Gojira and Mastodon at Masonic Temple in Detroit, MI

Gojira and Mastodon provide an enthralling performance proving they are monsters of heavy music, giving fans an honest rock and roll spectacle.

Like The War of the Gargantuas, Cloverfield, and the masterful Destroy All Monsters, the Mega-Monsters Tour featuring Mastodon and Gojira at the Masonic Temple in Detroit proved to be epic, spellbinding, captivating, and monumental. Working together, Gojira and Mastodon bring a top-tier heavy metal circus full of mesmerizing laser lights, walls of hypnotic visual displays, and stunning pyrotechnics. To give their fans every dollar’s worth of entertainment, they throw in an utterly jaw-dropping pair of musical performances leaving the audience in awe.

Under a chaotic storm of spasm-inducing lights, Lorna Shore begins their aural assault. For most of this performance, the band is shadowed in darkness, only to be briefly illuminated with a lightning strike of a strobe. Lorna Shore focused their set on songs from their critically acclaimed album, Pain Remains. Vocalist Will Ramos held court at center stage roaring and screaming. His vocals projected vehement venom and unrelenting suffering. Drummer Austin Archey and bassist Michael Yager along with rhythm guitarist Andrew O’Connor played each song with soul-butchering intensity. Meanwhile, lead guitarist Adam De Micco unleashed fretboard wizardry on his glowing guitar. Each blazing series of notes were an act of war confirming the deadly intent of this band’s music.

A roar erupts as a black banner with “Mastodon” is unfurled in front of the stage. The expert road crew quickly sets up for the first of two headling sets. The house music goes quiet as the lights fall and the banner drops to thunderous cheers as Mastodon begins their set. 

Charging hard to break a sweat, Mastodon strikes fast with “The Wolf Is Loose” and “Crystal Skull” from Blood Mountain. Surrounding the band and on the bottom of two risers, video screens showcase the psychedelic and psychotic artwork of Skinner which radiates across the crowd illuminating the room. Atop the left riser is Brann Dailor. His melodic vocals combined with fierce and urgent drum work lifts each song emotionally. The other riser holds Mastodon’s touring companion João Nogueira on keyboards/synths who also contributed to their beautiful and emotionally-charged Hushed and Grim album. Sporting a stovepipe hat, he looks like the mad hatter as he adds sublime colors and textures to the soundscape.

Grimacing as the ecstasy of riffs pours from him, Brent Hinds is unmatched while playing crowd favorites such as “Sultan’s Curse” and “Iron Tusk.” Kicking out a foot before walking out on the edge of the stage to engage the fans, Bill Kelliher serenades with his guitar before raising it high in salutation. Channeling furious emotion with his vocals and throat-punching bass, Troy Sanders is a man possessed by the spirit of the music as his eyes glare while lunging across the stage.

On top of the magical light show and gripping video display, Mastodon brings the blazing intensity of “Andromeda” from Emperor of Sand to life with bursts of fire along the backline of the stage. Jets of flame accentuated the physical savagery of “March of the Fire Ants.” As if all this wasn’t enough of a spectacle, a Cysquatch the size of a small tree strides on stage during “Circle of Cysquatch.” Mastodon finish their set with “Blood and Thunder” which had everyone singing “White Whale! Holy Grail!” with fists punching toward the sky. 

Brann comes down from the riser to thank the crowd with the rest of the band. He shares a story from the way back machine when Mastodon played the Magic Stick in Detroit. As Brann relayed, “One of the biggest guys I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not kidding, talking about my 600 pounds. He got on stage ready to do a stage dive. And he just was like, ready, everybody? And they’re like, don’t f**king do it. And he f**king did it. A big old belly flop. And that’s one of the only times I’ve ever train-wrecked a song. It’s just a fond memory.” Many laughed and cheered as Brann threw a few drumsticks out for fans.

Another black curtain descends over the stage with the logo of “Gojira” causing a huge round of roars and cheers. Once again, the crew seamlessly prepares the stage while fans get a chance to catch their breath and grab another beer. Following the established pattern, the lights dim, the curtain falls, and now it is Gojira’s turn to give everyone another full set of music. You could call this a two for Tuesday; two amazing shows for the price of one.

Bluish white lights and plenty of fog envelop the stage as Gojira start with “Ocean World” off their From Mars to Sirius album. As a sphere with brilliant white gold light streams and spirals, the majestic and massively brutal riffs are a meditation. It is as if we are witnessing the birth of a sun, the dying of a world, and the pinnacle of creation.

Upon a central riser, Mario Duplantier appears to be smashing his drums to pieces. Within seconds, he is covered in sweat. You can see sprays of water coming off his arms and head as he commands us all through the bludgeoning “Backbone.” In a frenzy of headbanging devastation, Jean-Michel Labadie matches Mario’s severity with his bass as the band crushes time and space on “The Art of Dying.” At one moment, Christian Andreu’s face is serene as if in silent contemplation while he plays guitar. The next he contorts and bullwhips his hair; the power within the music can no longer be borne. At center stage is the snarling vocals and pummeling guitar of Joe Duplantier. Veins threaten to rip through his skin as he gives everything he has to this performance. If they are not headbanging or moshing, fans have their eyes locked on the stage as though they are bearing witness to the scared.

In a nod to the old-school concert spectaculars, Mario plays a drum solo and makes it interactive. After a bit of playing, he holds up a sign that read “I Can’t Hear You” which generates a chorus of cheers. He then plays a short riff before holding up another sign that says “F**k Yeah!” which meets with a crescendo of approval.

Gojira continues the extravaganza with an exceptional light show and video displays that compound the emotive musical performance. Columns of fire erupt throughout their set. As if to up the ante, Gojira also employs blasts of fog as well as cannon shots of confetti and streamers to shower the crowd. One of these confetti blasts occurs during “The Chant” of Gojira’s latest release Fortitude.

Joe provided a setup for “The Chant” by saying, “This one is called ‘The Chant’ and it’s about all the bullsh*t we have to overcome in life too in order to free ourselves. At least at a minimum to not feel completely crushed all the time. And if you have anything in your life bothering you right now, we’re gonna work on this. Now in the next five minutes, singing together, this thing. Alright? Our joy, our fears, our despair, our hopes, everything in this song together. Alright? The lyrics are super simple. It just goes. Ahhhhh, so just use your imagination.” The crowd then sings along to this thoughtful song which departs from the heaviness to provide hope.

Gojira brings their extraordinary show to a close with “The Gift of Guilt” from L’Enfant Sauvage. The band then bowed and waved to the crowd. Mario thanks everyone with a hearty “F**k Yeah” over the mic before pitching drumsticks to fans. F**k yeah, indeed.

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About Chuck Marshall 45 Articles
Chuck loves music. If it is powerful and played with conviction, that is even better. In a past life, Chuck enjoyed thrashing on the stage in a Michigan metal band (Battalion). Now he prefers to use his imagery and words to capture the essence of a concert or an album. See and feel the music with Chuck; you’ll be glad you did.