Hunnypot Does...
Powered by CircleSquareLA


Written by 

Metal powerhouse Mastodon rolled into San Diego and delivered an incredible show bursting with heaviness, passion, technical proficiency, and stunning psychedelic visuals utilizing vibrant lasers and a huge video backdrop. Over 1,000 music fans filled the packed Observatory North Park to witness one of this millennia’s top metal bands in their prime.  Mastodon has been around since 2001, with early material leaning more towards death metal and heavy progressive styles. Over their 20 year journey, the band has evolved with increased cleaner vocals and harmonies, and more digestible but heavy as shit grooves while retaining a nice touch of progressiveness and all the fierceness.  Perhaps this evolution meant losing some hardcore fans of their early stuff, but the band has steadily connected and grown their fanbase over the years.  The latest Mastodon release, Hushed and Grim (released October 2021) is a critically acclaimed hard metal gem. The band’s eight studio release is a fantastic double album fusing metal, prog, thrash, with heavy grooves and outstanding musicianship.  Seeing many of these songs performed live was one of the top highlights so far of the 2022 concert season.

Mastodon’s live show exploded out of the gate with the opening track on Hushed and Grim, “Pain with an Anchor”, sung by drummer Brann Dailer.  The band lineup of Dailer, Troy Sanders (bass/vocals), Brent Hinds (guitar/vocals), and Bill Kelliher (guitar/vocals) were firing on all cylinders with a thundering rhythm section dialed in sweet and tight and pure technical guitar mastery at its best.  Seeing musicians who have played together for 20 years so locked in is just amazing musical magic.  The touring keyboardist João Nogueira also played a critical part banging gritty chords and providing the harmonic intricacies required for the versatile dynamic Mastodon sound. 

With eight songs in the set off Hushed and Grim, the show clearly intended to showcase the new material– which I had no problem with since the album is still in my heavy rotation.  However, the song that stood out and anchored the show was the 10 and half minute epic “The Czar”, off the 2009 release Crack the Skye.  As mystic keyboard intro inspired an approving roar from the crowd.  In front of a huge video backdrop displaying colorful artwork of classic Russian onion domes, the band takes us on an interpretive cosmic four-part tale involving the mysterious Rasputin and the last Emperor of Russia Czar Nicholas II.  Each part could be a song of its own and it was quite memorable to witness its’ brilliance live. 

Mastodon will now journey across the Atlantic and take part in all the epic European music festivals in June and July.  Upon their return they start a killer 20-city tour supporting Ghost in late August and September.  Plenty of chances to see Mastodon live this year – I can’t recommend them highly enough! 

Be well and keep rockin’  - Greg Vitalich


Greg Vitalich

Photojournalist - San Diego

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Twitter