Have you ever seen the combined might of KVELERTAK, GOJIRA, and MASTODON in one place? You haven’t? Well then you are certainly missing out. I found out that I, along with Ryan, would be handling this one around 8PM the night before and immediately danced a jig of joy. Not only do I love the Southside Music Hall in Dallas, but that was where I first bore witness to the power and fury of GOJIRA live last fall with SLAYER. Truth be told, while I am a fan of all three bands, they were my main reason for going. Well that and the fact that MASTODON delivered a fantastic new record this year in Once More ‘Round the Sun and I heard KVELERTAK is fucking bonkers live! That second part turned out to be especially true. Hailing from Norway and singing entirely in their native tongue, this band is full speed ahead from the time they get onstage to the final goodnight. I have no idea what they say or sing about; all I know is they get up there and tear it up. It is just a hammering of what I can assume are drinking riffs, and it made for a great start.
Next up was the Mighty GOJIRA who stormed out of the gate with “Explosia” and “The Axe”, two of my favorites off of 2012’s brilliant L’Enfant Sauvage. If this band doesn’t get your blood racing and heart thumping in your chest then you my friend are doing it wrong, plain and simple. They may be a four-piece but the real star of the show is drummer Mario Duplantier. I had the pleasure of interviewing him last year around this time and he was an incredibly nice guy. Not so when he gets behind the kit. He attacks the drums in a way that asks, nay DEMANDS you get your ass up and move! And on older fare such as “Backbone” lead singer/guitarist/brother Joe breathes fire and also makes you think twice about standing still.
From that same 2005 record (From Mars to Sirius) came “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” Southside bathed in a crazy light, Joe screaming “GO!” as the band began its ritual pummeling with precision and force. The nearly eight-minute epic “Flying Whales” followed. It’s a rather atmospheric and haunting number for the early stages with a biting guitar riff around the three-minute mark that has to be heard live as the whole band crashes in. “L’Enfant Sauvage” is one of THE best GOJIRA songs live because it is impossible not to get swept up in the guitars, Mario’s off-time crazy beats, and Joe’s agonized screams. This and “Explosia” are my go-to’s when I wanna get amped up for something in everyday life, so you can imagine me when the actual band is playing it in my presence, right??
A pair from The Way of All Flesh closed the show, “Toxic Garbage Island” and “Vacuity”, Ryan and me both thoroughly happy with what just transpired. All this and we still had MASTODON to look forward to. Speaking of which, I was initially worried about their set because I had seen their song selection from earlier shows and they were culling heavily from the new record to the tune of eight tracks. It’s one thing to be passionate about your new opus, but when it makes up almost half of your tunes I get a wee bit nervous. Not to worry though because the band placed everything in perfect order. A one-two opening salvo of “Tread Lightly” and the new album’s title track sung by bassist Troy Sanders and guitarist Brent Hinds respectively led right into “Blasteroid” from 2011’s The Hunter which is a Top Five MASTODON song for me hands-down. The OOMPH! and harmonies on that thing are simply amazing. Instrumental “Oblivion” then paved the way for new hit “The Motherload” voiced by drummer Brann Dailor which also sounded fantastic.
Earlier I touched on lighting. Well, I think MASTODON put on a clinic on how to properly light a rock show this night. The rich, vibrant colors really helped make songs like “Aqua Dementia” and “Black Tongue” (another favorite!) come even more alive. New cut “Ember City” also had some grapefruit-sized balls and the harmonies were lush and full.
Of course, anyone who’s a fan of these guys knows how fucking awesome it is to hear decade-old “Megalodon” live from the stellar Leviathan record. Along with “Bladecatcher” the only other appearance of Blood Mountain was in the form of “Crystal Skull” before set closer “Blood and Thunder” which had everyone going completely insane; not bad for a weeknight!
All in all I had a fantastic time; KVELERTAK, MASTODON, and especially GOJIRA put on a hellacious night of music, plus I got to see my dear friends Ronnie, LeeAnn, and Chantelle who I haven’t hung with in a while. Bottom line: if you get the chance to see ANY of these three bands live in your lifetime, TAKE IT!! Sell a kidney, I don’t care what you have to do. You’ll have a ball, and really, isn’t that the idea?
LIVE PHOTOS: ARDENT OWL MEDIA