17 April 2009
Mastodon/Kylesa/Intronaut/Via Vengeance @ The Marquee 4/16/2009
Via Vengeance opened once again and I have to say, I don't at all mind this one man trickster opening all these great shows as they come through here. The music is about as you can expect from a local act, and on top of that, the "gimmick" of his act (that is, that he is the whole band) really is effective in getting the crowd pumped up. This man is everything that could be wanted in an opening act. As for him, he gets to play with some of the best bands in the genre. I think everyone is benefiting in this deal.
Intronaut kicked off the touring bands with a bang. The music is all but impossible to headbang to as it changes time signatures just about every other bar, but it is fantastic nonetheless. These guys were, in my opinion, the most talented band playing tonight. The coordination and timing required to play such complex music is beyond the comprehension of most people I think, and to top it off, the riffs are actually good-sounding and brutal. That being said, the complex nature of the music doesn't lend itself to the metal live venue very well. Some bands, like Dillinger Escape Plan, have been able to get away with complexities and still drive a crowd wild, but Intronaut seemed to struggle a little bit with that.
Kylesa was really great. Considering I'd only heard their latest CD, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The CD is pretty good, but I expected them to be the laggard in this lineup. Now, the one thing which did bother me was the dual drummers. As I've mentioned in other reviews, this is a huge pet peeve of mine if the band doesn't utilize both drummers well. Kylesa does not. 90% of the time they were playing the same thing or very close to. Seemed quite unnecessary. The band got plenty of crowd participation though...for awhile I was convinced they would end up with the best moshing of the night over the headliners, Mastodon. Definitely a huge audience response and solid if a little repetitive music, nothing to complain about.
Now, here is where I have a mini-rant about bands I like getting signed to major labels. It's great for the band, don't get me wrong, but it makes me really not want to see them live anymore. For example, the guys behind me before Mastodon started were discussing how great Dave Matthews is (seriously, not in a satirical way). Now, normally, if I ever heard that at a metal show, no, scratch that, I would expect that I would never ever hear that at a metal show. I mean seriously. Dave Matthews. As these guys continued to talk, I felt I would be doing the world a favor to kill them given their taste in music alone, yet here they were seeing Mastodon, a band that has put out a couple of good albums. This is where I want to destroy MTV or whatever it is that brings these unelite to my shows. Unacceptable tainting.
Mastodon, however, did put on a good show despite it all. They played entirely through Crack the Skye, and then took an "intermission" of about a minute, then came back and worked through their back catalog for another 45 minutes. Now, throughout Crack the Skye, the crowd was very tame to my astonishment. Granted, the new album isn't exactly full of the heavy, mosh-ready tunes that Leviathan was, but it is a good album, and the audience response was pretty flat for the most part. But after that intermission, the crowd really did get moving. A few tracks from Blood Mountain got movement, but really, it wasn't till Leviathan tracks that we really saw what this crowd could do, and then there was a great pit going, and it was what I had expected to occur an hour previously. The crowd predictably did not get into the genius that is Seabeast, but I can forgive them for getting into the rest of stuff from Leviathan (though Seabeast is definitely the best track on that album).
All in all a great show. I can't actually pick a favorite band from the lineup, they all had their unique strengths that they played to and in the end that made it a very well-rounded show which was only really complete when taken as a whole. An art few lineups manage to cater to very often.