Megadeth @ The Brixton Academy 7/10
Megadeth recently released their 14th studio album ‘Super Collider‘ and to promote the new release they embarked on a warm-up UK tour. The album came out only 2 days before the Brixton show and admittedly I had no time to listen to the new material prior to the gig but the professional reviews have ranged from mediocre to utter shit so I wasn’t hopeful. Fortunately it seems that Dave Mustaine (who will be referred to as ‘Mega Dave’ for the rest of this article) pre-empted that nobody would have got to grips with ‘Super Collider‘ beforehand and so the group pretty much ripped through a greatest hits set with just 3 tracks from the new album played the entire evening.
There was a heavy use of backing videos accompanying the music for the show. This seemed somewhat out of place for a band like Megadeth who have seldom shown a taste for theatrical stage shows. It reminded me of Within Temptation’s utilisation of film at their concert (coincidentally also at the Brixton Academy), which I reviewed for Music Eyz waaaaay back in December 2011*.
I must admit this particular approach did not work for Megadeth quite as well firstly because the footage itself was nowhere near the same standard. It was mostly awful CGI coupled with footage jacked from the band’s previous music videos and secondly because this time round it just seemed to distract my attention from the main focus of the show, which is of course the music and the band.
Choosing to ignore the imagery I quickly came to the realisation that the sound quality was excellent! Sonic clarity from start to finish that I couldn’t fault made all the more impressive considering how loud they were playing… I had really bad tinnitus for 3 days! The boys themselves did not do a huge amount to excite the crowd in terms of movement or on-stage charisma but at the same time there was little faffing about between songs, instead the band took what I like to call the Rammstein/Opeth/Prodigy approach which is to start playing and then pretty much never fucking stop! This worked in their favour since on the rare occasions that Mega Dave did pause to speak to the audience you couldn’t hear a word he said, people in the crowd were constantly demanding that they turn his mic up but the sound engineer only obliged for the final farewell speech and even then it was a struggle. This seemed puzzling since you could hear him perfectly when he was singing while the others were playing.
As I’ve already mentioned the band pretty much went with a greatest hits set. They toured only last year to celebrate the 20 major players from that album made the listing including the title track, ‘Symphony of Destruction’ and ‘Architecture For Aggression’. The infamous ballad ‘A Toute Le Monde’ was brought in around the mid-way point for a change of pace and as usual gained one of the larger cheers of the evening – gotta say though, Mega Dave’s voice really struggles with this number these days! Long serving fan favourites ‘Hanger 18’ and ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due’ inevitably made the cut with the latter being used to close the show with a powerful send off and generated a serious sing-a-long from the crowd. I noticed a Thin Lizzy cover towards the end that sounded a bit dodgy but apart from that there were no real complaints from the set.
The show presented something of a dichotomy; the setlist was very strong (I would’ve appreciated ‘Tornado Of Souls’ but you can’t have everything) and the sound quality was spectacular so from a purely musical standpoint the show was amazing. Since it is first and foremost a music concert this is kinda critical! Visually the backing videos were low-budget eye-sores and just plain distracting (putting the lyrics on screen didn’t help this matter either) yet the band members did little to win my attention back so the concert was very much a pleasure on the ears and boredom on the eyes.
Countdown To Extinction
Architecture Of Aggression
Ashes In Your Mouth
Poison Was The Cure
A Toute Le Monde
Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
Public Enemy No. 1
Cold Sweat – (Thin Lizzy Cover)
Symphony Of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
*PS. I realised at time of writing that in just a week from now I’ll have been blogging for this website for 2 years! Where has the time gone!?
Review by Al Westlake