Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Metalocalypse Tour - House of Blues, Boston MA 10/28/09

Metalocalypse: Dethklok & Mastodon with Converge, High On Fire
House of Blues, Boston, MA
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I will admit, when I first read about this tour I was unsure what to do. Was Dethklok the headliner? I will admit I don't know anything about them, but I was wondering how a "cartoon" band could be a headliner but that is a story for another day. I've been digging Mastodon for a few years now, and their latest cd Crack the Skye is probably a top five, if not top three cd of 2009 for me so I just had to get a ticket.

Set times were going to be rough, but being an old man it is nice to have shows go early. In reading I found that High On Fire was set to go on at 6:30. I headed to the city and actually was inside the venue as they started their first song.

I've been a fan of High on Fire for probably longer than Mastodon, and have seen then a few times. This was their best sounding show I've seen (getting out of the real small clubs helps). Their set was spirited but really short (30 min). Lead singer/guitarist Matt Pike, shirtless as always, did his best to fire up the early arrivals. Drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz held down the sludgy, stoner set with some heavy back beats and bass bottom.

Converge was next at about 7:15. I have to hand it to the crew, they turned that stage over quick. I didn't know a thing about Converge but they seemed to have their followers. Guitarist Kurt Ballou took the stage alone and worked some looping guitar cords. It was far too long and really not very good. The rest of the band took the stage and spent the next few songs trying to work out the monitor kinks. Lead singer Jacob Bannon bounded around the stage like a crazed man, working the folks up front in to a frenzy. He was seen speaking to audience members and even tossed the microphone to the audience for a sing along. Bassist Nate Newton was equal to the task on the stage presence..he was just all over the place.

Their set did nothing to win me over though. The vocals were completely incoherent, with some songs simply sounding like "UHH UHH" sung in a growl/gravel tone. They may not have done a lot for me, but more than a few sweaty bodies in Converge shirts passed me coming off the floor at the completion of their set.

Mastodon took the stage about 8:15. The band performed Crack the Skye in full and then took a short break before coming out for 4-5 more tunes.

Touring with a keyboardist filled out the sound a lot and added a great touch. There were tons of visuals. Each song had its own visual. Not sure what they were. Sort of looked like old foreign horror films.

Troy Sanders (bass/vocals) was at the middle of the stage with guitarist/vocals Brent Hinds to his right and second guitar player Bill Kelliher to his left. Drummer Brann Dailor was behind Sanders but not on any sort of riser. The stage was filled with a wall of amps.

In reading the fans web site message board some fans are sort of put off that the band doesn't say much to the audience, while others don't care. The band batted through the set and didn't say a word to us but they did point out to the audience from time to time. Hinds did say "See you tomorrow" when the set was all done but that was it.

The band didn't need to say much, they really just hammered through their set. All in all it was a spot on rendition of the album, but the mix was off just a tad. There are some BRUTAL moments on that record that were sort of left out there. For example the third track "Quintessence" has this great tempo shift that is follwed by a monster of monsters guitar riff..and it was sort of missing in the live setting.

Overall, I was very pleased with their set. Seeing a record like that in full was great and the other tunes tossed in only sweetened the pot.

I didn't stay for Dethklok. I wanted to check them out, at least some, but the floor was getting fuller and fuller with people and since I didn't know much about them I was really unsure if I was "missing" anything. I may regret it, or it may have been the right decision at the time.

The same bill is at the House of Blues in Boston again tonight and the tour runs until November 21st. Was also told the new High on Fire cd is due out in February.



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