Prevailing through a long humid day and a pouring rainstorm Mastodon still managed to rock the crowd at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City on Tuesday June 18th. This year they return with bands Every Time I Die and Coheed and Cambria on The Unheavenly Skye Tour.
What makes this tour special though is the content they are playing on it. Ten years ago the band released their magnum opus Crack The Skye and this year they are celebrating that album by performing it in its entirety. This seven track affair is one psyched out progressive metal track after another and is often looked to as a masterpiece within the genre.
Crack The Skye is a conceptual record that follows a paraplegic boy as he traverses the stars and spirits through astral projection. From viking spirits to an escape from Czar controlled Russia and finally a face off with the devil this record takes many twists and turns, yet the band navigates them perfectly.
Accompanying the bands live performance is a brand new visualizer that is absolutely on par with the masterful performances of the band and blissful complexity of the music that inspired it. Also this visualizer works as a guide through the story of the record which makes following along and noticing details in the piece easier.
Unfortunately the sky's were far from heavenly for the show. As Every Time I Die was wrapping up their blisteringly aggressive set the storm clouds were just rolling in. These clouds then turned into a soggy hour and a half for Mastodon.
A little rain could not stop Mastodon from absolutely rocking the night though. The band gathered on stage shortly after 7:30 and as the first dissonant notes of album opener "Oblivion" fans seemingly forgot about the shower above them.
The frantic fan favorite "Divinations" kept the crowd moving, "The Czar" provided a halfway breather, and "Crack The Skye" brought raw heaviness before the albums 13 minute epic of a closer "The Last Baron".
After all this they stepped aside for just a few minutes before returning to stage to play a four song rush of their classics. The intro drumming to "Crystal Skull" played and fans were ecstatic again. They crushed through "I Am Ahab" and "Mother Puncher" before closing with their recent successful single "Steambreather".
The bands technical prowess was something that fans witnessed on full display too. From deep lurking bass lines to flashy guitar solos the band was truly impressive on all fronts.
Singer and drummer Brann Dailor recently spoke in an interview about how learning to play drums and sing simultaneously was very difficult for him. Thankfully though it is easy to hear the improvements he's made in person. I can easily say that the band presented better live renditions of their songs than just last year on their run with Primus.
All in all Mastodon delivered a heavy yet beautiful summer show. The visuals were vibrant, the sounds were surreal, and the show was crazy. Mastodon is a must see for any metal fan in 2019.