CONCERT REVIEW: Mastodon – Gojira – Lorna Shore Live at Upstate Medical Arena at The Oncenter War Memorial Syracuse


The Mega Monsters Tour with co-headliners of Gojira and Mastodon with Lorna Shore in support, arrived in Syracuse at the Upstate Medical Arena at The Oncenter War Memorial Syracuse. Say that five times fast. Starting back in April and going strong since then, the US portion is coming to an end, but a whole European tour remains.  The Mega Monsters Tour is a massive undertaking and won’t come to an end until the beginning of December in Germany. 

Owned by Onondaga County and operated by ASM Global, The Upstate Medical Arena has a capacity of about 7,000 and is part of a group of venues that includes the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheatre at Lakeview, also in Syracuse. An indoor arena and home to the Syracuse Crunch ice hockey team, it is a cavernous space with a high domed ceiling and two tiers of seating above the floor. Ample parking is available at garages within a couple of blocks and food and beer are available from concession stands placed throughout. 

The line reached around the block to enter and the staff, having been through this before, smartly sent people around the arena in both directions to expedite the process. Everyone filed in and found their seats and soon the arena went dark.


Lorna Shore took to a darkened stage with their stylized logo prominently on the screen behind them. Mostly described as a Death Metal band, Lorna Shore has a symphonic sound that helps them stand out from the rest of the genre. With two guitar players working in harmony, they get a sound that reminds one of Yngwie Malmsteen. Their disappointingly short six-song set ended with parts 1, 2 and 3 of ‘Pain Remains’, a great epic finish. Lead singer Will Ramos had done a masterful job of getting the crowd ready for what was to come. 

As co-headliners, Gojira and Mastodon have been taking turns going first and this night it was Gojira to start. 

Originally founded in 1996 as Godzilla, Gojira is something of an anomaly in the United States; a French Heavy Metal band. With no turnover, all four members have been part of the band from the beginning. They clearly like each other’s company and it shows on stage. When musicians are enjoying themselves, it is apparent in their performance, and doubly so with Gojira. There is a huge banner covering the front of the stage as the lights fade and faint ethereal strains begin to fill the air. The drums kick in and swirling lights come from behind the banner.  With a burst of flame, the banner drops and the show is on. 


There is an artistic aesthetic that comes through in Gojira’s performance and reveals their French origins. During the third song ‘Stranded’, mylar streamers fired out of cannons. During another, the back wall is lit red and silhouettes the band. During ‘Flying Whales’, blue waves of light are shined on the ceiling giving an underwater effect. All of these add to their showmanship and enhance the performance. The audience plays their part as well; as crowd surfers flow towards the front, stuffed animal whales are tossed around instead of the more common beach balls.

Drummer Mario Duplantier, younger brother of guitarist Joe Duplantier is particularly impressive with speed and showmanship combined. During his solo, which is played with his eyes closed, he sports a Cheshire cat grin and works to elicit applause from the crowd holding up a sign that says “I Can’t Hear You”.  After a satisfactory cheer is given, a sign saying “Fuck Yeah” is held up. The set was closed out with ‘The Gift of Guilt’ and everyone in attendance was sorry to see it come to an end.

Changeover was super quick and as the lights once again dimmed and Mastodon took the stage it was apparent why. The same stage set was used for both bands and only a few risers were changed. Mastodon also added a couple of lasers to light things a bit differently.

Where Gojira is more melodic and introspective, Mastodon came out driving hard from the beginning. With a kaleidoscope of colors on the screen behind, lasers and fire flew about as ‘The Wolf Is Loose’ and ‘Crystal Skull’ opened the show. Another band that has kept their original lineup and another band clearly having fun. In fact, at one point, the question was asked of the audience if they were having fun. A response of cheers was met by the band confirming that they were as well. Continuing with what seemed like a cacophony that had been organized, Mastodon ripped through the rest of the set. Highlights included ‘March Of The Fire Ants’ and ‘Crusher Destroyer’ where what can only be described as a two-story neon samurai robot came on stage. ‘Blood And Thunder’ was the last song of the set and is an apt description of what had just been witnessed.

Only a few dates remain on this tour and hopefully, you have had the chance to see one of the best shows of the summer.


Mastodon set list:

The Wolf Is Loose

Crystal Skull




Sultan’s Curse

Fallen Torches

Pushing The Tides

More Than I Could Chew

Aqua Dementia


Iron Tusk

March Of The Fire Ants

Mother Puncher

Circle Of Cysquatch

Crusher Destroyer

Blood And Thunder