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Updated: Live Review/Stage Buzz – Mastodon at Metro

| September 8, 2017 | 1 Comment

Live Review
Mastodon
Metro, Chicago
Sept. 9, 2017

Mastodon rarely plays an encore. Instead, the band merely thanks the crowd and walks offstage. Saturday night at Metro, though, the band’s parting words carried more weight as they played an intimate benefit concert for Hope For The Day, a Chicago-based mental health education and suicide prevention organization.

At the end of the show, bassist/singer Troy Sanders said “thanks for one of the best nights of our lives” before drummer/singer Brann Dailor more directly addressed the heavy topic in the room. He spoke of his experience losing a sister to suicide and underscored the positive message of the night: there’s hope every day.

The music before the parting words was delivered with equal heart, as the band roared through a 90-minute set that pulled from nearly every album (absent were songs from The Hunter). Mandatory live songs “Crystal Skull,” “Megalodon” and “Colony of Birchmen” set the crowd into a frenzy but much of the set list reflected the special nature of the event: rather than just focusing on songs from the latest album (Emperor of Sand), the band also performed many tracks from the album Crack The Skye. They opened with “The Last Baron” and also delivered mightily on “The Czar,” songs from an album that Dailor has said is a tribute to his sister who died at age 14.

Hailing from Georgia, Sanders mentioned the threat of Hurricane Irma (bearing down on the Florida Keys during the concert and generally threatening the entire Southeast), before starting “Precious Stones.” The song’s lyrics–”Don’t waste your time / Don’t let it slip away from you / Don’t waste your time / If it’s the last thing that you do” – suddenly carried even more meaning as layers of green and pink lasers etched a grid through the smoke above the crowd’s outstretched arms.

The twin lead-guitar attack of Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher cut through the haze on “Oblivion” and “Ancient Kingdom.” But the most poignant moment came during Dailor’s vocals on “Roots Remain,” perhaps the most emotionally vulnerable song the band has released. Dailor sang: “And when you sit and picture me / Remember sitting in the sun and dancing in the rain / The end is not the end you see / It’s just the recognition of a memory.” Rarely has a heavy metal band been as equally ferocious and empathic as Mastodon was this night.

Powermad opened the evening with an energetic hardcore set, and Brain Tentacles’ distorted saxophone and guitar attack delighted the crowd before Mastodon headlined.

And, to further solidify the theme of the night, Three Floyds brewery debuted a special libation made in collaboration with the band and Dark Matter Coffee: Crack The Skye Imperial Coffee Stout.

– Jason Scales

Set List
“The Last Baron”
“Sultan’s Curse”
“Divinations”
“Crystal Skull”
“Ancient Kingdom”
“Colony of Birchmen”
“Megalodon”
“Andromeda”
“The Czar”
“Oblivion”
“Precious Stones
“Roots Remain”
“Chimes At Midnight”
“Steambreather”
“Mother Puncher”
“Crack The Skye”

 

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Mastodon

Sunday Sept. 9

Metro, Chicago

Before resuming a fall tour in support of their latest full-length album (Emperor of Sand) and releasing an EP of new material (Cold Dark Place) later in September, Mastodon is playing a benefit show at Metro Sept. 9. Proceeds from the show—the band’s first appearance at the venue since 2009–will go to Hope For The Day, a Chicago-based organization that strives for proactive suicide prevention by providing outreach and mental health education (for more information, visit HFTD.org).

Read our March 2017 cover story with Mastodon

Mastodon has never shied away from alluding to heavy, emotional topics—including the effects suicide and the loss of a loved one can have on an individual left behind—on its richly textured albums. Performing such songs and tackling the issue in the more intimate setting of Metro will certainly put more focus on this message.

– Jason Scales

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  1. Mark Scales says:

    Great review, and very important subject matter! Well done.

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