Motorhead, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil
Feb 18, 2012 6:00 PM
The Big Four (Stampede Park)
Calgary, AB, Canada
Live review & pics by Monika Deviat
Gigantour, the traveling heavy metal festival created by frontman Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, stopped in Calgary Alta., on February 18, 2012 for the third time since the festival’s inception in 2005. This year’s festival also featured England’s metal legends Motorhead, who probably played a large part in selling out the venue. Italy’s Lacuna Coil and Denmark’s Volbeat rounded out the bill and added a bit of diversity. Unfortunately the tour hit one of the worst large venues in Calgary for sound. The Big Four building is a concrete box with large pillars breaking up the sound and view. Surprisingly though, the overall sound for the evening was fairly decent. One great idea someone had was to have the line-up for doors inside the building. Underneath the hall where the bands played, a corral was set up (how fitting for a city known as Cowtown) for fans to line up (get herded) and stay warm.
Lacuna Coil started off right at 6:30 with most of the crowd already in the venue. The six piece Gothic metal band from Milan played a tight set. Just before Gigantour 2012 kicked of Lacuna Coil released their new album, Dark Adrenaline [Century Media, 2012]. The light show set a dark eerie stage with blues and reds illuminating energetic the band, following the theme of the album title. Their short thirty minute set consisted of three older tunes and three songs of the new album, including the single “Trip the Darkness”. Vocalists Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro utilized the entire stage, trading vocals parts and harmonizing perfectly while engaging fans. Before leaving the stage Scabbia announced that the band would be returning to North America in April for a headlining tour.
Volbeat, the band that probably stood out the most in terms of musical style, were really well received in Calgary. Joining Volbeat as a second guitarist on tour was Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate. They created their set list with some of the heavier songs in their repertoire, such as “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” and “Who They Are”, which fit in well with the Gigantour line-up. “Sad Man’s Tongue” revealed Johnny Cash as one of the band’s influences and had the crowd singing along. Their set ended with a short piece of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” and their lightning fast rendition incited a rowdy mosh pit.
Every time I’ve seen Motorhead head live, they have been impressive, very loud and given the audience just what they wanted. And this night was no different (but honestly maybe not quite as loud as previous times). Motorhead played a set filled with classic tunes starting with “Bomber” and “Damage Case”. There wasn’t very much interaction between the band and the crowd but guitarist Phil Campbell was wandering around the stage and stepping up to the monitors, playing out to the crowd. Mikkey Dee proved again he is “the greatest drummer in the realm”. Surrounded by his massive drum set, that almost completely hid him, Mikkey Dee headbanged through the set and even pulled out a drum solo mid set. Lemmy introduced the second last song, “Ace of Spades” as the song that would get the most requests if the band took requests. Their hour long set finished off with “Overkill”.
Megadeth strode on stage behind a black curtain, concealed for the opening drum beats of “Trust”. The curtain dropped when the guitars kicked in to reveal the band and a large LED screen acting as a backdrop, displaying iconic Megadeth symbols, album covers and various politically charged images. Mustaine waited quite a few songs before he addressed the audience but one of the first things he did was introduce drummer Shawn Drover, the “100% Canadian” band member. Although it was possible to hear Mustaine singing fairly well, it was a bit difficult to make out what he was saying when he was speaking to and interacting with the crowd. Bassist Dave Ellefson and guitarist Chris Broderick were the liveliest members of the band on stage. Broderick was grinning at the audience as he shredded through precise riffs and solos and Ellefson was raising his fist and throwing horns out to the crowd.
Half way through the set Megadeth stepped away from the classic material and played three songs off their newest release TH1RT3EN [2011, Roadrunner Records]: “Public Enemy #1”, “Whose Life” and “Guns, Drugs and Money”. For “A Tout le Monde”, Scabbia came out to join Mustaine on vocals. While Mustaine appeared a bit aloof, he seemed to be having fun with the Calgary crowd and told them so (claiming he “wasn’t just giving [the crowd] a hand-job”). In keeping with the political themes Megadeth also threw in songs like “Hook in Mouth” and “Peace Sells”. Megadeth came back on stage to encore with one song, “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”.
Overall Gigantour 2012 was awesome. The change overs between bands ran smoothly and quickly, and the quality of sound was actually decent for the Big Four. The merchandise sold out quickly, some items selling out even before Motorhead took the stage. Every band played a solid set and fans were happy with the whole show.