Mastodon makes their second appearance on Tyneside in just over 12 months, as they kick start 2019 on our UK shores.

The award-winning US-based outfit is currently touring in support of their critically acclaimed seventh studio album Emperor of Sand. Subsequently, following an appearance at the Northumbria Institute in December 2017, the quartet makes an eagerly anticipated North East return at the O2 Academy Newcastle.

As the house lights fall, and the anticipation builds inside of the room, Mastodon are played onto the stage by Gene Kelly’s “Singing In The Rain”. With the seasonally inclement weather witnessed in the region this week, the sounds of Dean Martin’s “Let It Snow” would have been just as fitting this evening.

Mastodon kicks off the proceedings by taking the crowd back to their early days with a relentless trio of numbers from their first two albums Remission and Leviathan respectively. A triple whammy of “Iron Tusk”, “March of the Fire Ants” and “Mother Puncher” form somewhat of an impressive start to the show. The immediate emphasis on Mastodon’s early discography sets the tone for the night ahead.

Rather than focussing upon their latest release, tonight’s twenty song setlist covers all of the bases, featuring tracks from each of their seven studio albums. This evening, Mastodon largely let their music do the talking, with many of their tracks flawlessly interwoven together. There is little room for onstage banter, with the exception of the occasional thank you, between songs.

Several tracks from Mastodon’s Grammy-nominated latest album feature in the show. This includes the band’s anthemic single “Steambreather”, the melodic masterpiece that is “Ancient Kingdom” along with “Precious Stones”. Throughout the course of the show, psychedelic visuals projected onto video screens at the rear of the stage compliment and further enhance the band’s epic performance.

The distinctive twin part guitar harmonies featured in tracks such as “Toe to Toes”, “Sleeping Giant” along with the previously mentioned “Precious Stones” truly highlights the devastating partnership between Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher. The pair plays off each other seamlessly throughout. Likewise, Mastodon’s uber talented and versatile rhythm section of vocalist/bass player Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Dailor underpin the band’s tight melodic metal groove all night long.

For the final third of the show, the band are joined onstage by Scott Kelly from Neurosis and for the next seven songs, Kelly adds vocals as part of a brutal onslaught of Mastodon’s heaviest numbers. This includes the fast and the furious “Scorpion Breath”, the pulsating “Crack The Skye” and “Diamond In The Witch House”. During the aforementioned number, Kelly also features on guitar.

Mastodon waste no time making a false exit for an encore in favour of fitting in more music into the show. The Atlanta-based four-piece brings their 90-minute set to a close with a further track from their sophomore album Leviathan by way of the classic “Blood and Thunder”. 

Tonight Mastodon proves to the O2 Academy Newcastle crowd that they are simply in a league of their own. 

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Event Date: 18-Jan-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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