In September, Atlanta metal act Mastodon headlined Hopscotch with a fantastic City Plaza set. Like a goofy Southern version of Metallica, their balance between radio-ready accessibility and pummeling crunch was a proper fit—celebratory and loud, like a headliner should be. Sure, there were more "metal" bands on the fest, but the Mastodon set was a good time, and that's all it needed to be.
They're coming back soon to play only a block away. On May 9, Lincoln Theatre kicks off the outdoor music season with a show co-headlined by Mastodon and Clutch, with Sweden's Graveyard opening. Tickets go on sale Friday. Considering how recently they were in town—and considering The Ritz's upcoming reopening on Thursday as a Live Nation venue—we caught up with Lincoln booking agent Chris Malarkey to see if there was any correlation.
INDY Week: Are these street shows part of the way you're competing with having The Ritz back in town and recharged?
Chris Malarkey: I don't know why it would. It's just a show I've been trying to get for awhile. I'm a big fan of Mastodon. I'm a big fan of Clutch. We couldn't get Mastodon last year, because they ended up at Hopscotch, so they're coming around. We decided to jump on it.
Was the plan even last year to do it on the street?
We've done concerts out on the street. We do a couple a year. Sometimes it's a little too big to put in here, you know? Where else are we going to put them? It's easier for us to do it with our infrastructure and do it all in-house out on the street in front of the Lincoln.
You've had Clutch before, and Clutch you've done inside.
Clutch we've done several times. Last time they played, they did a two-nighter and sold out both nights. We actually did the same exact bill, Clutch and Mastodon, back in 2003. Mastodon was a fairly newer band supporting Clutch. We did that show here, and we also put something on down in Wilmington. So we have a history with both of those bands.
Last year were you already in talks with them when the Hopscotch announcement came out?
No. We had just poked around, and the agent told us their plans to play on Hopscotch, so we let it go. We didn't really pursue them this year since they played Hopscotch last year. This package happened to be coming around. I talk to the agent probably every couple of months about Clutch, because Clutch is one of my favorites. They usually come through every two years, and it had been two years. It was time for them to come, and it just happened they were on this bill. We put two and two together and had to put it out on the street. I can get 5,000 people out there.
What else is coming up in your year at the Lincoln?
Right now, I think I've got six or seven sell-outs on the books. I think it's going to be a pretty good year.