Mastodon, Clutch, Big Business at Commodore Ballroom

Sunday 26th, April 2015 / 15:52
By Erin Jardine
Clutch at Commodore Ballroom. Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Clutch at Commodore Ballroom.
Photo: Sarah Whitlam

April 24, 2015

Two sets of fans converged for two evenings of heavy mayhem at the Commodore. With both Mastodon and Clutch boasting serious longevity, the audience was eager to hear some old favourites. No band outshone the other during the event, with definite musical similarities existing between Mastodon’s latest album Once More ‘Round the Sun and Clutch’s overall southern rock style. The crossover was well-received, with openers Big Business playing for a full Commodore as I weaved my way to the front of the room. The slow doom-y riffs from Big Business provided the backdrop for the tension that escalated as Mastodon’s set neared.

Mastodon at Commodore Ballroom. Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Mastodon at Commodore Ballroom.
Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Chatter and cell-phone photos of Brann Dailor’s gorgeous drums were interrupted by Mastodon’s set, which began three minutes early with a slammer off their newest album. Rumours from their Thursday night set had me hoping for a hefty dose of their classics, and Mastodon delivered. Long, technical guitar and drum solos took over the deeper half of their set, with instrumentals outshining the vocals. It was obvious that the mighty vocals that Mastodon boasts in studio versions can become too much of a challenge while on tour. Nevertheless the band rocked their audience into a trance-like state, with the floors shaking beneath and waving hands above.

Clutch at Commodore Ballroom. Photo: Sarah Whitlam

Clutch at Commodore Ballroom.
Photo: Sarah Whitlam

It would be difficult to define a more uniquely influenced rock band than Clutch. Headlining this Friday-evening show, it was apparent that enough of their die-hard fans had elected for the latter evening. Drinks were slung into the air as soon as the lights darkened. Neil Fallon’s funk-influenced vocals remained consistently strong and clear, cutting through the rock-based instrumentals. A fantastic band to mosh and dance along to, Clutch commanded the audience with their rolling riffs. Their distinct style of heavily American rock was refreshing and fun. Known for a great live performance, Clutch claimed the remainder of the Friday night and their gratitude to Vancouver for hosting them for two nights was palpable.

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