The fact that I got to go to this show on such short notice made for an amazing time. Every single time I welcome myself to the great city of Philadelphia, I leave on a good note. Even if that note meant a broken nose because of being in the pit, or dislocating a shoulder, no one ever leaves with the feeling that Philly didn’t do their job working with the bands performing that evening. May 17 was no different when rock n’ roll juggernauts, MASTODON headlined their show at the Electric Factory with GOJIRA and KVELERTAK as their support. Since the release of new songs from Once More ‘Round the Sun, the crowd at the venue was at a fever pitch, awaiting MASTODON‘s set. Of course, before the main attraction of the evening, there were great featured bands to be witnessed first.
Also, for me, it was a good show to attend because not only were the performances very good, but it was my first opportunity to see KVELERTAK and GOJIRA live as well. It was my third time seeing MASTODON however (not that anyone really cares.)
At first, I was not sure what to make of KVELERTAK when vocalist Erlend Hjelvik came out with an owl mask on his head as the first song of the set was in its build up. I was starting to think to myself “here is another band trying to do some memorable gimmick with an owl mask,” but once the music came on and business began to pick up, I liked what I heard from themand their black n’ roll sound. For being a band from Stavanger, Norway that I have never listened to before this particular show, I was able to say to myself that I would give KVELERTAK more listens after I saw them perform. I also would have to agree with what METALLICA‘s vocalist James Hetfield said about Hjelvik, calling him a “savage frontman.” By all means, KVELERTAK took command of the crowd during their set and made you want to mosh to the riffs they were playing and create circle pits. At some points however, I did catch myself saying “why did they stop playing that riff” because they hit grooves that were great and I was not ready for it to be over. In all though, KVELERTAK did a fantastic job opening the night.
Prior to this go ‘round I had the opportunity to see GOJIRA with SLAYER in New Jersey (for free,) but to make a long, stupid story short, plans fell through and I did not go. When I had those prior tickets, I figured to myself that I already saw SLAYER before and to be honest, was not blown away by them live (send in the hate mail,) but I really always wanted to see what GOJIRA was all about live. I knew about them for years and I was just very fortunate that they came around again so quickly on a tour of which in my opinion was better than seeing them with SLAYER. When it was time for GOJIRA to take the stage, all of Philadelphia had already pushed forward and crammed up the front row to get their spots reserved. Not to worry though, I was in the second row with the rest of the Tri-State area that night. Everyone in the band besides Jean-Michel Labadie (the bassist) is an original member since 1996.
I was mostly blown away by Joe Duplantier’s ability to play what he plays on guitar in smooth transition with the rest of the harmony the group produces and the ability to keep a technical death metal sound on the vocals. Their music is just up my alley in that kind of way, so finally seeing GOJIRA live brought a whole new level of respect to the band on top of what I already knew about them previously.
After GOJIRA slayed on stage, it was time for the headlining act: MASTODON. Throughout the day, one of my friends that I went with to the show was telling me that songs were to be played from every album that MASTODON has ever released. He was not lying at all because not only did MASTODON cover tracks from albums Remission to The Hunter, but they also covered not just one new song, but another even more brand spanking new track from their upcoming album Once More ‘Round the Sun. At any rate, fans who like old MASTODON more than the newer material and vice versa were able to appreciate the full set that was played in Philadelphia.
Songs like “Black Tongue,” “Oblivion,” and “Divinations” received some real good reactions from the younger crowd while the older crowd seemed to be more enthused with songs such as “Crusher Destroyer,” “Megalodon,” and “Capillarian Crest.” I was most shocked to see that “Blasteroid” was picked from The Hunter to be played live over “Curl of the Burl.”
In all, this concert was enjoyable from opening band to main act. KVELERTAK, GOJIRA, and MASTODON sure did mix very well together for a touring cast which brought a nice range of metal and rock n’ roll to the spotlight, right where it needs to stay. In recent news, KVELERTAK is mostly busy with the MASTODON tour while GOJIRA recently released a DVD called Les Enfants Sauvages which was recorded in London. Last but certainly not least, MASTODON is recording and releasing an hour and a half of new music in 2014, which would be Once More ‘Round the Sun and an additional half hour of music which will be featured on an EP later in 2014. Once More ‘Round the Sun is set to release this month (let’s hope I get to review it,) but “High Road” is the first available single from the new album to be followed by the second confirmed singled called “Chimes at Midnight.”
LIVE REVIEW BY MR. REESE
LIVE PHOTOS BY PHOTO TERCO (PHOTOTERCO.COM)