As the cool evening in Belfast closes in the line grows outside the Ulster Hall anticipating the doors opening. Tonight Mastodon, US heavy metal masters of sludge and stoner rock, were playing the first night of their UK & European tour. Belfast once again paves the way for a massive band. They were being supported tonight by Kvelertak and Mutoid Man.
As the crowd filtered in and began to grow Mutoid Man opened up their energy for all to see. This American trio had enough energy and enthusiasm to fill the stage with their presence and the Hall with their fast, raw and powerful sound. Their set, including “Kiss of Death”, “Date with the Devil”, and “1,000 Mile Stare”, proved to everyone there that they more than deserved to be on stage. They pushed on, with a now awe inspired audience lapping it up, with a chugging freight train of a set.
They played hard, fast, aggressive with a wonderful sense of mischief. Chatting to the audience every so often the roars got louder and more enthusiastic. This is a band that is on the up and if Animal from the Muppets wanted a band that would surpass his energy, then Mutoid Man is the one. Their impromptu partial cover of Led Zepplin’s “Communication Breakdown” was incredible. They already had some fans in the Ulster Hall, but by the end of their set with the last song “Gnarcissist” they had many, many more fans. Mutoid Man are a must see band.
Up next came the Norwegians! Kvelertak are a six piece band with three guitars and pull in a full Scandinavian punk rock sound. Their polished, tight and animated performance was full of hefty, chunky, and incredible energy that swept through the audience. Ripping up the place with “Åpenbaring”, “Bruane Brenn”, “Nerkroskop”, and “1985” they immediately established why they were on stage.
Everyone seemed to push forward with an energetic joy as Kvelertak delivered song after song a punk rock sound that had a Queens of the Stone Age/Green day vibe with an underlying tone of hard blues rock. Continuing with their set they delivered “Fossegrim”, “Blodtorst”, “Berserkr”, and “Mjod” to an energised, appreciative crowd.
Pummelling through their set with a joy of rocking out they had the whole Hall jumping and rocking out as their passion for rocking the stage was plain to see and captivated the crowd. They finished their set with “Manelyst” and “Kvelertak”. This Norwegian band provided a fantastic performance and are well worth seeing.
Then on a darkened stage to the sound of industrial feeling electronica came Mastodon. With stage lights swinging and a hypnotic televisual visual setup these hardened metallers laid down the law and the now packed Ulster Hall lapped it up with thunderous tracks of “Iron Tusk”, “March of the Fire Ants”, “Mother Puncher”, and “Chimes at Midnight”. Heavy, punchy, chugging and delivered with pure professionalism that shone through completely. The crowd were filled with the same joy of rock that exuded from the stage.
On they went with “Steambreather”, “Toe to Toes”, “Sleeping Giant”, “Precious Stones”, and “Ghost of Karelia”. Grooved up, stoner metal ruled Belfast tonight with an incredible presence.
The crowd went insane as on Mastodon continued with “Capillarian Crest”, “I Am Ahab”, “Megalodon”, “Ancient Kingdom”, and “Scorpion Breath”. The show they put on was just pure metal full of riffage and heavy thunderous sound. Just to ram home how mighty Mastodon were the dropped “Crystal Skull”, “Spectrelight”, “Aqua Dementia”, and “Crack the Skye”.
As the evening came to a close they blew off the roof with “Diamond in the Witch House” and “Blood and Thunder”.
All three acts were fantastic in their own right, each one delivering a set as if they were the only ones on the list. Together they produced an incredible, superb, and fully rounded evening of rock and metal that more than sated everyone’s appetite for a great night out.
If this performance on their first night of their UK and European tour is anything to go buy, you need to get in there to see this show. There is plenty of opportunity and you will kick yourself if you miss out.