Mastodon Bell Stage at the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City QC July 15

Mastodon Bell Stage at the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City QC July 15
Early in the night, the performance by the Georgia swamp/alien/hippie/badass metal troupe known as Mastodon was one of the most anticipated sets at Festival d'été de Québec. They were playing on a second stage that had the kind of natural ambience and acoustics to perfectly suit the band's current frame of mind: expansiveness.

Opening with "Black Tongue," from their latest opus The Hunter, drummer Brann Dailor and crew began to weave a rather unsettling tapestry of riffs, licks and kicks. But just as they were beginning to get into their groove, lightning could be seen in the far distance behind them, and a few small raindrops began to fall.

The band seemed unfazed. But by the time they kicked into the slow-burn jam of The Hunter's title track, the raindrops were the size of marbles and the lighting was getting much closer, and the thunder louder. Bassist Troy Sanders, a one-man wildebeest, looked prepared to face the elements head-on, but he was quickly whisked offstage by the powers that be.

The rest of Mastodon followed in retreat as we, the devoted Masto-heads, were promptly soaked to the bone while powering through soccer chants and the kind of stomping and carrying on usually reserved before encores.

When the guys came back out, they had a few disappointing words for their faithful. "We're really sorry, and we love you very, very, very much, but they won't let us continue. We'll be back and make it up to you," said a rattled Dailor, before adding, "That's what Mastodon does, though: thunder and lightning."