It was a hot Wednesday in July as I pulled into the parking garage at the Toyota music pavilion for what would be an unbelievable night of music. As I was driving in the parking garage trying to find a place to park in an almost filled parking garage, I could tell this was going to be an insane night of music. Taking the stage that on July 3rd at Toyota Music Factory was Everytime I Die, Coheed and Cambria, and Mastodon. As I was Approaching the venue from the parking garage, I could see the fans lining up at the door waiting to get in the doors and other fans were headed to will call to pick up their tickets and VIP package lanyards. As I got into the venue fans were already lining up to buy merch from their favorite bands of the night and started getting up against the rail in the pit.

 First up to kick off this fantastic night of music is Everytime I Die, an American hardcore punk band from Buffalo, New York. They were formed in 1998 and have garnered acclaim for their super energetic and intense live shows. As it approached the time for Everytime I Die to take the stage the crowd was getting a little restless chanting Everytime I Die, Everytime I Die. As it got closer to time to start this show an enormous guy came out from the back of the stage with a pink guitar with the name Hana written on it. He just stood at the edge of the stage and looked out into the crowd for a minute. They were chanting and cheering at his appearance on the stage knowing it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the band would join him. He then starting strumming on his guitar with the opening riffs of Roman Holiday and head banging to the rhythm of the song. The crowd erupted with cheer and soon the whole band joined him on the stage, and they kicked the night off with some amazing hardcore heavy music that was unquestionably full of intense energy. Being that this was the first time I had ever seen this band I have to say that I was truly impressed with them, their music and their live show. I would absolutely recommend checking them out when they come to your town. I know that I will be at their show the next time they come close to us.

As the night went on the crowd began to grow even more and the pit began to fill to capacity, and the American heavy metal band Mastodon was set to take the stage and continue to obliterate your senses with their live show and sounds. You could see the band members walking around the back of the stage and getting ready to walk out onto the stage. At the first glimpse of the drummer, Brann Dailor walking on the stage to kick off their set, the crowd went crazy yelling and screaming Mastodon, Mastodon. The rest of the guys joined him and kicked off their set with Oblivion, the vocals started from their drummer, sitting center stage and went from member to member each singing their part of the song. For their second song they played Divinations, that was when you could tell they were beginning to loosen up and started roaming the stage playing and head banging with the crowd. Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds would walk right up to the edge of the stage and gaze out into the crowd as they were playing, the crowd loved the interaction from such an amazing Grammy nominated band. You could also see their amazing bass player, Troy Sanders back by the drum set getting low and grooving with his bass guitar observing the crowded venue. You had to watch the show happening on the screens behind the band as well as the band itself, which is what made this such an intense show on all your senses. The two guitar players had quite a few guitar changes and had some amazing guitars that they were playing throughout the set. As you looked out into the crowd you couldn’t see any free space between people in the pit that wanted to be as close as possible to this amazing sludge rock band from Atlanta, Georgia who has toured the world a few times now. It was an amazing experience getting to take pictures of the guys, they even interacted with the photographers staring them down and giving off little smirks and smiles. There were a few times they would look at you as if they were telling you to pay attention because they were about to get a little funky and start getting down. Another thing was the amazing visual show behind them that changed with every song, which was very bright and visual, just like the drummers’ drum kit that would glow when the lights would hit it. As the show went on into the night the crowd could be seen swaying back and forth, extending their hands to the sky for the band. At the beginning of one of the songs they played Bladecatcher, the guitarists/vocalist Brent Hinds instructed the crowd to get your hands up you lazy bastards. He stated to them that you can’t be a blade catcher with your hands down, and the crowd obeyed, and kept their hands up for this powerful song. Towards the middle of the song was an incredible guitar solo, the crowd was going crazy thrusting their devil horns to the sky as they finished out the song. They finished up their night with one of mine and obviously a crowd favorite Steambreather, and the crowd sang along with every word of the song until the very end, you could tell they wanted more from Mastodon and did not want this night of heavy prog rock to end.

I have to say that this was a great and intense night of music from all the bands that played. Not only was it intense audibly but visually as well. You may not see this line up together again, but it would be another intense tour if they did. I would also have to say that I will be watching for all these band to be coming back to town and putting them on the “want to see again” list and I would love to cover them again together or separately. If you have never seen any of these bands and were wondering about their live shows, I would say that you absolutely get your money’s worth with any of them and would not regret seeing any of them when they come to your town. It was an honor getting to see them and take pictures of them performing in our hometown.

Words and Photos by Craig and Paula Youngblood

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