The Wolf Is Loose: Mastodon Live in Kansas City 10/22/14

Mastodon Live

In my not so humble opinion, I believe Mastodon is one of the best bands (in any genre) making music today. Starting as a sludge metal group, the Atlanta-based quartet has incorporated elements progressive metal, groove metal, thrash, death, rock and just about every other extreme genre under the sun as of late. With the release of “Once More ‘Round The Sun” in June, Mastodon continues the musical shift started in 2011′s “The Hunter” by incorporating more melody and groove into their music while still putting out some of the heaviest music of their career. Wednesday night, a packed Uptown Theater welcomed the band back to Kansas City with massive excitement and gratitude.

Almost half of the set was made up of “Once More ‘Round The Sun” tracks, but that’s alright since it’s one of their best albums. Something happened that I haven’t seen in a very long time – and I’ve been going to shows for a while now: the newer songs got an even bigger reaction than most of the old tunes performed. It’s just a testament to how Mastodon is on top of the musical world right now. Performances of “High Road,” “Halloween” and “Aunt Lisa” had everyone in the rabid crowd singing along. But while Mastodon is at a high-point in their creative careers, it speaks volumes to how amazing their older material is and how well it still holds up. The first huge cheer of the night came during the intro of “Oblivion” from 2009′s career-altering “Crack The Skye.” The performances of “Bladecatcher,” “Blasteroid” and “Megalodon” were proof that Mastodon can still bring out the heavy jams when they need to.

The band was all smiles on-stage, with bassist Troy Sanders and guitarist Brent Hinds traversing the stage and almost coming out into the crowd during songs and indulging in crowd-pleasing, over-the-top guitar solos that made the band and the crowd both go nuts. Despite changing guitars and incorporating up to four vocalists at once, the sound at the Uptown was crisp and clear – no easy feat for a performance like this.

Mastodon was the headliner and put on yet another stellar, near-flawless performance, but it was clear the majority of the crowd was there to also support the first area appearance of French metalheads Gojira since 2007. Not a band to be shoehorned to one (or even multiple) genres, Gojira performed the heaviest set of the night. And with song titles like “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe” and “Toxic Garbage Island,” they pretty much have to be over-the-top heavy – an area which they succeeded multiple times over. The entire crowd was full of headbangers and crowd surfers, and the largest circle pit the Uptown has ever seen erupted during “Backbone” and really didn’t let up for the rest of the night. An absolutely crushing performance from an absolutely crushing band – well worth the 7 year wait.

Continuing the trend of bands refusing to be easily grouped under one genre, Norwegian black metal/rock and roll maniacs Kvelertak opened the show and were, as always, brilliant. With only a half-hour to warm the crowd up, the group lit the fire that burned for the rest of the evening with excellent renditions of tracks like “Bruane Brenn” and “Blodtørst.” There might not have been a ton of concertgoers in attendance who were familiar with Kvelertak, but with another stellar performance, they should’ve made more than a few new fans last night.

Mastodon:

1. Tread Lightly
2. Once More ’Round the Sun
3. Blasteroid
4. Oblivion
5. The Motherload
6. Chimes at Midnight
7. High Road
8. Aqua Dementia
9. Ol’e Nessie
10. Halloween
11. Aunt Lisa
12. Divinations
13. Bladecatcher
14. Black Tongue
15. Ember City
16. Megalodon
17. Crystal Skull
18. Blood and Thunder

Gojira:

1. Explosia
2. The Axe
3. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
4. Backbone
5. Love
6. L’Enfant Sauvage
7. Toxic Garbage Island
8. Vacuity

About Jackson May

Read more from Jackson at Mandatory Metallica and follow him on Twitter at @Mankvill.

View all articles by Jackson May

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