Concert Recap Mastodon featured

Concert Recap : Mastodon and Clutch

Author: Ryan Bonevitch

Amidst the chimes of slot machines and crackling of dealers shuffling cards, there was heavy metal to be played for a packed crowd at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA on Friday May 15th 2015.  On the bill were two bands that have truly established an impressive career and massive following amongst the metal community.

Mastodon, still relatively young in their career has risen to become one of the most well known acts in the genre while Clutch has consistently kept their unique groove since their debut 1993 release “Transnational Speedway League”.  On this night, fans at Sands Casino were in for a treat as both bands brought their A-game to the stage.

Mastadon 1
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Still supporting their 2014 release “Once More ‘Round The Sun”, Mastodon relied heavily on new material for this tour, playing seven songs from the album.  They started things off with the first track from the aforementioned LP, “Tread Lightly” and then went right into a blaring rendition of the title track.  While the new material translates well live, there is no doubt that fans would be disappointed without hearing some of the career defining tracks that have put Mastodon on the map.

Noticeably absent from this set list was arguably the band’s most popular song “Blood & Thunder” from 2004’s release “Leviathan”.  Luckily the band did dig back into their catalogue playing fan favorites like “Oblivion”, “Crystal Skull”, and “Megalodon” among others.  Closing out the band’s set was a rare gem from 2009’s “Crack The Skye” entitled “The Czar”.  Clocking in at nearly 11 minutes the song is certainly an epic one but never gets boring as the band truly flexes their musical muscles throughout.

Mastadon 2
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One of the unique aspects that defines Mastodon as a band is that nearly every member contributes vocals to the music.  The vocal trio of lead guitarist Brent Hinds, bassist Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Dailor is truly a delight to listen to and witness live.  Even rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher gets involved on backup vocals.  Thus there is no one “front man” in Mastodon, but there certainly is a bunch of musicians who could front their own acts with no problem whatsoever.  All four members bring ability to the table that no doubt sparks the envy of other acts all over the world.

Mastodon Set List:

  • Tread Lightly
  • Once More ‘Round the Sun
  • Blasteroid
  • Oblivion
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • High Road
  • Aqua Dementia
  • Halloween
  • Aunt Lisa
  • Bladecatcher
  • Black Tongue
  • Ember City
  • Megalodon
  • Crystal Skull
  • The Czar

Clutch 1
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Billed as a co-headlining tour, either band could have taken the duty of closing the show but on this night the job was given to Clutch and they left no doubt of their worthiness for the job.  Formed in 1991, Clutch has been delivering their signature concoction of blues & metal groove for nearly 25 years.  All four founding members are still with the band and still rocking as hard as ever.

Singer/Guitarist and Keyboardist Neil Fallon has a true command of the stage and promotes a real party atmosphere in the crowd as a front man.  The signature crunchy style of guitarist Tim Sult also sounded as crisp as ever.  While Fallon only dons his guitar for select songs, Sult is able to create a full guitar presence all by himself. That is one of the key ingredients to Clutch’s sound.

Clutch 2
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The fans in Bethlehem would see a career spanning set on this evening that sent all of them home with a smile on their faces.  Hits like “The Mob Goes Wild”, “Electric Worry”, and “Pure Rock Fury” all were met with roars from the casino crowd, which sang every word.  Also present on the set list were two unnamed songs from the bands upcoming release due out some time this upcoming fall.

The tracks were met with rave reviews from the crowd and paired nicely alongside the bands classic material.  After hearing the new tracks, the fans got one of the highlights of the night as Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher joined the band on guitar for a rendition of “Texan Book Of The Dead”, a track from the their self titled sophomore LP.

Clutch Set List:

  • The House That Peterbilt
  • Unto the Breach
  • Pure Rock Fury
  • The Mob Goes Wild
  • Profits of Doom
  • Animal Farm
  • Escape From the Prison Planet
  • Burning Beard
  • Cyborg Bette
  • Crucial Velocity
  • Book, Saddle, & Go
  • Earth Rocker
  • Unknown New Song
  • Unknown New Song
  • Texan Book of the Dead (With Bill Kelliher)
  • Cypress Grove
  • Spacegrass
  • Electric Worry
  • One Eye Dollar

Overall, both bands delivered fantastic shows for the patrons of Sands Casino.  As both bands have confirmed they are working on new albums, there is no reason to expect either to slow down and there will be plenty of opportunity to see both acts in the coming years.  The current tour will continue until May 24 when they will wrap up in Columbus, OH at LC Pavilion.  Both bands will then head across the pond for dates across Europe.  Get your tickets now at mastodonrocks.com or pro-rock.com.

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