Written by Samuel Barker
Oct 05, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageIt takes some balls to name your band after one of the largest mammals to ever grace the earth. You have to be certain that your sound is large and powerful enough to support such a moniker. For Mastodon, the sound is on proportion with their name sake, it’s large, powerful and captivating.

A relentless touring band, Mastodon plays more shows per year than almost any other band on the road today. They do laps around the country like a driver does a racetrack. It’s mindboggling, but the effort shows. This band is very tight and with the comfort in their set list and playing ability, comes the joy and genuine fun of being on stage that this band exhibits.

Opening with Iron Tusk, the band floored the audience with their full speed approach from note one. With a set list touching on their latest release, Blood Mountain, as well as their two previous released, Leviathan and Remission, no one was left in want.

Vocalist/Bassist Troy Sander told the tales of the various monsters and plights with great expression despite playing bass. His hands were in constant motion whether accenting his words or laying down the low end. Guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds stayed in unison on crushing metal riffs throughout the set. The rightness of the men at the front of the stage with drummer Bränn Dailor is something that only comes from years on the road as a band.

There was little left to say after Mastodon shut their set down. They had ripped through all my personal favorites, Iron Tusk, Aqua Dementia, Wolf Is Loose, Blood and Thunder and closed with Hearts Alive. The band brought it on this night and there were plenty of happy people filing out of the Meridian with smiles and not a care in the world that the work day was starting just about 7 hours.

Before Mastodon hit the stage, The Bronx warmed the audience up. The Bronx from Los Angeles, CA. Yeah, I thought it was weird too. I’d never heard anything from this band, but remember seeing their ads all over Buddyhead a few years back, so I figured it’d be something worth seeing.

The band was damn good. It may have been the energy the band exhibited after the boring performance by Totimoshi or the killer rock riffage of the guitarists, but something worked well for this band and they played like a band trying to get out of the opening slot and up to the headline.

Vocalist Matt Caughtran bailed out in the audience at one point and spent an entire song bouncing around with audience members and riling the audience up for the remainder of their set. It was a great moment on this night to see a band get right in everyone’s face and bring a quality, fun performance like the Bronx did on this night.

Unlike the Bronx, Totimoshi, who opened the show, blew their opportunity to win over and fans. Despite having some pretty good songs and a killer drummer, who was the only bit of life on stage, the guitarist/vocalist and bassist left a lot to be desired.

With some pretty rocking songs, one would expect the band to move…at all. But they stood steady. Rarely moving a muscle and providing some uncomfortable moments for the audience who didn’t know what to do as this rock band stood like statues with only their drummer moving around and trying to breathe life into the set.

Despite not playing much beyond root notes, bassist Meg Castellanos was damn near a statue throughout the set. Guitarist/vocalist Tony Aguilar occasionally showed signs of life when he’s break out a solo or say a few words to the audience, but over all the band didn’t do enough to involve the audience or captivate anyone.

Then for their final sin, for their sixth song, they played a droning, boring instrumental. With only 7 songs to win an audience over, you just don’t bore them to death. But this band did it and for that, very few people had nice things to say after the set. It’s a good thing the other two bands brought their A-game.