• AC/DC at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne – 11/2/2010

    Feb 12 2010, 2:04

    Thu 11 Feb – AC/DC, Wolfmother, Calling All Cars

    It has been 9 years since AC/DC has played in Australia, so this was my first chance to see the legends of my childhood in the live arena.

    Expectations were extremely high, this band has a plethora of true hits, and a number of Aussie rock anthems.

    Supporting AC/DC at Etihad Stadium, formerly Telstra Dome, was Calling all Cars, a horrible attempt at child-friendly radio rock. Rubbish, don’t even bother.

    Following their dismal set was Wolfmother, a band known for their one shitty hit “Joker and the Thief”. These guys acted as if they were superstars, but in reality played a set comprising 10 or so Joker rip-offs. I really don’t understand what people see in this shit form of music. Yes, it’s easy and fun, but really, it’s fucking TRASH. They’re not talented whatsoever. The lead dude should avoid attempting to shred, he looks like the biggest amateur. This brings me to my next point; the crowd. 70% bogans, 25% teeny boppers, 5% metal. Need I say more?

    AC/DC came on at about 9PM, and with an animated “Rock n’ Roll Train” intro, they shot into their hit single from their new album, Black Ice. The cheese level was high, but that’s what you have to love about AC/DC. They’ve earnt their spot and now they can do what they want with it. They choose to play cheesy, simple, nontechnical songs and they pull it off.

    And they pulled it off all night. The setlist went something like:

    1. Rock N’ Roll Train
    2. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
    3. Back in Black
    4. Big Jack
    5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
    6. Shot Down in Flames
    7. Thunderstruck
    8. Black Ice
    9. The Jack (featuring 15 year old girls lifting their tops up on the big screen)
    10. Hells Bells
    11. Shoot to Thrill
    12. War Machine
    13. High Voltage
    14. You Shook Me All Night Long
    15. T.N.T.
    16. Whole Lotta Rosie
    17. Let There Be Rock
    18. Highway to Hell
    19. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

    Just looking at that list makes me dizzy; as a 13-14 year old I loved those songs, I remember hearing Hell’s Bells for the first time as a kid and being blown away by the lyric “I’m coming on like a hurricane” – that lyric alone probably got me into the world of metal, and even though now I have moved on to more technical and heavier things, this band was a must-see.

    There was one thing that kinda pissed me off, and that was watching Angus jerk off his guitar for a good 10-15 minutes. He’s technically not a great guitarist. I agree that he’s an icon, of course he fucking is. But to watch him play the same shitty runs up and down the neck was ridiculously pointless. Despite the knowledge that most of this crowd weren’t serious metalheads or even musicheads, I was still surprised how much they loved said solos. They were pathetic, let’s face it.

    Other than that, it was a mostly flawless night. The band were tight albeit slightly sloppy at times (see: Thunderstruck intro). Angus Young commanded the crowd as expected, but Brian Johnson was a standout for me, he still has “the” voice – while it’s not an amazing style, it’s iconic and he can still do it live. Malcolm Young and the boys spent the whole time at the back of the set just jamming along while the two frontmen ran around the stage and up the excessively long ego ramp.

    In the end, I went home satisfied. I probably wouldn’t need to see them again, they fulfilled my expectations.

  • Mastodon at the Palace Theatre, Melbourne – 28/1/2010

    Gen 29 2010, 7:30

    Thu 28 Jan – Mastodon, The Day Everything Became Nothing
    This has been my first chance to see Mastodon since being blown away by the Progressive Metal masterpiece that is Crack the Skye.

    My expectations were high, but were they met? Just.

    Firstly, the support band, The Day Everything Became Nothing were definitely not my thing. I can’t enjoy Grindcore for the life of me.

    Mastodon’s setup was pretty cool, with a pretty rad lighting rig that was nerdy enough to suit the progressiveness of their latest album, yet badass enough to suit their overall heavyness.

    They opened with Oblivion, which was a good sign as I’d heard rumours they’d play their entire album from start to finish, and considering it’s a concept album in story-form, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    I got shivers all over during the intro drum fills, and then for generally the entire second half of the song. One thing was apparently early is that the sound was suffering. There was a lot of feedback and the vocals were drowned out in a wall of sound.

    That said, the entire Crack the Skye set was fantastic. The crowd seemed to love it, and personally I loved watching Brann Dailor successfully tackling his insane drum sections while singing at the same time, and also Brent Hinds dominating every one of his insanely 70’s inspired guitar solos. The Czar and The Last Baron were utter perfection.

