By Andrew Bansal
April 3rd 2017, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Hollywood CA: Following the release of their seventh full-length studio album ‘Emperor of Sand’, stoner metal giants Mastodon set out for two high-profile promotional appearances this week, and the first of them was an outdoor mini-concert on Monday April 3rd, for the national television show ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’. It was the band’s second appearance on this show, and the first known public performance of the new songs since the March 31 release date. The stage was set as always in the El Capitan Theatre parking lot in the heart of Hollywood, and fans lined up outside the premises in the early hours of the afternoon. With a full North American headline tour starting later this month, Mastodon wanted to give concert attendees in LA as well and television viewers nationwide a glimpse of what to expect from their impending ‘Emperor of Sand’ touring cycle, and fans as well as critics attending this gig were in for a pleasant surprise.
Mastodon hit the stage as early as 6 PM, and as is always the case with these ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ concert tapings, only the first two songs were filmed for television, and as expected, Mastodon took this opportunity to showcase the brand new material. Anyone who dismissed the song ‘Show Yourself’ as an overly simplistic poppy number would be shocked at how much better it sounds live, its heavy instrumental bridge section and guitar solo accentuated that much further. ‘Andromeda’, the other new song filmed for broadcast, made an even stronger impact. Following the first two songs, it was solely up to the band to keep playing, as they were not obliged to at all, but merely for the fans gathered for this intimate concert, they sure did. They debuted the new song ‘Steambreather’, and then turned back the clock a few years by dusting off ‘Circle of Cysquatch’, which they hadn’t played in quite a while. They closed out with another old tune ‘Mother Puncher’, thanked the fans and quickly exited the stage.
Mastodon has always been an unpredictable live band, as in, one can’t predict whether they would turn up as a complete mess or rock your socks off, and thankfully it was the latter on this occasion, as the band appeared to want to put on a good show, and the crowd unanimously enjoyed every moment of the mini-set. But this unpredictability also lends a pure rock n’ roll element to the band, and infuses a touch of curious excitement. They’re also the kind of band that is well received in small doses and does well in this type of mini-concert setting. Whether or not they can sustain the same level of sonic power and quality over a full 90-minute set on the upcoming tour remains to be seen, but if these renditions of the new songs are anything to go by, it will turn out to be a hot ticket this April-May.
Self-proclaimed metal band or not, Mastodon clearly still possess the strength of new material and live performance to stay on metalheads’ radar, and will continue to do so through the ‘Emperor of Sand’ touring cycle.
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01. Show Yourself
04. Circle of Cysquatch
05. Mother Puncher
Mastodon North American tour dates with Eagles of Death Metal & Russian Circles:
04/14/2017 – Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
04/15/2017 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater
04/16/2017 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
04/18/2017 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
04/20/2017 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium
04/21/2017 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
04/23/2017 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Complex
04/24/2017 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore
04/26/2017 – Kansas City, KS @ Uptown Theater
04/27/2017 – St. Louis, MO @ Pageant
04/28/2017 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
04/29/2017 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome to Rockville Festival*
04/30/2017 – Ft. Myers, FL @ Fort Rock Festival*
05/02/2017 – Washington DC @ Fillmore
05/03/2017 – Toronto, ON @ Rebel
05/04/2017 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
05/05/2017 – Charlotte, NC @ Carolina Rebellion Festival*
05/06/2017 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
05/08/2017 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues
05/09/2017 – Portland, ME @ State Theater
05/11/2017 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
05/12/2017 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
05/13/2017 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
05/14/2017 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre
05/16/2017 – Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Theater
05/17/2017 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
05/18/2017 – Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall
05/19/2017 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live
05/20/2017 – Austin, TX @ ACL Live
* = Mastodon festival appearance