|THE DEATH OF THE MIX TAPE||
Since the beginning of the new normal,one of the biggest concerns in the world of music was how would bands navigate the new terrain of performing during a pandemic. Most took at least a year off, some still haven’t announced anything, but some, like Mastodon and tour companions Opeth found the right time (or perhaps just not as bad a time) to complete a quick three week run.
A little over a month ago, during a particularly difficult time in my household (my wife has been fighting cancer and the after effects for nearly two years at this point) I decided to honor my commitment and head out for a concert. My wife was safe at home, being cared for by my sister, but honestly I barely even wanted to go. Opeth is great, but with them as the closer of the evening, I decided to head out, literally just for Mastodon (one of my favorite all time bands) before the snow and health issues came roaring back in the lives of my wife and I. So, formally, Opeth, I’m sorry, but I hope to see you again soon.
Seeing Mastodon has become a highlight in my concert seeing history, and with this being the sixth time witnessing them live, it was with slightly filled excitement that I braved the 20 degree, heavy snow impacted weather to get out of the house and out of my mental health issues for roughly two hours to see the heavy as hell Georgia titans.
This being my first time at Denver’s Mission Ballroom, I was really excited to see a show there, and the lay out of the club is pretty exceptional in my opinion, and right on schedule, at 8:00 sharp, the rowdy foursome of Dailor, Hinds, Sanders and Kelliher emerged and jumped right into new song “Pain with an Anchor,” with its thundering drums, and exquisite mythological guitar arrangements. The track, and the accompanying “Hushed and Grim” record aren’t as in your face as the band has been known to be, but the prog rock nature of this record lended itself brilliantly to a tour with Opeth, who basically perfected the genre.
From there, the band delivered on some of that early intensity with hammering tracks like “Crystal Skull,” the gradual pummeling of “Megalodon,” along with soaring anthems courtesy of “Black Tongue,” which is Walt’s a treat to hear and chant to in a love setting.
Mastodon as a whole is more in line with Black Sabbath and Zeppelin in my eyes than with the modern bands they often share stages with, but the modern aesthetics of Prog Rock, such as blindingly illuminating lights, and trippy visuals, all help to make the band feel like a singular being, with an excellent presentation to boot.
In previous years, I’ve seen the band open for huge acts, play fests, and play midnight shows on Halloween, but as a headliner, I feel bad for whoever plays after them. The massive crowd reaction to closer “ Blood & Thunder,” proved that even though they were technically an opener, many people got exactly what they wanted, which softened the pain of knowing I couldn’t say, but at least I got some metal in my system for a few hours.
Landon Murray is a music connooisseur who craves sounds of all shapes and textures. He's seen over 2000 bands and looks forward to welcoming you into his world of sound,
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