    I enjoyed the second half of the set, but nowhere near as much as the CTS section. Their earlier stuff doesn’t excite me as much.

    Special mention has to go to the girl who Brent called back up onstage for some “dancing”. Thanks for ruining the whole awesome vibe!

    Unfortunately because of my work commitments I had to stand back and take it all in, rather than get into the mosh and really be a part of it, which somewhat dampened it for me.

    So all in all, it was a very heavy, but intricate and tight gig. I will give it 7/10, only because the sound was just so appalling.
  • Dream Theater at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne 2009

    Dic 16 2009, 6:51

    Mon 7 Dec – Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation
    Tue 8 Dec – Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation
    Well, when dealing with a topic like Dream Theater, one doesn’t know where to start!

    So… I’ll start from the start! We got tickets to both gigs – the 7th and 8th of December.

    The first night we were seated in the stalls, about 3/4 back and to the side. Not a great seat by any stretch of the imagination.

    Pain of Salvation sucked. I was hoping for progressive masterpieces but all I got was repeditive pop-rock with ear-splitting wailing from an incredible vocalist, but it still sounded shit.

    Dream Theater came on a touch before 9 I guess, and played an average setlist. I say average in the best way possible; it still rocked!!

    1. A Nightmare To Remember
    2. A Rite Of Passage
    3. Hollow Years
    4. Keyboard Solo
    5. Erotomania
    6. Voices
    7. Forsaken
    8. Solitary Shell
    9. In The Name Of God
    10. The Count Of Tuscany

    Highlights were the proggy riff in Nightmare, all of Erotomania, Voices and Count.

    The second night we were promised “a whole different show” and that’s exactly what we got. Well, apart from the opening/closing song, but they both rule anyway so I didn’t mind!

    If you’re a Dream Theater or Progressive Metal fan, this was the gig to be at. While there were a lot less people despite the more than 50% drop in price a few weeks before the gig, the band were in top form. Seeing the band behind the curtain in power-stances for the intro to Nightmare was pretty awesome, before a hail of drums and cymbals hit and we entered one of their heavier pieces. Portnoy was in absolute top form, playing mostly standing up and hitting the snare and letting go of the stick as it flew almost in slow motion in the air, while playing on with one hand and both feet, then still managing to catch it just in time for a technical fill. John Petrucci’s guitar solo was immaculate, I even caught this one on camera and will upload shortly. The Mirror and Lie combination was absolutely perfect. These are two of my favourite Dream Theater songs and played in succession like that was exactly what the doctor ordered. Jordan Rudess did a really cool (albeit nerdy) keyboard duel with an animated version of himself on the big screen. Wither was a bit of a downer but a fun sing-along nonetheless. It’s a weak song about writing weak songs… how ironic!

    Nothing could beat what followed it though, DANCE OF ETERNITY. This song is basically the biggest progressive technical metal instrumentalist jerk off to exist. It’s 6 minutes of insane time signatures and solos. The fact that it doesn’t feature James Labrie was perfect, that guy cannot sing, or command an audience, at ALL.

    After One Last Time I was sure they were going to play My Spirit Carries On, pretty much the most homosexual religious wank of a song to exist, but fortunately this was not to be! As I Am is a song I traditionally don’t like, but it really was a hit live, despite Labrie’s atrocious singing.

    Pull Me Under was a song I always thought of as repeditive and boring, but live it was GREAT! Half way through they increased the tempo exponentially over about 30 seconds before going straight into Metropolis Pt.1, which sealed the night for me. Halfway through that they did extended solos, which turned an amazing technical song into something even crazier. I also got a bit of footage of this which I plan to upload shortly.

    They finished with Count of Tuscany and that just about put me to sleep. What a song, only thing that had the potential to ruin it was James Labrie’s shocking singing… you’ve got to understand the guy can’t hit any of the high notes and the ones he can hit he sounds like a dying pig on, but he decides to go up an octave for the chorus. WHAT A TERRIBLE IDEA, why do this when you can’t even sing the regular chorus!?!?! Fortunately Jack, Ian and I managed to sing louder than him which drowned him out pretty well.

