Mastodon, Neurosis: Photos/Show Review (Brooklyn Masonic Temple, New York)

    On a bitter cold night on January 24, the gods of metal swung their mighty hammers and bestowed upon us a rare gift: Sludge giants Mastodon and crust godfathers Neurosis playing back-to-back sets at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Fort Greene. A review of the evening, in images and words, is below. 


    Photos by Chris Owyoung


    The place was filled to capacity by a mixed group of Pratt kids, dirty old metalheads, and Williamsburg nerds. The psychedelic space metal of openers U.S. Christmas, a North Carolina band on the Neurosis-run Neurot label,  echoed throughout the temple’s ballroom, with singer/guitarist Nate Hall screaming through the heavy Sons of Otis-like riffs like an angry Roger Waters.

    The set from Atlanta-based Mastodon drew mostly from Blood Mountain, the band’s third and most recent full-length, released via Reprise in 2006, with a couple songs from Leviathan (2004) and Remission (2002) thrown in. The audience responded to the crushing bass laid down by co-howler Troy Sanders and the technical riffs of guitarist/singer Brent Hinds by forming a decent-size pit. When Hinds stepped up to the edge of the stage with his Flying V, the hands reached out and the horns began to fly. The echoing acoustics of the Masonic Temple, which worked nicely for U.S. Christmas, muddled Mastodon’s intricate guitar work. The result was a washed-out cacophony that made it hard to appreciate the complexity of the band’s music.

    After Mastodon’s set, the members of Neurosis took the stage with little fanfare and dove right into material from Given to Rising, released in May via Neurot. The dubious-smelling smoke permeated the crowd as Neurosis strummed one slow chord after another. Though light was scarce for all three acts, Neurosis was illuminated entirely by bleak-themed projection visuals by acclaimed video director and Battle of Mice member Josh Graham.
    The concert was so loud that anyone within fifteen feet of the speakers ran the high risk of sudden digestive distress. Even in the standing-room-only balcony, heavy bass lines vibrated innards in an oddly satisfying way. Backed by images of slow-motion flowers opening, wolves running across snowy fields, and shadowy figures walking back and forth, the band punished the crowd with heavy dirge and commanded heads to bang at the right moments. Neurosis’s last song ended with a ten-minute feedback/drum solo that left everyone exhausted, happy and a little stoned.
    Mastodon’s set list:
    Hearts Alive
    The Wolf Is Loose
    Crystal Skull
    Capillarian Crest
    Hand of Stone
    Siberian Divide
    Sleeping Giant
    Circle of Cysquatch
    Aqua Dementia
    Where Strides the Behemoth
    Mother Puncher

    Neurosis’s set list:
    Given to the Rising
    Hidden Faces
    A Season in the Sky
    At the End of the Road
    To the Wind
    Distill (Watching the Swarm)

    Water Is Not Enough
    The Doorway