It sure is cold as hell outside the nearly sold out C-Club tonight, but worry we shan’t… We have a sweaty night ahead of us.
First up are Red Fang, out of Portland, Oregon. Two albums and several incredibly funny videos under their belt, the guys are the perfect opening band. Four sheepish beardy blokes appear in t-shirts proclaiming slogans like ‘death to false pizza’, with an assortment of trashed guitars and home made amps. We love them instantly. Even more so when we hear the perfect combination of Sabbath meets Eagles Of Death Metal riffs that make our ear canals bleed. The crowd eats out of their hands, and one song into the set everybody is happily moshing the winter cold out of their bones.
Half an hour or so later, as the set comes to a close, the kids still want more, their fists raised high. A happy looking Red Fang come back to reality and schlep their gear through the venue, no roadies in tow.
Mastodon is a different beast altogether. A backdrop entirely too large to fit the small-ish venue’s back wall puts a smirk on our face as does the massive production crew of manic looking stage managers and guitar techs, swarming over the stage in last minute preparations for what’s to come.
As soon as drummer Brann Dailor’s impressive looking polka dot kit as well as riffmeister Brent Hines’ glass Flying V appear on stage, we stop grinning and instead start salivating for what sure as hell is going to be an over the top metal feast for all.
Tonight’s set is a healthy combination of Crack The Skye era prog numbers, classic Leviathan tracks like I Am Ahab and Megalodon, and the more accessible, at times almost pop numbers like Dry Bone Valley, taken from the guys’ most recent long player The Hunter.
As usual, bassist Troy Sanders takes centre-stage and entertains the crowd by pulling faces and jumping about like a heavy metal jester. Brett Hinds and fellow shredder Bill Kelliher impress with their usual trick of playing riffs so clean and tight that it makes these highly complex numbers look fit for beginners. Brent Hinds sports a leg brace and is therefore confined to the left of the stage for the duration of the show. Kelliher runs about a bit, but his mechanical and overly rehearsed looking moves seem a tad silly and impair his performance slightly. But hey, those minor imperfections aren’t really worth cringing over and instead we keep enjoying Mastodon’s impressive 23 song metal master class that lasts over 100 minutes.
As the night concludes with Red Fang joining Mastodon for the mellow rocker Creature Lives, we sweatily make our way back out into the cold, hoping the neck-ache and ringing in our ears will have disappeared by the time the boys are back in town.