    1. A Nightmare To Remember
    2. The Mirror
    3. Lie
    4. Keyboard Solo
    5. Prophets of War
    6. Wither
    7. The Dance of Eternity
    8. One Last Time
    9. Sacrificed Sons
    10. As I Am
    11. Pull Me Under / Metropolis Pt. 1
    12. The Count Of Tuscany
    First night would be 6/10, second 8/10.
  • Opeth - Melbourne 25/11/2009

    Nov 29 2009, 5:45

    Wed 25 Nov – Opeth, Contrive

    are a band that I had only recently discovered (maybe a year or so) and ever since hearing Watershed I have been dying to see them play live.

    When the tour was announced I quickly snatched up some tickets for Jack and I and ever since have listened to them non-stop; at work, in the car and at home.

    The amount of skill displayed on all of their albums is astonishing, so both Jack and I agreed that they’d probably be able to “do it live”.

    We weren’t let down at all.

    They opened with Windowpane, one of their slower, softer songs from the almost completely acoustic album Damnation. The crowd loved it and sang along all the way through.

    After a quick “hello” Mikael Åkerfeldt launched straight into Ghost of Perdition, a song that bounces between heavy and soft, brutal and delicate. This is one of their “hits” and it was magnificent to see the crowd get so involved.

    The whole night was a bit of a blur, with no real loss of momentum despite the slower acoustic parts of songs, so I can’t place where Mikael joked around between songs, but man, he was pretty funny. He managed to have a go at James Hetfield, ABBA, AC/DC, Manowar and others. I didn’t realise he was such a great frontman. Despite being very “out-there” you got the vibe the he – and the rest of the band – were very down to Earth people.

    The middle of the set was a bit of a blur for me, but the setlist went something like, The Lotus Eater (a classic prog song from Watershed), The Leper Affinity (heavy as fuck featuring an awesome proggy riff), Hessian Peel (one of my favourite songs, which went down an absolute treat, especially the heavy part), April Ethereal.

    After a bit of banter Mikael introduced Face of Melinda, which was probably the “moment” for me, where I realised how amazing these guys really are. His voice was just phenomenal in this one!

    This was followed up with one of my favourite drum-heavy songs, Reverie/Harlequin Forest – to me if there is the “galloping guitars”, this song features the galloping drums. Love them.

    We were informed that the “last song” of the night would be Hex Omega, and while that was one of my least favourite songs off Watershed, this was probably my favourite of the gig. The soft part 2/3 through suited the gig completely. Couldn’t have been more happy with that song choice, especially with those varied drum rolls at the end!

    The crowd went absolutely mental for about 3 minutes before Opeth came back out and Mikael introduced all of the band members, and Per Wilberg ripped a really cool keyboard solo, then Fredrik Åkesson pulled off (I hate this cliche but it really was) a face melting solo. I hadn’t realised how good that guy can shred!

    The crowd demanded that Mikael do a solo, but for about a minute he kept repeating, “I don’t do solos!” The crowd didn’t give up so he decided to do an A cappella version of a number of Whitesnake songs before joking around some more. The guy had the entire audience in his hand. Not many frontmen can do that.

    They finished the gig with Deliverance, which is a perfect song for that, especially the double kick drums at the end. What a gig.

  • Slayer/Megadeth in Melbourne 2009

    Ott 10 2009, 1:52

    Fri 9 Oct – Slayer/Megadeth Australian Tour
    Okay, that was a pretty awesome gig.

    I got into the venue with about 10 minutes left of Double Dragon's set. They sucked; just a typical metalcore band with no interesting music to offer at all. After a short break just long enough to grab a beer and get back into position, Megadeth came on. They started with Set the World Afire which is a song I was not to familiar with, and the crowd seemed to agree, with just headbanging going on. I was about 6 rows back slightly right of centre which I was happy with. Plenty of Chris Broderick soloing was to be had over there. Wake Up Dead came next, which the crowd loved and there was a bit of movement to be had. We were thrown a different song in Devil's Island, which is a song I have loved for the lyrics, which were sung in extremely quick succession. I think it was at this point (please correct me if I am wrong) where Dave cracked it and said "we will be back when someone fixes this fucking feedback" which killed the momentum the crowd was building up as the songs got faster, but then he came back 5 minutes later and said "you guys are just too important to hear our music like that" before ripping out the intro riff to She-Wolf, which was a crowd favourite.

