Mastodon & Primus at Southside Ballroom

Photos by Dustin Schneider

By Matt Stubbs from the Jerry Jonestown Massacre Podcast Show

If there are two perfectly matched bands to be on an early summer bill, Mastodon and Primus would be it. These two great bands played on Thursday night at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas, Texas. There was a third band that opened called, All Them Witches, but a stalled El Camino with a sweet wolf sunset decal on the tailgate kept us from getting to the venue in time for them.


One thing that I love about watching Mastodon live is you get a taste of nearly every album they’ve put out. For 18 years these guys have stood at the top of the Metal ranks. Mastodon is largely responsible for pulling the rock music world out of the depressed nu-metal state we got jammed into back in the Limp Bizkit, Staind, and Clear Channel empire days. Ever since I heard Mastodon on a Relapse Records sampler disc., I have been a fan of the Atlanta, Ga. beast. These dudes have always brought their A-game in the studio and live. Their set Thursday night at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas,Texas was no exception. Past Mastodon shows usually pan out like an avalanche. As they play the performance keeps getting better and better. On this night, they were tight and in form right off the bat. Mastodon started solid and ended solid. I am a loud guitar guy, so watching Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher is always a pleasure. The way they utilize dueling guitars in their proggy music structure is six-string magic. Both of them are not shy to come with a few pinch harmonics during their catchy music. Brent is one of those bluesy lead players that goes to a place when he solos. He uses the Gibsons and Marshalls the way they were intended to be used. Mr. Hinds is one of my favorite guitarist to watch. If you are into bass, Thursday night was a dream come true for you. Not only did Primus headline the evening, but you got to see Troy Sanders show off his craft as well. Troy didn’t disappoint in any facets of his craft. His vocals were roaring in Neurosis kind of way, and his dance moves were popping. I think the older Troy has gotten the more he likes to dance while laying his heavy Mastodon bass grooves down. He is also not bashful and will make direct sexy eye contact with everyone watching. Brann Dailer is one of the coolest drummers in metal today. He puts on a clinic anytime he beats the skins. Dailer loves what he does and loves his band’s fans. His jazzy style of drumming is the crust of Mastodon. It doesn’t matter the style of music you are into, if you are a fan of percussion then you get your fix by watching Brann. The musicianship at the Southside Ballroom Thursday night was rock’n’roll brilliance.


Primus ended the evening of music in Dallas on Thursday night. I think I have caught Primus before at a Lollapalooza in the 90’s. And of course, Les Claypool and his band are still amazing and fun to watch. Les started the set with some of his catchy radio hits. “Too Many Puppies” was when all the men in the house became Chippendales dancers. Primus has always been a weird band to me. And I mean the good kind of “weird”. The weirdness hit it’s pinnacle when Primus played music off their latest release, “The Desaturating Seven”. This was the part of the night that we all became Druid ritual participants. Mr. Claypool is either a huge fan of the Los Angeles Rams or just obsessed with cool horned headgear. Either way, I found myself hypnotized by the visuals and sounds of Primus. Claypool’s use of delays and loops along with the polyrhythmic drums demanded attention from the whole venue. It’s always cool when you get to watch the bass player that was too good and odd for Metallica. Primus’s current line up includes Larry “Ler” LaLonde on guitars, and Tim Alexander on drums.

Overall, it was a great night of music. I wish I would have caught All Them Witches, but damn you Dallas traffic!  The Primus/Mastodon show on Thursday night at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas, Texas was a real treat.  I give it a solid 5 golden ram horns up!