Review: Mastodon at the Ogden Theatre, with the Dillinger Escape Plan, 11/9/11

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The Dillinger Escape Plan stole the show a bit last night. The band started off with a driving drum beat introduction that shook sternums. After leaping on stage, lead singer Greg Puciato screamed into the mike, "Let's cut the fucking bullshit," and he and his band commenced to doing just that, never letting up for their entire 45 minutes, screeching, shredding and delivering the most acrobatic set of the evening.

Ben Weinman proved himself not just virtuosic on the guitar, but also quite adept at jumping on monitors, falling off said monitor and still playing even while on his knees. And Puciato transformed "You are my sunshine," a vocal ad lib on "Sunshine the Werewolf," into the angriest phrase seemingly ever uttered by man. It was completely bad ass. At the end of the set, the crowd erupted, and as soon as the house lights went on, a mass exodus fled the stage. It was not necessarily what you'd expect from a supporting act, but then Dillinger, who was just fucking sweet, is not just any opener.

Mastodon opened with "Dry Bone Valley," the music was tight but Brent Hinds's voice sounded a bit thin. And when the band went with the tried and true, stand and sway a little performance approach, it was sort of a letdown from Dillinger's energetic set. But with "Crystal Skull," things started picking up. Bassist Troy Sanders threw in some head thrashes, and got a little pushing and shoving out of the audience in the front. And it was all up from there. Hinds's guitar solo during "I Am Ahab" was technically spectacular without seeming greedy for limelight, and even his growling-vocals started sounding spot-on.

With "Blasteroid," the crowd started going wild. People got tossed around and a lot of friendly jostling occurred. Drummer Brann Dailor punched his fills with authority, making even the slower, relatively softer songs sound even heavier. And as Hinds and Sanders starting playing the show up a little more with side-by-side lean backs and plenty of head-thrashing, the songs for the rest of the encore-less set could only be described as epic with one exception. Despite the fact that much of the set drew from The Hunter, "Curl of the Burl" sounded startlingly out of place. The basic pop structure of the track without the complex math thrown in to complicate the equation was almost a beacon for how accessible the band has become over the years.

Red Fang opened the evening and was solid during its thirty-minute set, which started promptly at 8 p.m. Rhythmic and awash in (fittingly) red light, it made me yearn to sit on a couch and watch Planet Earth.

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