    One of my favourites is Hangar 18, and I was happy to hear it's inclusion yet again in the setlist, and it went off. Chris Broderick should be commended for his solos. The guy is easily 'Deth's best guitarist since Marty Friedman. Dave looked emotional as always when he played In My Darkest Hour, his tribute to the late Cliff Burton. The crowd sang along very proficiently. Another strange inclusion was Rattlehead, one of my least favourite songs from their debut album, but it got everyone going pretty crazy. By this stage I had drifted over to the centre of the pit, and got my circle on.

    Dave tried to get people to sing along to Headcrusher, but for some reason nobody seemed to know how it went, and kept finishing the second "Headcrusher" before Dave even started it! This was frustrating for me, but noticably moreso for Dave. The song went down pretty well, so I was happy with that. Tornado Of Souls was a song I was hoping to hear so badly, and when it started up the crowd seemed to agree with me. I jumped straight into the nearest pit and just lost my shit. I got knocked down once or twice but it always feels good to have a few people come to your aid straight away. It was pretty crazy for that song, but otherwise the crowd was fairly average, for a thrash metal gig.

    Symphony of Destruction was awesome too, a great sing along and I was starting to feel tired of singing at the top of my lungs and running around like a crazy in the pit, but then once Peace Sells started I forgot about it and turned it up a notch, for the song that probably was the craziest in terms of crowd. I've got a few nice bruises from that song.

    Last up was Holy Wars, every Megadeth fan's favourite song, and it was great. The whole band was tight for this song especially, and I am usually disappointed with what
    the lead guitarists of pasts gone by do with the acoustic middle eastern solo thing between Holy Wars and Punishment Due, but Chris nailed it. I was hoping for it to break into Mechanix between the two like they did in 2007, but it wasn't to be. It was still a phenomenal setlist and the band was very tight throughout. I was surprised we only heard one Endgame song, but hopefully that means a return tour sometime soon!

    It was hectic trying to get to the bar between the 'Deth set and the Slayer set, and by the time I got there all I wanted was a water. So once that was done I got back into a decent position for Slayer, who had a bit more of an over the top set, with flames and a big Slayer metal sign and heaps of smoke and a pretty awesome but fit-enducing lighting rig, whereas Megadeth just had a heap of stacks and a black backdrop with Megadeth written in white, and a not so amazing lighting setup.

    I have tried to get into Slayer so many times over the last 5 years, and all I have ever been able to enjoy is Dave Lombardo's drums. This was pretty much the case with the gig last night. For starters Tom Araya's voice was gone so it was a mostly instrumental set which was a real crowd displeaser, with a lot of bogans yelling at Tom and pissed off that they "wasted their money".

    I never realised how repeditive Slayer really are. It's always a very similar fast detuned riff with steady double kick, then breaking into a slower and more basic riff with a more funky bass drum feel, before going to a superfast but superbasic riff with Kerry King jumping on the whammy bar pulling pinch harmonics and shaking screams, and throwing in a few pickslides for good measure.

    After bringing members of the crowd onstage to sing a few songs which was pretty funny, they had a quick break before coming back for the only songs which seemed to go off, Angel of Death and Raining Blood. The band performed their songs exceptionally well, but I finally realised one thing. I will never like Slayer. They aren't technical enough for me, their riffs are boring but heavy, Dave Lombardo is incredible but under-utilised in that band, and Kerry King is a rubbish guitarist. People call Janick Gers a guitar wank, and I agree to some extent, but at least some of his solos make musical sense. Kerry King does what I did when I first picked up a guitar, tries to make up crazy nonsense solos. At least I got over it.

    All in all, I came out of the gig bruised, dehydrated, deaf and lacking a voice, so what more can you ask for?
  • Iron Maiden in Christchurch, NZ - Somewhere Back in Time World Tour

    Mar 8 2009, 0:57

    Sun 22 Feb – Iron Maiden
    I will try and be as critical as I can, but everyone knows I am Maiden obsessed, and thus will be biased.

    I won the Iron Maiden Fan Club's FTTB competition, that is; first to the barrier. This meant Jack and I (and 118 others) were let into the venue 20 minutes before everyone else, to get right up the front of the general admission floor area. I was dead centre, next to my new found mate Elliot. I was a bit slow getting in so I don't get right on the barrier, just one hand (which you will soon see was ultimately my downfall) was holding on.

    I was so excited to see Maiden; 4 hours of flights, 2 days of driving and countless sleepless nights all came down to one moment. This moment was right upon me. Except for one thing. Support bands. First up was Tainted. They were pretty terrible. Some death metal band. A terrible choice to support maiden. I can't say much more on the subject except that elliot shit his pants when the singer jumped off the stage right onto the security-step directly in front of him.

