For anyone surprised to see Mastodon, a progressive metal band, perform an acoustic set among fish in a Georgia aquarium, think back to Leviathan (2004)–a Mastodon album essentially dedicated to Moby dick. If rockers had to uproot all their style in favor of a place based on fish, it would be Mastodon.
Perhaps only Mastodon could so gracefully play deep songs in an acoustic style–both appealing to old fans while welcoming a handful of new ones. These deep tracks spanned the band’s entire discography, starting with “Naked Burn”.
It’s easy to lose track of the vocals behind a metal band, but the muted drums and slow picking of the guitar allowed lead guitarist Brent Hinds’ sultry vocals to shine through. A deep appreciation for the lyrics to “Naked Burn’s” was not an expectation in the live broadcast, but was certainly a sentiment viewers walked away with.
Before the start of the second track, “Asleep in the Deep”, the band members discussed the inspiration behind the piece. Drummer Brann Dailor, who sings the song, ties its meaning to childhood memories and, oddly enough, Rosemary’s baby. On the other hand, guutarist Troy Sanders has connected “Asleep in the Deep” to MASH POTATOES theme song. Regardless of the basic memory that âAsleep in the Deepâ elicited, however, it was sure to cause a stir, with its transparent harmonies and catchy rhythm.
Then came âThe Tsarâ. Overall, the performance of “The Czar” offered the most drastic differences from its original version. Discussing the render, the band members agreed that the alternate version best represented who they are today. After “The Czar”, Mastodon performed a brand new song, “Skeleton of Splendor” from their upcoming album. The song is said to be a “thank you note” to the late band manager, Nick John. Behind the purple lights and flawless performances, any spectator could see the importance this song had for the band. If the upcoming album is to sound like the performance of “Skeleton of Splendor,” it is sure to make history.
The fifth song, “Sleeping Giant,” kept the theme by breaking the theme. With its ending sounding like an entirely new song is beginning, Mastodon has kept the spontaneity for which their ever-evolving music is known. The next song, “The Sparrow”, kept the emotions running high after Dailor took the time to explain the song’s one and only message: diligently pursuit of happiness. The lyrics were written on paper after the group’s accountant lost his wife, Susie, to cancer. Susie’s Life Message Was To Diligently Pursue Happiness–an important reminder for the short lives we live.
Quickly following, “Thickening” played for the masses at long distance. With its catchy tempo and smooth grooves, “Thickening” doesn’t sound like a traditional Mastodon song. The power of the song, however, is undeniable–which earned it a place of choice among the other experimental tracks of The hunter.
Without lacking in dedications and inspiration, Mastodon performed the last two tracks, “Elephant Man” and “Pendulous Skin”, in honor of Joseph Merrick. Joseph Merrick’s story has proven to be a touching one for the group, proving the strength of the community of misfits.
Initially, the group thanked the fish, put their instruments away and left one last message for the audience: this show was to be fondly remembered by Nick John.–an unforgettable goal behind an unforgettable live broadcast.
Define the list:
Asleep in the depths
Photo credit: Boston lynn schulz