Mastodon rock the House of Blues

A review of Mastodon at the House of Blues on November 21, 2011

, Staff

Whether they’re writing songs about Rasputin, Moby Dick, or The Elephant Man, Mastodon have always been a band unafraid to push boundaries and let their imaginations run wild. On Monday, they made their way to Boston for a show at the House of Blues and delivered a straight up onslaught of their greatest hits that left the house in ruins.

Opening with “Dry Bone Valley” a heater from their latest release The Hunter, Mastodon took the stage in front of mural featuring more crazy work by artist AJ Furik, who provided the woodcarving that graces The Hunter’s cover. After being energized by solid performances by Red Fang and Dillinger Escape Plan, everyone was primed and ready to explode. A slow build of feedback became a driving thunderstorm, and everyone went nuts.

While vocal duties are shared by everyone in the band, bassist Troy Sanders (and his beard) serves as the de facto frontman. His progression as a performer over the years has been profound and his presence on Monday was electric. Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher slaughtered their guitars with precise chaos, a talent no mortal should be allowed to possess.

The setlist was mainly built of songs from The Hunter. “Curl of the Burl” had the most kids screaming along, while “Spectrelight” was an injection of adrenaline into an already crazed animal. Before exploding into “Aqua Dementia”, Brent Hinds tore through a lengthy solo, while Sanders gestured toward him, then to the sky, a tribute to Hinds’ brother, who passed away while hunting, and for whom the album is named.

“All The Heavy Lifting” was the closest thing to a break they ever took, and in all Mastodon crammed twenty-two scorchers into an hour and a half set. They stood up, rocked, and left everyone stunned. Finishing the set with a quartet of old favorites like “Iron Tusk” and “March of the Fireants”.

Rounding out the night with a crushing performance of “Blood and Thunder”, Mastodon was joined by members of Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang for an epic sing-a-long to “The Creature Lives”. The scene was like a dysfunctional family gathering, just in time for the holidays.

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