    Next was Lauren Harris. I have spoken of her before; she's a pop-rock outfit. She's pretty good looking but that's about it. She can't sing all that well and throws up the devil-horns WAY too much. That said, she was more interesting than Tainted.

    Then the lights dimmed and my moment had come. 5 minutes later and after heaps of cheering, "Maiden, Maiden" Doctor Doctor started. They play this song as a signal to get all the crew in order. It felt like Elliot and I were the only two in our immediate area singing along but that's alright, it's not MAIDEN! We knew they were only minutes away. The excitement was overwhelming! Then came Churchill's Speech. If there ever was a PERFECT intro piece for a band to play live, this would have to be it. Seconds later, "WE SHALL NEVER SURRENDER" and Aces High began! It's amazing how the overplayed songs become so much more awesome when they're played live. The band jumped out and were absolutely full of energy. I was a bit worried about how Bruce would sound as in Melbourne last year he wasn't spot on, but as soon as I heard the opening lines, I knew he'd be so much better. The song was absolutely awesome. The crowd behind me started to punish us but not as much as I expected. Bruces final "aces highhAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" was so loud - it suprised me to say the least. Was spot on!

    Bruce just said "evening all" then Steve Harris got Wrathchild started. This got the whole crowd bouncing in no time. If this song doesn't get you bouncing nothing will. Catchiest song they've written in my opinion. Adrian's solos were fantastic. They had a tiny bit of improv but stayed very true to the originals. Bruce's huge scream mid-song was one of his better ones, very impressive. I couldn't believe how much eye-contact Steve Harris gives the front row. If he spots you singing along loving it he will sing (probably SCREAM) along with you for a good 5 seconds, and in some cases he was singing along with me for more! It's a great feeling for me because I have so much respect for him as a songwriter and human being - he's just fantastic! With a final "YEAH!" that song was over and 2 Minutes to Midnight started. Bruce opened up a bit and said "evening to ya Christchurch! How ya doing out there alright my friends?" There wasn't much of a crowd reaction which disappointed me and him, and then he goes "that's no fuckin' use... scream for Christchurch!" got a bit of a response, but nothing compared to when he goes "take your fucking knackers and SCREAM FOR ME CHRISTCHURCH!!!" and the crowd went mental. The song was played flawlessly and the crowd knew the lyrics well which was good. Dave's solo was pretty much completely improvised, whereas Adrian stayed much truer to the original.

    Bruce seemed to be a bit suprised with the crowd at this point; we aren't known for being crazy like the South Americans in this part of the world. Bruce had a bit of a banter at this point. He was suprised that a lot of the seated dudes wouldn't get up off their seats, and called them "posh" and pointed out that they "probably play golf or something". He then went on for a bit about how it'd been 16 years since they last played New Zealand and last time it was only Auckland and they had twice as many people than that here tonight. He made me laugh when he said "oh it's a Sunday night in Christchurch what do you want to do? I know, you want to go to church!" which was met with boos, naturally.

    He then got Children of the Damned started. This was the highlight of the concert for me. It was played to perfection by all band members, but Bruce's vocals were just phenomenal. Really over the top and filled with emotion. I could've just about cried in it. I was singing along the whole time with Steve, he really knows how to appreciate those who know all the songs, I could see him going from my area to other fans who were just as into it as us. In my immediate area there didn't seem to be too many who knew all the lyrics, but Elliot and Blair (another guy from the IMFC) were really into it. The way the solos were played you wouldn't know that these guys are all in their mid fifties. Gives me something to look forward to as I get older. Loved joining the crowd in singing the whoooaaa's in the song. Bruces final "you're children of the damnnneeeedddd" lasted seemingly forever, and pretty much encompassed his entire vocal range. And if you've never heard Bruce Dickinson sing, well you probably should.

