Nov 22 2009, 16h07

Fri 13 Nov – Adult Swim Presents: Metalocalypse’s Dethklok, Mastodon, Converge, and High on Fire

Despite loving Converge intensely for 5+ years, every one of their tours has coincided with something I absolutely couldn’t get out of, or with me being out of the country. Last night I finally broke that streak.

I nearly missed them this time, too, since apparently “doors at 6” meant “High on Fire at 6:20”, or High on Fire played a 20 minute set. or both. Anyway, I walked in right as Converge were starting, so I was farther back than I’d planned.

I’m not normally emotional about shows, and certainly large (2.700+) shows are usually less engaging. So it was shocking to me, just how affecting it was when they broke into Last Light. When the whole floor was screaming along to “This. Is. For. The Hearts. Still. BEATING! BEATING! BEATING! BEATING!” I lost it. Tears in my eyes and everything. You Fail Me is my sad music, but I didn’t really expect it to be that way wtih other people in the room. I’ve gotten chills from the music, at shows before, but this was communion on a wholly other level.

It was refreshing also, after seeing Coalesce at funfunfunfest basically deal entirely in noise and chaotic spasms, seeing Kurt Ballou play so incredibly tightly and adeptly. Really, Bannon exudes enough energy/spit/sweat for the whole band, but even Ballou does his share of tricks, even playing with his guitar held over his head.

Mastodon was the 3rd show I've seen this year of an album played through live (c.f. Kylesa, The Decemberists). It was a huge contrast to their set at Pitchfork a couple of years ago. Where that show was handily the highest intensity of the festival, this was a much more prog-nerdy, intentional affair. Certainly the accompanying video changes the way the audience is involved in the show as well, but it's strange to see a band that had such stage presence 2 years ago, standing stock still. And to see Brent Hinds, formerly referred to by security dudes as "the guy who does the smurf vocals", now wielding a double-necked guitar.

As for the set itself, Crack the Skye is what it is. Starts off with 2 great songs, moves through a few longwinded but really good songs, and then devolves into self-indulgence. After the album, they played one song from each of their 4 previous albums. Heavier songs that brought the energy level back up, but deep cuts and still without any stage banter.

I'm probably making this sound unnecessarily harsh - I enjoyed the show a lot, it was just very reserved.

Dethklok Is still made up of Mike Keneally and Gene Hoglan, which is an amazing thing to behold. I didn't stay too long into their set, though, as they played a lot of the same songs and clips from last time I saw them.


  • sunburntkamel

    Yeah, they were definitely the most intense set of the night, and I'm really kicking myself for the times that I've missed them in the past, seeing them in a smaller venue would definitely be better.

    Nov 23 2009, 14h56
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