A&GS got the call at the zero hour to head on down to Electric Factory to catch MEGADETH, CHILDREN OF BODOM, and HAVOK earlier this week, so haul ass we did! Mike Sievila was on hand to get all the action on camera, and after a delicious meal at Silk City Diner it was time to go to work.
The Factory was relatively packed, despite it only being 7:30 on a Sunday night. This was good to see because HAVOK is one of my favorite bands and they deserve the largest crowds possible. Taking the stage by storm 20 minutes later, singer/guitarist David Sanchez, guitarist Reece Scruggs, drummer extraordinaire Pete Webber, and new bassist Nick Schendzielos tore through a furious six-song set starting with “Point of No Return”.
There were definitely some HAVOK fans in this crowd because the end of each number brought cheers and applause, and not just a smattering, either. The people there wanted Thrash Metal, and these guys were happy to oblige. Next up was “No Amnesty” from 2011’s Time Is Up before they unveiled a new tune, “Claiming Certainty” from the as-yet-untitled forthcoming album out later this year, their first on Century Media Records. If you haven’t heard this one yet, 1. Shame on you!! And 2. Click HERE. Who’s good to you, huh? I must’ve watched it a dozen times but that paled in comparison to seeing/feeling it in person. It’s a fantastic song and I can’t wait for this record!
“D.O.A.” kept the thrash train rollin’ into “From the Cradle to the Grave” and one of my favorites “Give Me Liberty…Or Give Me Death” to close out their too-short set.
The response to HAVOK was great and I was grinning from ear to ear, having covered them at least seven times in the past three years. I am truly happy for the guys and even though there’s been no announcement yet, you can bet your ass they’ll be back as headliners soon! I even got to hang with Pete for a bit after their set. You all need to realize what a phenomenal drummer he is, but on top of that, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and I’m proud to call him a friend.
CHILDREN OF BODOM was up to bat next. Wasting no time they hit us over the head with a pair of classics from Are You Dead Yet?, the title track and “In Your Face”.
THAT’S the way I wanna rock n’ roll, people! Touring behind excellent new record I Worship Chaos they gave us “Morrigan” next, then reached way back to 1999’s Hatebreeder for “Silent Night, Bodom Night”. You must understand, I was NOT a fan of this band for so long, but they won me over with the latest album, and that prompted me to go back and discover classics like this song. Live it was outstanding, by the way.
Perennial setlist favorite ‘Hate Me!” From 2000’s Follow the Reaper got a huge roar from the crowd, followed by “I Worship Chaos”. COB really showed that they meant business. Hate Crew Deathroll’s lone appearance was in the form of “Angels Don’t Kill’ before the set ended with another killer cut from Hatebreeder in “Downfall”.
Alexi Laiho and Co. left the stage triumphant, and I’m sure they’ll be back again before you know it. I’ll certainly be there, and I’d advise all of you to do the same.
Now it was time for MEGADETH. New album Dystopia was such a massive return to form and I was hopping up and down in my excitement to hear these new tracks live. Also, the anticipation of hearing the new lineup with Kiko Loureiro (guitar) and Chris Adler (drums) was driving me bonkers as well. Opening with “Hangar 18” the place erupted as soon as the first notes were played.
New tune “The Threat Is Real” sounded awesome, Dave Mustaine looked and sounded invigorated.
And while it’s true he’s aged a bit and doesn’t sing as high as he used to, his lower register sounds evil as fuck, so it works on not only the new songs but on classics “Wake Up Dead” and “In My Darkest Hour” which followed.
Another new track was next in “Post American World”. This was one of my album standouts and live it ripped. Rust In Peace made its second appearance with “Dawn Patrol”, bassist David Ellefson and Adler the only ones on stage, surrounded by mist, and a third with “Poison Was the Cure.” It’s obvious which record is arguably the fan favorite because every time one of these numbers was played the crowd got that much louder. I should also say that by now the place was well and truly packed with fans who lapped up every drop of the music.
“She-Wolf” was never really one I loved but again, the live version put the studio one to shame and I was into it.
Title track “Dystopia” IS one of my favorites so I was pretty amped when they played it, especially when I heard David and Kiko joining in for a three-part harmony at the end of each verse, beefing them up. “Sweating Bullets” and “Trust” were well-placed in the set (Thank the Gods they stopped opening with “Trust”) and another new one grabbed us in “Fatal Illusion.” This song has everything but the kitchen sink and live it hits even harder. I about had a coronary when I heard “Tornado of Souls” because it’s been a favorite for over 25 years. Last of the new tracks was “Poisonous Shadows” a Tommy Gun bullet-riddled affair that shredded.
The regular set ended with the one-two punch of “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells” and not surprisingly everyone went batshit, me included. But they weren’t finished yet.
For the encore we were treated to “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” just so MEGADETH could bring the hammer down on us one last time before sending us out into the cold rainy night.
As I said in my album review MEGADETH is back, and back with a vengeance. They take no prisoners, and take no shit. And if you missed the Dystopia World Tour you sure as Hell missed out.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY