Georgian progressive metal titans Mastodon share the bill with Krokodil and Big Business at the Manchester Academy. This night sees Mastodon up against some really strong bands and has the possibility of delivering an ear drum shattering experience.
First band on the bill are rising British bringers of the riff Krokodil, who coming off the back of releasing their debut album “Nachash” have clearly got the bit between the teeth on this tour. Despite suffering from sound problems early on in the set, the bands meaty sound drives them forward with the certain heft that you would expect coming from having three guitarists in your band. Vocalist Simon Wright has grown as a singer over the months, showcasing a lot more melody in his range. Expect to see big things from them in the coming year.
Speaking of big, the mighty Big Business followed shortly after. How big is the business we are dealing with here? You may ask, well, on tonight’s display this is the biggest of all business we are dealing with. Despite only touring as a two piece of bass and drums they manage to make enough noise to rival that of a full orchestra being propelled through a Marshall stack. Blasting through a 45 minute set consisting from their rather brilliant latest album “Battlefields Forever,” the lack of guitars is barely noticed as the rumbling bass and frenetic powerful drumming keeps the intense tempo and rhythm going just nicely. Speaking about drumming, Coady Willis is by far one of the best drummers I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live, managing to perfectly marry the art of looking like Animal from the Muppets and being on the money for every beat. A stunning showcase from the man and the Business of course was massive on this occasion.
It’s not that headliners Mastodon couldn’t follow Big Business tonight, it was as if they just chose not to. It is also not like when the band were on they weren’t on great form, with the likes of ‘The Motherload’ and ‘High Road’ showing a band on the top of their game in terms of performing. The band only hampered themselves with their choice of setlist, focusing maybe a little too much on the recent material and neglecting the first run of albums pre “Crack The Skye”. There were the occasional blast such as the rarely played ‘Aqua Dementia’ and the even less played ‘Ole Nessie’ but they were few and far between. The gaps in between these tracks felt they went on for a lifetime.
The omission of tracks was what really put this set down as a poor choice. I understand they are supporting the new album but to play the likes of ‘Halloween’ and ‘Once More Round The Sun’ whilst leaving the likes of ‘Curl Of The Burl,’ ‘March Of The Fire Ants’ and ‘Iron Tusk’ on the sidelines is really perplexing. As Mastodon shows go they were still the same conquering beast they always are in the live environment, it was just this time they decided to step into the live arena will their what seems to be B list jams.