The Missing Link unites nomads to forge metal connections beyond scenes
Looking back through lists of past tour dates, the connections and inter-pollinations among this underground army of heavily distorted road warriors are practically infinite. It seems as if every band has toured with every other band on the Missing Link roster at least once. "We've known those guys forever," Pike says when asked about Mastodon, and it's only partly hyperbole — the members of Mastodon met at an Atlanta High on Fire show in 1999.
Though today's metal vanguard takes advantage of technological innovations, it's the relentless touring that reaps rewards. And while life on the road has its costs, the new century's burgeoning crop of itinerant headbangers can depend on a tight-knit nomadic community — bearded and unwashed — that grows stronger by the day. "It'll be a reunion with friends, which is a cool thing," says Landrian. "You end up meeting all these people, touring around, and when you get a show like Missing Link happening, everybody knows each other."
Armed with vans, smart phones, and arsenals of crushing riffs, the bands of Missing Link have the entire continent at their disposal. It's a far cry from the specter of the 1980s, poisoned by feuding thrash titans and the internecine, hair-sprayed fist-fight for scraps from the Sunset Strip table. "That's the thing about this underground metal scene," Landrian says beatifically. "Everyone's working together. There's not a lot of 'Oh, we're competing with these bands to be in a position of honor.' There's a lot of camaraderie. Everybody sees each other in the same light."
THE MISSING LINK
Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me, High on Fire
with Baroness, Priestess, Valient Thorr, Black Cobra, Bison BC
Sat/8, 4 p.m., $35
The Fox Theater
1807 Telegraph, Oakl.