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Mastodon, Gojira and Kvelertak @ The Electric Factory.

May 20, 2014

MASTODON_jump_paulimburgiaphoto-7Text by Chad Sims. Images by Paul Imburgia.

When I go to concerts they are usually very loud but on Saturday night, when Mastodon took the stage, is the first time in a long time I can remember my ears hurting from the roar of the crowd. This pain wasn’t the result of a lone, over-exuberant fan shrieking in my ear either. This was the ear drum rattling sound of a crowd going crazy.

Of course it wasn’t just Mastodon’s arrival that caused this audience explosion. The onlookers had already been well primed by Norway’s Kverlertak and France’s Gojira.

Kverlertak played a raucous set of their utterly original rock, punk, black metal that has brought them to international recognition as of late. They are a fun band who will likely be headlining their own tours soon.

Gojira is a band who has headlined their own tours and it was very simple to see why. These guys play death metal with a mastery of their craft that few can match. They make their incredibly, complex music look easy to play (I guarantee you that it is not) and more importantly easy to listen to. So many bands on the more technical side of metal make music that seems like they don’t want people to be able to comprehend, but Gojira writes total headbangers that anyone can appreciate. These songs were on full display and Gojira looked in complete control while showing them off.

Finally, Mastodon took the stage to the deafening salute mentioned above. It is a somewhat odd time to be touring as their new album, Once More Round the Sun, is not due for a couple more months. Regardless of the reason it is always a good time to see Mastodon especially with supporting acts this great, or was it?

As Mastodon played, I started to wonder if this tour was something of “tune-up” tour before the inevitable huge album tour later this year or next. First, the show was definitely scaled back a bit from the last time they played the Electric Factory. Most noticeably, the light show – while adequate – was somewhat smaller. Second, the band seemed a little tired (this was especially noticeable after seeing Gojira). They just didn’t seem as crisp and tight as they had in the past. Don’t get me wrong, Mastodon, on what may have been an off-night, was still better than 90 percent of bands out there. But they seemed a bit shaky.

Regardless of what may or may not have been going on with the band, they still played a great set which included songs from all of their albums and some tracks from the new album including the early release track “High Road.” Luckily, it will only be a short wait until we can hear the whole album, and probably only a bit longer before we are able to see them play it live.

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