Last night I saw about an hour of Mastodon live at the 9:30 Club. An hour only, because I didn’t really enjoy myself. I got there late and the show was sold out, so I was stuck in the back corner of the club, where bouncers would periodically push through to throw particularly rowdy folks out the door, and where, more importantly, the sound was atrocious. I don’t know if it was any better closer to the middle of the floor, but in the corner, the volume was nearly unbearable (and I had earplugs) and there was an omnipresent high-pitched screeching that I guess was caused by all the noise bouncing off the walls around me. So to be honest I couldn’t tell if the band put on a good show or not; the crowd certainly was eating it up. (Metal crowds are really incomparable when it comes to really, viscerally showing enthusiasm for the music.) They sounded a little sloppy to me, but, you know, not really being able to hear anything might have contributed to that impression.
An equally big problem is that for the hour that I stayed, they were pretty much just playing Blood Mountain straight through. I have come to really dislike that album, and live it didn’t come off much better; if anything, it seemed even wankier. For me, the whole concert was a battle between wanting to leave early and wanting to stay long enough to hear them do some older stuff. The former urge won out in the end.