definitely left me wanting to see a more typical Mastodon concert wherein they play anything they feel like playing.
The night's two opening acts were Intronaut, from LA, and Kylesa (fellow Atlantans to Mastodon). Intronaut were decent... Most of their songs had a few cool moments and a couple of songs were rocking all the way through, but overall I found them to be too pretty too much of the time. Kylesa is a band I'd wanted to see for a while, and I did enjoy them, though you have to work pretty hard to convince me that your band really needs two drummers and I'm not sure they really did. Musically, they're certainly heavy and can bring the crushing riffs, though the lead guitar work tends to be a little simplistic.
Posted by QXZ at 10:48 AM