It might have been guitarist Bill Kelliher that recently had to miss a few shows due to pancreatitis. Yet it seems to be Mastodon’s other guitarist/co-frontman that is causing the most problems lately. Our pals at MetalSucks.net and Metalinjection.net are reporting that Brent Hinds bailed on the band half way through their set in Oakland, CA this past weekend.
MS’s “The Big Chazboski” reported the following:
“Brent seemed off from the beginning, staggering a bit and not stepping up to sing his lines. I’m pretty sure he damn near collapsed at least once. Troy once ran to the mic, nearly pushing Brent over, in an effort to sing Brent’s lines. Brent continued to throw in wild solos where there should be words, throwing his guitar around and running off stage. While there seemed to be major technical issues, mostly with his monitor from what I could tell, he became less and less involved in the performance to the point where he even stopped playing and simply yelled in to the mic something around the lines of ‘I love heavy metal…..No I don’t.’ Even more telling, he managed to screw up the intro to a song (that I can’t remember right now) to the point where Brann was looking through his cymbals in hopes of figuring out what was happening. He eventually completely lost his composure, throwing down a mic stand and storming off stage.
After roughly a 20 minute delay consisting of the keyboard player playing the same three notes for 10 minutes, and then realizing issues and perhaps showing more professionalism than I thought possible for a stand-in, started changing things up, trying different chords and rhythms, anything to try to keep the crowd from losing their interest completely. The band finally re-took the stake, sans Brent, thanked the audience for being there, and asked if we wanted one more. Bringing out another mic stand, Bill sang backups to ”Blood and Thunder” and gracefully let the show die out into the night with no trace of Brent.”
Adding more fuel to the fire, such antics were reported to have happened during the band’s set at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival (on April 23) and at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ a few nights before. While I can’t confirm what happened in New Jersey, I myself attended both days of the NEMHF and saw Mastodon’s set. Sadly, what I saw was pretty similar to MetalSucks.net’s reports from the Oakland show. From the beginning of the set, Hinds seemed to be way off (both vocally and monitor wise). He didn’t replace as many of the lyrics with guitar solos as he might have this past weekend, but at points I kind of wished he did (he sounded way off key for most of the set). While Hinds left halfway through “Capillarian Crest,” he did come back out with the band to perform an encore of “Blood And Thunder” after making fans wait an eerie 10 minutes. However, the tension between Hinds and the band throughout the show was evident.
I think we can all agree that “sound issues” is no reason to act unprofessional on stage. But from what I saw on and off stage during the festival (appearing in an arm sling during the day, but chugging down beer onstage while trying to fix his amp), it’s clear that something else is behind Hinds’ weird behavior. Sadly, unless they get their act together, it may cause the end of a truly talented band.