Gigantour UK 2008
with Job For A Cowboy and Evile
24th February 2008
All live pics and review by HannTu
I was pretty lucky to get to cover the debut UK episode of Dave Mustaine’s Gigantour, as Roadrunner UK in their infinite wisdom rarely gives out photo passes to non-UK online media. At the very last minute, Asif from Soundshock.net had some family obligations and asked me to shoot the gig for him. Well, I’m not one to turn down a photo pass to Megadeth, no way. At the entrance to the Brixton Academy, in big letters were:
“MEGADETH. SOLD OUT.”
That’s all you need to know really.
I was also really stoked to finally get to see the young English thrashers Evile, who have been getting very favourable press in the metal media worldwide, and is one of the jewels in Earache’s crown. Job For A Cowboy needs no introduction I’m sure.
Due to the tube’s closures and delays, there were relatively few people on the floor inside the Academy’s cavernous interior. Those that were inside however were extremely enthusiastic to see Evile, and they made it known as well. “Show me a London moshpit”, yelled frontman and guitarist Matt Drake, and the crowd did indeed. Given only half an hour to make their mark, they raced through the five songs, including the really catchy “We Who Are About to Die” and their swansong “Enter the Grave”. Opening for Megadeth on the Gigantour UK and with an opening slot for Exodus on their UK tour in a couple of months can only raise the profile of this extremely good band. They are going places indeed.
We Who Are About To Die
Bathe in Blood
Enter The Grave
Job For A Cowboy
Merl from Soundshock.net was supposed to do an interview with JFAC before the show, so we hung out backstage with them for a while before Evile went on. Really nice dudes, and humble as well, however they looked slightly nervous. It did seem a bit of a touring mismatch, but I’m happy to say that the band were extremely professional and played their best. The crowd weren’t enthusiastic at all, and I still think that the band’s music doesn’t translate live. The sound didn’t help either, all you could hear was the triggered double bass and the vocals. The guitars were so muddy and muffled that their riffing was hidden behind the clicks of the bass drums. I didn’t hear any booing, but I didn’t see many arms raised or heads banging. Ah well…
Megadave is back! The last time Megadeth played here was around June-ish last year, and as usual the shows were sold out up and down the country. They played at the Astoria last year, which was hell as the number of fans definitely exceeded the capacity of the venue. The Brixton Academy is much more reflective of the numbers that Megadeth can pull, and it was still packed to the rafters with rabid ‘Deth fans.
The chants started as soon as JFAC left the stage, and the atmosphere was very upbeat and party-like. There were a couple of white-haired old ladies who must have been about 50+, and the under-18s were safely tucked away upstairs in the balconies (I wonder if they sold it to their parents by saying Megadeth was a Christian rock band…) Downstairs, the crowd was singing along to the house music, which I have to say was excellent! “Blackout” by the Scorpions, “Walk” by Pantera, Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” and Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” were some of the few that I remember. Well done to the house DJ, whoever he was.
Most of the crowd were extremely eager to see what new guitarist Chris Broderick would bring to the table. His immediate predecessor Glen Drover left to focus on his family life, but Dave Mustaine has always had the pulling power to bring in the best guns for hire. Chris Broderick served his time in US power metal giants Jag Panzer, and is, or was, touring guitarist for Nevermore, so his name is not unfamiliar to metal fans.
As the house music faded, the lights dimmed and the crowd roared, Shawn climbed into his drum tower, the intro to “Sleepwalker” played, and James, Chris and Dave burst onto the stage. “Wake Up Dead” and the rousing “Take No Prisoners” went down really well with the crowd. “Washington Is Next” was a bit tedious but still well received. James on bass was the most active of the three on stage, running around and pulling poses, while the new boy Chris really nailed his solos dead on. He seemed to have his own little fan club to the left of stage, and he played to them constantly, drawing cheers every time he did so. Dave, well, he seems to have…mellowed? There’s a sort of peace in him, no longer the petulant, hyper-active, mega-driven megalomaniac that the world saw him as…I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, he looked absolutely hyped to be there, and who wouldn’t, with over a thousand fans chanting your name?
The crowd was singing along to “In My Darkest Hour”, which is something really hair-raising. In my notes, under “Hangar 18”, I’ve only got one thing written down: MADNESS!!! With practised ease, the two guitarists took their turns in the spotlight during the guitar duel section, striding forward and back and looking almost rehearsed. Dave has been playing these songs for donkey’s years, but Chris impressed the fans so much that most of them were left with no fear that he wouldn’t fit in. Rock star grin with fleet fingers dancing merrily over the fretboard, Dave might have a contender for limelight-stealer…But then maybe the new Dave wouldn’t care.
The band thoroughly raced through the setlist. Dave himself said “Talk? Fucking waste of time. I’m not gonna talk, I’m gonna fucking play!” And play they fucking did! “Gears of War” and “A Tout le Monde” followed “Hangar 18”, two of my least favourite Megadeth songs, but the crowd singing in “A Tout le Monde” was really something to behold. “Tornado of Souls” from RUST IN PEACE got the headbangers going again, and it seemed that the old Mustaine snarl-and-swagger was back again.
Two surprising inclusions from 1992’s COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION and 1997’s CRYPTIC WRITINGS followed, “Ashes In Your Mouth” and “Burnt Ice”, two songs I wasn’t really familiar with. But everyone knows “Symphony of Destruction”, which Dave introduced by saying something like “social lubricants”, lord knows what he was saying or what he meant. Last year we got a rocking "Mechanix", but this year we got a rather tepid rendition of "Trust", but that’s a small blip in a very huge radar.
Like “Hangar 18”, I’ve got only one thing written down under “Holy Wars”: MAYHEM! And it was. Utter mayhem. When Dave came out to thank the crowd, he looked pleased as fuck. He looked content somehow. The crowd was content as well. They were buzzing, sure, but they knew they had seen a great performance from a premier performer and a tightly-run band. Dave has had more than his fair share of media, band and personal problems over the years – hell, we all know Megadeth was the product of his rage and ego from being kicked out of Metallica years ago. But look where that rage was channelled. And maturing doesn’t have to mean bad music, and you only have to look at the stalwarts who have become legends: the Slayers, the Iron Maidens, the Dios and perhaps the Megadeths. Look at Metallica disgracing their legacy with every step, and look at Dave Mustaine coming back revitalised with a good (if not great) album in UNITED ABOMINATIONS, and having the strength and discipline to pull together band after band, tour after tour, album after album. Best of luck to him and Megadeth, long may they continue to entertain us all.
Wake Up Dead
Take No Prisoners
Skin O’ My Teeth
Washington Is Next!
Kick The Chair
In My Darkest Hour
Gears of War
A Tout le Monde
Tornado of Souls
Ashes In Your Mouth
Symphony of Destruction
Never Walk Alone
More JOB FOR A COWBOY
Thanks to Asif at Soundshock.net and Andy Turner at Metal Blade for the photo pass.
Job For A Cowboy: www.myspace.com/jobforacowboy