Mastodon marauds Houston audience at White Oak
(Photo: Thomas Joseph)
Mastodon mauraded a rapt audience at White Oak Music Hall on Thursday night.
Rolling through a broad set, they hit all the hallmarks metal fans have come to expect from the four-piece. Mastodon lead off the set with the slow build and explosion of "Sultan's Curse," showcasing the group's penchant for trading off vocals.
For much of their history, bassist Troy Sanders and guitarist Brent Hinds shared vocal duties, with drummer Brann Dailor joining in later. All three bring something unique to the mic, adding a dynamic most metal bands can not match. That variety is also evident in their set list; "Sultan's Curse" comes from 2017's Emperor of Sand, with the band playing six other tracks from that record.
While it's interesting to hear a band progress, the set pulled from Mastodon's whole catalog.
(Photo: Thomas Joseph)
"Ghost of Karelia," from 2009's Crack the Skye is a similar number. Featuring a spacey intro into a driving track, it's also from the first album featuring Dailor on vocals. The guitars from Hinds and rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher have a pleasing variety to them. Hinds reels off a sharp solo, but the riffs manage to go from deep and heavy in the heart of the track to almost groovy in the outro.
It's a testament to Mastodon that they can pull off such subtle shifts. "Toe to Toes" is a bit more dramatic. Stemming from 2017's Cold Dark Place EP (which itself originated from a Hinds solo project), "Toe to Toes" is among Mastodon's most emotional tracks. It feels a bit unbalanced at times, but like the band's entire catalog, it never ceases to feel like a complete and considered package.
Support came from Dallas-based Mothership and All Them Witches. The latter brings a strings-driven take on blues rock that can be a bit jarring at times. Drummer Robby Staebler has a style equal parts blunt and laid back, while do-everything instrumentalist and singer Charles Michael Parks, Jr., has a laissez-faire delivery that brings to mind Matter Berninger as much as any rock great. We're not sure how we feel about it here at BSL, but we'll be catching them on their next trip through town, if that says anything.