Megadeth and Motorhead at Myth, 2/14/12
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
For a slideshow from the concert, click here.
With mullets galore and a woman retching her guts out in the parking lot outside Myth, Tuesday night had the potential to turn into a Saturday Night Live sketch about the '80s metal scene. Would this be a night for the overserved and out-of-touch? That sentiment often serves as the go-to excuse to write off a genre that has never gotten its due, but also a genre that has never died.
Once inside, however, the mood shifted immensely. Motörhead took the stage in an unassuming manner, and proceeded to set the place ablaze in a matter of minutes. Though not as loud as their last through town last February, the set was just as powerful. Lead singer/bassist Lemmy Kilmister's gravelly, thunderous voice was in prime form, Phil Campbell's buzzsaw guitar work was stellar, and there were a boatload of Marshall stacks (there were eight by my count) to back up the both of them. They ran through a familiar set featuring "I Know How to Die", "Over the Top," and the stellar "The One to Sing the Blues" from 1990's 1916.
Photo by Ryan Siverson
Motörhead's set -- as it has been for the past 30-odd years -- was searing, running at the boiling point for the duration. The stripped-down, bare-bones approach they take with their material is what makes them all-time greats. There are no unnecessary guitar solos, no prog rock left turns. They live by the motto "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" and that's as simple as you can get with a rock band -- maybe. Lemmy and company hopped in the driver's seat and punched it to the floor for an ear-shattering hour with little talk from the stage, save for Lemmy's trademark "We are Motörhead and we play rock 'n roll!" and as they ended the set with the 1-2 knockout blow of "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill" it was clear why Motörhead has survived as long as they have: it's always been about the music and never about the show.
After a fairly short wait (All-ages shows at Myth run like a well-oiled machine to hit the finish line before curfew), Megadeth stormed the stage with a light show filled with reds and blues and film that ran behind them that seemed to indicate their disdain for the direction this country is headed. It was filled with fire, burning flags, and suited businessmen alternately being assaulted and destroying things (those red and blue lights were no accident, it seemed.) "Hangar 18" from 1990's now-classic Rust in Peace began the set and as they dug their heels in, they trotted out a fair amount of material from their new Th1rte3n, which, somewhat unsurprisingly, sounded nearly as good as their "hits", as it were.
Megadeth subscribe to the same aesthetic Motörhead does, however, so it really should surprise nobody. Led by lead singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine, they have pushed what they are good at (precise, inventive, ear-splitting speed metal) and left the experimentation to others. All of it had a surprisingly timeless quality about it. Mustaine and company have put forth a solid, if not stellar, album in Th1rte3n, the songs built around long, complicated riffs played at a face-melting pace.
Photo by Ryan Siverson
Their name alone should have given them a shelf-life of mere milliseconds but as they closed their set with the onslaught of "Symphony of Destruction," "Peace Sells," and "Holy Wars...the Punishment Due," Megadeth proved they and metal are here to stay regardless or trends and what might be in fashion.
Critic's Bias: Motörhead is one of my favorite acts to see live and Megadeth surprised me by how tight they still are.
The Crowd: Full of people who look at metal as a lifestyle and not a music genre.
Overheard: "I'm getting another beer." "Dude, you don't need another beer." intermittently over the course of about fifteen minutes.
Random Notebook Dump: Megadeth's older stuff is still as punishing and bitter as it was when it was brand new.
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