So, Mastodon, Gojira, and Baroness: that’s probably one of the best lineups I’ve ever heard. And I knew as soon as it was announced that I had to go. Otherwise, I could never live with myself, you feel? First things first: no surprises, the sound and lights were fantastic. The Palace really know how to put on a good show. The crowd was great for the most part, but there were some rude cunts. If you like personal space, don’t go to a metal concert, and definitely don’t expect personal space at the barrier. Asshole.
I hadn’t listened to Baroness in years, so I wasn’t sure if I’d still like them. Any doubt in my mind was completely annihilated. From the very opening with “Green Theme,” I had the biggest, stupidest smile on my face throughout their whole set. It was beautiful, truly beautiful.
There are very few bands that genuinely make me happy when I listen to them, but Baroness are one of them. Everything about their performance was brilliant, from the light colour changing as the songs varied between albums, and the energy of their performance was definitely more punk than what would be stereotypically metal. There was smiling and jumping, really it felt like a glorious jam session. John Baizley was especially full of life, which was great to see. Instrumentally and vocally, it was probably better than on their recordings. Brent Hinds [guitars, Mastodon] even came out on stage to play “A Horse Called Golgotha” with them, to the cheering of the crowd.
It was also cool to see the drums performed on little more than a jazz kit. Not sure if that’s a mainstay for Baroness’ performance but I liked it. It was a truly excellent performance, and I’ll definitely see them when they next tour here.
Gojira took the stage a while later. While I’m not too familiar with L’Enfant Sauvage, I love their other albums so I was stoked for them. Opening with the bone-shattering “Explosia,” Gojira drove the crowd into a frenzy, with huge pits and shouting out lyrics. Highlight for me was “Flying Whales,” of course. The crowd screaming, “NOW I CAN SEE THE WHALES!” was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. Instrumentally and vocally, they were spectacular, but then, that’s no surprise. The thundering drumming from Mario Duplantier was phenomenal, and the signature string slides and pinch harmonics from the guitars were fully complimented by the distorted yet defined mix. The lighting wasn’t too bright or seizure-inducing, but it wasn’t anywhere near as interesting or integral as Baroness’ was. Ignoring that, it was still a great performance and now I have popped my Gojira cherry.
I’m definitely a fan now, if I wasn’t before.
And then, Mastodon. The marathon 75-minute set was a rollercoaster of chill songs and heavier ones with one constant: they were all awesome. I’d heard many bad things about Mastodon’s live performances, but any doubt I had was dispelled almost immediately. The only complaint I had was that Brent wasn’t really projecting his voice much, he just seemed to be muttering into the mic. On a more positive side, he shredded his guitar excellently. Troy Sanders [bass, vox] was fantastic as expected, but despite the lively performances by the entire band, there was literally no interaction with the crowd. Maybe this is a normal thing for them, I don’t know, but after the set was done Brann Dailor [drums] addressed and praised the crowd, which was nice since the personal interaction aspect was lacking from their performance. Standout tracks were “Megalodon” (my favorite Mastodon song ever), “Blood and Thunder,” “Oblivion,” and “Crack the Skye.”
Probably the real sing-along songs on the setlist, they really worked up the crowd, much to the band’s delight. The sound was fantastic other than that I just wanted to hear more of Brent, especially in the bits where he’s the only vocalist and I could barely hear him, and the lighting was great too. No blinding strobes that make you want to gouge your own eyes out, thank fuck. Holistically, their performance was brilliant, I just feel that Baroness and Gojira topped them in terms of quality.
You know the drill. Go see all those bands if and when you get the chance and/or cash. That show was damn expensive, but I know the U.S.A. has those kinds of shows for so much cheaper… You bastards. If you don’t know any of the bands (which I doubt) definitely check them out, you won’t regret it. I’ll be reviewing the recent Obscene Extreme Australia Fest, with Cripple Bastards, DOOM, and Jig-Ai headlining soon, so stay tuned for that. Until then, cheerio.
Baroness set list:
1. Green Theme
2. Take My Bones Away
3. March to the Sea
4. A Horse Called Golgotha (with Brent Hinds)
5. Sea Lungs
Gojira set list:
2. The Axe
4. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
5. Flying Whales
6. L’enfant Sauvage
7. Toxic Garbage Island
8. The Gift of Guilt
Mastodon set list:
1. Black Tongue
3. Crystal Skull
4. Trampled Under Hoof
5. Dry Bone Valley
11. Crack the Skye
12. All the Heavy Lifting
14. Bedazzled Fingernails
15. Iron Tusk
16. March of the Fire Ants
17. Blood and Thunder