Mastodon Corporation, Sheffield, 14/02/2005

Sat 26th February 2005

Support from Dozer, Burst


It may be Valentine's Day, but that doesn't appear to have kept anyone away. There'll be some making up to do, it appears. We're in Corporation's large room, and the place is rammed. Mastodon are a band with incredible momentum right now, with inflated mainstream rock press hyperbole and, more importantly, two extremely strong albums garnering the band a huge fan base (not hindered by the cross-genre styles they attract - death metal, hardcore and stoner rock fans are all here in attendance). But first, the support...

...which brings us to Dozer and Burst. The last time I went to a gig with two Swedish bands and an American headliner, the supports (Entombed and Misery Loves Co.) stole the show form the main attraction (Machine Head). While this was always unlikely to occur tonight, both gigs share a value-for-money, strong triple bill. Burst open the show, and impress with their modern metalcore style assault, and give their all to the performance. The problem is the sound needs innovation - the style has quickly become stale, familiar and overused, and on a bill with one of the only true innovators of the sound, this was only ever going to be emphasised more. Good live, although I'm not persuaded to purchase an album.

Next up come Dozer. Seemingly out of place on an otherwise modern-metal bill, I wondered how Dozer would fare tonight, and whether the crowd would be up for some good old stoner-rock. As it turns out, they're on top form. Drawing from different releases from across their history (including 'Headed for the Sun' from the split with Unida) Dozer start off in fine style. The middle section is dominated by a drawn out jam that probably tests the patience of some of the crowd, but to these ears is mesmerising, before coming back to life with a number of new tracks that sound like the best thing they've ever done. Dozer truly shine tonight, and are nothing short of magnificent.

And so to Mastodon. There's a tangible sense of excitement around the room before they come on and an expectation that we are going to see something special here tonight, something different. They don't disappoint. With a set list drawn from the highlights of 'Remission' and 'Leviathan', plus a Melvins cover, it was always likely to be a spectacle. The sound is massive, making monstrous tracks such as 'Iron Tusk', 'Workhorse', 'Blood and Thunder' and the already-classic 'March of the Fire Ants' (unbelievably) larger and heavier than on record. It's an awesome performance, and proof indeed that their plaudits aren't all tabloid-style hype.

A superb all round gig, with two shining performances - anyone who missed this for a champagne and roses gesture maybe cursing their other halves...


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