Mastodon-Gojira Concert Review-Arizona Financial Theater 04-22-23
Concert Review and Photos By Roc Boyum
Mastodon and Gojira hit the Arizona Financial Theater like lightning on 04-22-23 featuring their co-headlining tour dubbed, the Mega Monsters Tour with support from their special guest artist, Lorna Shore. Performing before a capacity sold out crowd of 5,000 ravenous fans, these bands gave Arizona a crushing show that tore through the venue like a couple of Mega Monsters tearing through downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Deathcore heavyweights Lorna Shore, ripped open the show with their ruthless rhythms, explosive blast beats and the shredding vocals by Will Ramos. The band is relentless in their musical delivery with singer Ramos grabbing the audience by the throat with his commanding performance and vast vocal abilities.
As an opening band, L.S. only had time for a six song set, which of course was way too short, yet it was just enough to bring onboard anyone in the audience who might not yet be familiar with these guys. Their entire set was comprised of tracks from their latest 2022 release, Pain Remains, which is an LP that perfectly exemplifies exactly what this band is all about.
The band’s impeccable decision to open their set with Sun//Eater was an emphatic statement to their fans that simply stated; “we have arrived.” For those in attendance who were newcomers……blown away is the only way to describe the look on the faces of those who were unknowingly clocked in the head with a sucker punch from the band’s beautiful musical brutality. Deathcore music from many bands tends to come off live – as a wall of mush. This mushy wall of sound might be due to the sound guy, the band or perhaps a combination of the two.
But L.S. live, is where this band stands out above their contemporaries with an intricate sound that is more articulated than many of their counterparts and a musical style that is multi dimensional. Their diverse and varied musical orchestrations along with the vocal abilities of Ramos produce a musical landscape that doesn’t require a discerned listener to realize that these guys are a diamond in the ruff. The band ripped through their brutal set leaving the audience wanting more!!! For more, you’ll just have to keep your eyes open for the next time these guys come back around, possibly as a headliner in a smaller and more intimate setting to get a full dose of everything that they have to offer.
Get into Lorna Shore here!
Lorna Shore Photo Gallery_04-22-23
Lorna Shore Set List_04-22-23
The French metal masters known collectively as Gojira, gave the Arizona Financial Theater fans over an hour of brilliant metal that was musically heavy, heavy, heavy and visually stunning with their explosive visual firepower. This show featured a twelve song set and a shredding drum solo by Mario Duplantier. Their set was culled from five of their seven studio LP’s that spans over twenty three years of rocking the planet! This show was definitely an affirmative display, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why these guys are the top metal music export from France; tout simplement genial / simply brilliant! This was my first time to catch these guys live, and I must say; I was totally blown away with their show. I find it truly amazing how a band, any band, can completely hypnotize an audience so they concentrate all their thoughts into a single minded focus for over one hour and then leave you with an indelible impression of great memories that will last you a lifetime! A great part of a band’s ability to captivate an audience, I believe, rests on the shoulders of the singer/front person. Singer/front-man/rhythm guitarist Joe Duplantier effortlessly grabs you with his presence and conviction in his delivery as a singer, front-man and rhythm guitarist; think James Hetfield (Matellica), with that seemingly larger than life presence that keeps you transfixed on the stage captivated because they’re so damn cool!
Their show began with a large semi translucent curtain draped in front of the stage with, Gojira written across it while a large numerical clock to the left of the stage was counting down the band’s arrival. As the countdown was getting closer and closer to zero, the tension in the venue was growing into a feverish roar. Oddly enough, the band started playing from behind the curtain with drummer Duplantier ripping out a frantic cadence on his snare drum that was mocking the flashing strobe lights that were bursting in every direction from behind the curtain. At this point, I was thinking, was there a malfunction with the curtain as it still loomed in front of the stage while the band was playing? The band kept playing as their shadows would dance across the curtain in-between the flashes of the furious strobe lights. Then in an instant, it all became crystal clear when the instrumental musical assault abruptly halted! With a simultaneous drop of the curtain and an explosion of multiple fire pots that were bursting across the stage, the band was instantly revealed. Out front, singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier and the entire band erupted into the opening verse of the brutal rocker “Born For One Thing” which immediately escalated the audience frenzy!
