7 p.m. Sunday, November 13. Pop's Nightclub, 401 Monsanto Avenue, Sauget, Illinois.

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$23 to $26. 618-274-6720.

Metal juggernaut Mastodon's newest effort, The Hunter, is the group's stripped-down, straight-forward rock record. If the awesome three-tongued beast on the album cover suggests the Atlanta band isn't ready to ditch its progressive fantasy tendencies, the oddball choral interlude on "Creature Lives" is confirmation. Sure, The Hunter is more scattered, simpler and dumber than its concept-album predecessors, possibly displaying some lessons learned on Mastodon's tour alongside Alice in Chains and Deftones. But no currently active band worthy of making Pop's erect an outdoor stage is capable of a sweeter riff than "Blasteroid" or a better song title than "Octopus Has No Friends."

Expect To Smell: Secondhand weed smoke, sweat-encrusted Metallica shirts unwashed since the Ride the Lightning tour and the Metro East's collective trash rotting in the Granite City landfill a few miles away.

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