Mastodon waded into the steamy Royal Oak Music Theater to extol the diversity of music with Russian Circles and Eagles Of Death Metal. Long lines outside the venue were a clear indication of the eagerness of the fans. When the doors open, the theater quickly filled up to near capacity.
Darkness consumed the stage as Russian Circles began their set with the surging power of “309”. White lights set at the base of their amp cabinets put the band in silhouette as overhead lights provided brief paint strokes of color. This visual combined with the colossal weight of the music gave you a sense of traveling through the void of space. You could feel the expanse of the universe or the birth of a star as the performance was consumed.
A loud cheer rose up across the Royal Oak Music Theater as the banner for the Eagles of Death Metal was unfurled. The house lights dropped and Pilot’s “It’s Magic” welcomed the band to the stage. This band came to rock out with their cocks out as they charged into the bopping “I Only Want You”.
Mastodon guitarist/vocalist, Brent Hinds joined the Eagles for the first song. He kicked out an Angus Young inspired solo and danced on the stage with frontman Jesse Hughes. Hughes looked a bit like a 70’s porn star channeling Mick Jagger. He had everyone pumped up and ready to party. The fans went wild with many gyrating along with Hughes and the rest of the band. Guitarist Dave Catching would have made Mick Ronson proud with his solo on their cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. His guitar ached and screamed with emotion. The Eagles Of Death Metal climaxed with the ultra-sexy grooves of “Speaking In Tongues”
With the main floor of the theater bursting at the seams with excited fans, Mastodon came for blood with “Sultan’s Curse” off their latest ‘Emperor of Sand’. In addition to having an arsenal of musical skills, Mastodon takes advantage of the diverse vocal personas of bassist Troy Sanders, drummer Brann Dailor, and guitarist Brent Hinds. The blending and contrast of the vocals burned on “Ancient Kingdoms” where each vocalist sounded spectacular.
Both Hinds and guitarist Bill Kelliher were masterful and expressive in their playing. Bill’s eyes nearly glowed with the intensity of “The Wolf Is Loose”. Whether it was the nimble and frantic riffs of “Bladecatcher” or the bludgeoning groove of “Mother Puncher”, these guys played with a reckoning force. Marrying the guitars with the monumental rhythm of Dailor and Sander made for spectacular sonic showcase.
Mastodon never let up during their over 90 minute set and gave the packed house at the Royal Oak Music Theater one hell of a show. Visually, the set was compelling. Large video towers streamed graphics to compliment the music as various lighting schemes accentuated the mood. The band wrapped up the show with a thunderclap in the form of “March Of The Fire Ants”.
The diverse and intense music of Mastodon was brilliantly performed for a packed house of enthusiastic fans at the Royal Oak Music Theater. They played with passion and the crowd returned this energy in kind. The show was made that much sweeter with a majestic set by Russian Circles and the rock and roll circus of Eagles Of Death Metal.