The LP most represented on this show was their highly acclaimed 2021 release, Fortitude with the tracks,“Born for One Thing, Amazonia, Another World, Grind and The Chant. Their auspicious beginning immediately sparked a raging circle pit that would continue throughout their show. Their set also included the fan favorites, “Backbone, Stranded, Flying Whales and Silvera.” Quite often at concerts, the guitarists throw out guitar picks to fans in the audience which is very cool for sure. Drummer, Duplantier joined in on this guitarist tradition of sharing memorabilia with the fans by throwing out drum sticks into the audience which escalated the audience participation frenzy as they tried to grab the flying sticks before they hit the floor. The stick tossing was not only entertaining but the band was able to reach fans that were deeper into the audience, thus providing memorabilia to those who would otherwise be left out of the memorabilia grab .
Speaking of drummer Duplantier; mid way through the show he entertained the audience with a drum solo that started off as a musical theme that increased and kept building in intenisty. He incorporated simultaneous single stroke rolls with his hands and feet, with his hands punctuating the rolls with accents across the tom, toms. He then abruptly stopped his driving rhythm to engage in a call and answer interaction with the audience. This “call and response” session went on for a bit until Duplantier raised a large sign with a huge yellow thumbs down; as if to say; not loud enough people! This was of course a chance for the audience to make themselves heard even more with their ensuing responses that were brought to a roar, at which time a new sign was raised that was a huge yellow thumbs up; great fun indeed!
The band gave Arizona a set of music and pyrotechnics that will be a night to remember for some time to come! This band of the same four guys has been together for over twenty years making great music, and truly enjoy what they’re doing – and not just going through the motions – that’s the reason why this band has such a well deserved reputation of giving their audiences an amazing show – and it’s no wonder why their show is one of the best live metal shows you’ll ever see!
Get into Gojira Here!
Gojira Photo Gallery:
Gojira Set List_04-22-23
The final band on this co-headline show was the heavy metal monster known as Mastodon, who definitely did not give this audience any mercy or reprieve from the carnage of the previous two bands. When their logo laden curtain dropped, the band hit the stage running at a breakneck speed with a ripping version of “The Wolf is Loose” that immediately had a show of horns, cell phones, drinks and anything else you could think of, thrust high up into the air in a show of appreciation for the band’s arrival.
“The Wolf is Loose” charged forward at a relentless pace and then ended as abruptly and as quickly as it started, which immediately had the audience on their feet and roaring with a resounding cheer upon the song’s conclusion. Make no mistake, the metal monster Mastodon arrived with a decisive punch to the head and a full dose of music that was culled from the more brutal tracks of their vast catalogue.
The band gave the AZ audience a brilliant set of fifteen heavy songs and a one song encore. It was their 2004 Leviathan LP that was most represented on this show ,with the tracks; “Aqua Dementia, Blood and Thunder, Iron Tusk and Megladon.” These songs coincidentally are also considered fan favorites which is cool, but here’s the thing – even though Mastodon played these previously mentioned “fan favorites,” you really don’t need to be familiar with their material to enjoy and appreciate their show. If you favor brutally heavy music by highly proficient musicians and you enjoy huge video screens with brain dazzling visuals and of course you love a crazy onslaught of eye popping pyrotechnics; then this show will definitely have you saying; damn these guys and this show are crazy good and I’m now on board with everything that this band has to offer.
The band made great use of their extensive lighting rig and the flash pot pyrotechnics that blasted upward throughout their show. This was definitely a show for those who love their music loud, and music that hits you square in the temple like a mule kick in the head…in a good way!
This is one of those shows where, once you were inside the venue and feeling the assault by Mastodon, you were saying to yourself, I’m sure as hell glad I was one of the lucky ones who purchased a ticket early on, and not one of the peeps outside the venue on show night, hoping to get whatever leftover ticket some scalper had to offer.
If you like a tour that doesn’t have any deadweight bands, then this is the tour for you! With over three hours of brutal music by three great bands, that you can pump your fist to, jump into a circle pit with or just sip an overpriced cold one while watching some great metal music live with 5,000 or more of your best friends, you will get your monies worth and then some….so, join in before it’s too late!