Big Top Luna Park
March 28, 2015
The red volcanic soil in the surrounding region of the city of Tequila is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave – and the juice of the algave was what heralded a balmy Saturday evening. While life is certainly to be taken with a pinch of salt, piece of lime optional, I prefer to sip my tequila.
Kah Reposado set the tone with its seriously chic ceramic skull-shaped “dia de muertos” shaped bottle, which holds a powerful 110-proof mixture that is surprisingly drinkable. Aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, it reveals subtle flavours of vanilla and cinnamon once you get past the heavily obscuring alcohol aroma. A heavy-hitter that lends itself surprisingly well to sipping.
Next up was the ol’ faithful Patron - much lighter, slightly oily and more citrusy with hints of peppery spices and an interesting metallic finish.
Germany’s market leader in the Tequila sector, Sierra Tequila Reposado, completed the trio: distilled twice in copper pot stills, with its characteristic almost artificially golden colour and the tacky plastic sombrero gracing the bottle top, it’s the least sippable of the trio and the “lick, sip, suck” ritual sandwiching the shot between salt and lemon may be the most appropriate way to enjoy it.
Literally in good spirits, one was ready to face Luna Park’s 9-metre-wide polyurethane smiling face, which is based on Arthur Barton’s 1950 “Old King Cole” version.
Luna Park is situated at the foot of Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge. The Big Top, where Mastodon was to hold court, is built on the site of the Ghost Train: a ride that was destroyed in a tragic fire of unknown cause in 1979, which killed six children and one adult. The fire exerted a profound effect on the spiritual outlook on the psychedelic Australian artist Martin Sharp, whose works bear a resemblance with the artworks used for Mastodon’s concept albums.
Mastodon is one of the more democratic bands these days, as all four members are front men in their own right and share vocal duties (including their drummer, which put them in a league with Eagles and Genesis), creating a unique blend and broad stylistic palette of singing / howling styles.
Voices on top a melange of an array of heavy rock genres – from sludge via stoner to progressive rock and everything in between: Mastodon’s timeless riffage radiates a sincere appreciation for all styles of heavy music with a virtuosic, technical prowess: complex breaks, catchy hooks and sudden, effortless prog-rock tempo changes. Mastodon in a live scenario is quintessentially an accomplished heavy rock band.
This was the band’s first headline tour of Down Under, supporting their album Once More Around the Sun, a substantial portion of which was played and the artwork of which adorned a huge psychedelic backdrop as lasers pointed out from above and behind the stage. Martin Sharp would have enjoyed it.
Photos by T.