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bill kelliherDespite guitarist Bill Kelliher’s hospitalization, the show must go on: the band made their scheduled tour stop in Grand Rapids, MI last night, but Bill Kelliher did not perform. MS readers Matt Gaipa and Jared Lucas reported that both Peter Adams and John Baizley from Baroness each performed two songs with the band — “Oblivion” and “Divinations,” then “Quintessence” and “The Czar,” respectively — after which Mastodon finished out Crack the Skye without the assistance of a second guitar player. I’d forgotten that Mastodon are essentially a five-piece these days with a touring keyboard player in tow, so while I’m sure the keys helped fill some of the cracks I’m also sure that Kelliher’s presence was missed (especially during “Sleeping Giant,” if they played it… his delayed guitar intro is essential!). Regardless, both Matt and Jared said that Mastodon absolutely killed it.

Big ups to the boys in Baroness for learning those songs on such short notice and filling in. I wonder if, as the tour goes on and if Kelliher still isn’t able to rejoin the band, the members of Between the Buried and me and Valient Thorr will also chip in towards a full set? That’d be a pretty special thing to see, albeit coming at the cost of someone’s health (which makes it a lot less cool).

No word yet from the Mastodon camp or anyone connected to Bill. Get well soon, dude.


ADDENDUM from our own Antonin Skullia, Esq.:

At the end of 2008, I was lucky enough to be able to go to the All Tomorrow’s Parties Minehead event, which featured a three-piece Mastodon because Bill was in the hospital at the time. Brent was able to cover in Bill’s absence by himself with a 12 string guitar that was only double-strung for the lower stuff (I don’t play guitar, so those of you that do can use your fancy words to better explain this in the comments). It wasn’t perfect, but it was still pretty awesome. So, yes, a Bill-free Mastodon experience is not as good, but it’s better than a Mastodon-free experience.  It looks like the same thing is going to happen to fill out this tour, which means that some of you might see some amazing mix-and-match bands during his absence, for example:

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