Mastodon on Friday the 13th
The last two times Mastodon have been through Chicago have been on more than appropriate dates. There was the show on what has been known to be Nigel Tufnel Day – 11/11/11. This last gig was Friday the 13th. Given the superstition around that day, I’d give them marks for being the appropriate soundtrack for it.
On Nigel Tufnel Day they had a fresh album, The Hunter. It’s not like its predecessors, which were conceptual in nature. This album is more of a collection of very strong songs. It may not tell a direct story, like Crack the Skye, the album that came before it, but if you have been hesitant to pick it up based on the fact that you’ve heard it is different, don’t avoid it: it’s worth the investment. Quick divergence over, let’s get back to the show.
Six months in to touring on this last album, the band’s show was as tight as I’ve ever seen. Rob Lightner, Front Of House engineer, really knocked it out in his return trip to Chicago’s Riv Theatre. I made sure to grab a spot at FOH to start things out, then eventually moved upstairs to catch the rest of the show from the balcony level.
Note to fans wanting to grab floor space when they come to town: be prepared for intense and inspired pits. Especially during classics like “Blood and Thunder”, which has electrified every crowd in every room every time I’ve seen it played (this is probably my eighth Masto show).
Afterward I went out with some of the production guys to discuss moving from wedges to in-ears, mic selection, and some of the challenges they face dealing with a stage that loud every night. The band has been using UHF-R for their instrument wireless for years.
You can find upcoming tour dates at http://www.mastodonrocks.com/tour.