<bgsound src="../../reviews/furyuk/breakthrough.wma" loop=infinite> Mastodon 20th feb. Manchester Academy 1.

With an album as stunning as 'Crack The Skye' it's no surprise that Mastodon have announced that they will be playing this masterpiece in it's entirety. However the enthusiasm and energy almost palpable from the audience in this run up to special night was almost completely destroyed by the debacle that was their support. Totimoshi, an uninspired, turgid three piece from Los Angeles, play a flagging set which didn't even have the decency to die quietly. Instead they blustered through a clumsy, unengaging disaster of a performance, which left most relieved when they finally departed the stage.

However from the moment Mastodon take to the stage all the excitement, all the energy, comes flooding back in one euphoric wave. From the very beginning their rendition of their latest offering, 'Crack The Skye' stuns every member of the audience. Even though the album is comparatively mellow compared to previous releases 'Remission', 'Leviathon' and 'Blood Mountain' the crowd sings every word and the band engages with the audience creating an energetic and surprisingly heavy atmosphere. Behind the band a huge screen plays a film which supports the main concept of the album providing a mesmerising backdrop which can at times be both abstract and at others almost hammer horror. Though this could distract a potential audience the band play such a charismatic set that it almost feels as if the band are playing on a personal level for each and every person assembled.
Following 'Crack The Skye' would normally have been an impossible task, but not for a band of this calibre. Returning to the stage Mastodon play a second set directly juxtaposed to their previous one. Launching into 'Circle Of Cysquatch' Mastodon attack a series of their old material like hated rivals and pull out some rarely played songs which drag the audience by the scruff of the neck through their back catalogue. The old material contrasting the new, sounding better now than it ever did.

Overall one of the best gigs in recent memory from a band undeniably at the top of it's game.


Photographer: Gemma HARRIS