    The Phantom Of The Opera was up next, and I was desperately looking to hear this live. I wasn't let down. They played it full speed, which suprised me! It was once again played to perfection however I was a bit disappointed Bruce didn't go for all the massively high notes that he used to hit live. Steve's backing vocals were a lot louder and I was impressed with his voice, as I used to think it was pretty terrible. The midsection with "keep your distance..." was great; I've always loved that part since the day I discovered Maiden. The following solo was played with so much emotion by Dave Murray. He is quite a phenomenal guitarist. Bruce then demanded we "get a fucking jump going here" but "not yet" as soon as that next part started and Bruce said "go" we all bounced away, and at that point I gained a deeper appreciation for Steve Harris' songwriting abilities. The song is just so perfectly written, so intricate. It stands up as the one song that could be used to describe Maiden as a whole. The whole song was incredible. Janick did a good job of the next solo, which made me happy. He usually butchers them up and they don't ring true to the original.

    Bruce quickly changed into his out fit for The Trooper, which I must admit I have had enough of. I thoroughly enjoyed it live, but would have prefered it replaced with something like Revelations. The crowd loved it and it was played with ferocity by all members of the band. The solo was smoking hot - especially Dave Murray's part. All three guitarists and Steve on the bass spent most of the song directly in front of us, forming what I call "The Four Horsemen".

    Wasted Years was next which I was sick of before the concert, but once it started I loved it. I felt a connection with all of the band as the song is essentially about how, even though touring is taxing on their bodies and how it can be hard for them at times, they are actually what they live for and the "golden years" are the years they spend with us, the fans. Adrian played his solo with heaps of extra flair (and wah) which was awesome to behold. I also loved listening to Adrian sing the backing vocals, he really has a very underrated voice. His harmonies with Bruce are quite good; he must have a hell of an ear.

    Bruce kickstarted another banter, this time about the Brit award they won just a couple of weeks before the Christchurch show. He really made me laugh when he said, "the nice thing about it was, it was in front of an invited audience of all the wankers that the music industry could possibly get in one place, an invited audience of media lovies who would probably die a death and have some sort of heart failure if you ever dragged them near an Iron Maiden gig full of real people" and thanked us for voting for them (which I did) on the BBC website and "stuffed it up their arses". He then talked about how clean New Zealand is and how they haven't fucked up the air and water, and then made a joke about the "eco-friendly cars that drive around at 2AM" talking about the Boy Racers that were around, before introducing the next song as a song about "what happens when man fucks with nature, then nature fights back. The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner." Of course this was another epic song I was desperately looking forward to after being blown away by it in Melboune just a year ago. It was played faster and more proficiently this time. The entire 13 minutes sounded fantastic. Not too many people were singing along (not suprisingly) but that was fine with me as I was rewarded with heaps of Steve-time and even Dave came up and sang along for a bit! The show thusfar had been so fast that I hadn't noticed that I was feeling dehydrated until the interlude part of the song when we all relaxed for the first time. I was struggling for fresh air and needed a drink, pronto! Unfortunately the security couldn't get me any which was disappointing to say the least, as I didn't feel I could make it through the rest of the concert without one soon. The song picked up again and Bruce's "RAIIINNN" scream was really something else. It sounded phenomenal. Dave and Janick's harmonies sounded great and then all three guitarists came up right in front of us and played for a bit.

    With a burst of fire, Powerslave started. I was becoming increasingly conscious of my dehydration, especially with the heat of the flames hitting me. Powerslave is one of my favourite songs so I wouldn't dare hold back, regardless of my immediate health. Bruce asked us to scream for him a few times and we did. Massively. Adrian Smith stepped up and played a blistering solo. It sounded fantastic, really blew my mind. Dave's part sounded to be fairly improvised, as far as I can remember.

    "If you don't know this one, you shouldn't be here!" and so began Run to the Hills. Another song I'd prefer replaced but was happy to hear nonetheless. The thing that got to me though was the fact that I was desperate for a drink, I was really starting to fall around, still clinging onto the barrier, and everyone around me was trying to either get me to jump out, which I refused to do, or get me some water. Granted I had a few sips here and there but nothing substantial, especially considering the security guys were intent on squirting it themselves rather than handing it out. Then this guy behind me starts going all crazy jumping around - which I have no problem with - that's what we're hear for, but then he puts his hands on my head and uses it as leverage to jump around. I turned around and said "get off me bro" and he didn't, so I asked again for him to "fuck off!" and after a few more goes when he didn't, I turned around, and with what little energy I had left I punched him square in the middle of his face. He stopped immediately and I was sure (for the next two or three songs) that I was going to get bashed. Fortunately that didn't happen and I had no more encounters of that type for the rest of the show. The song was a real big sing along and Bruce's trademark scream was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

    The set went all dark and on started Fear of the Dark. Bruce did his typical "Fear of the dark... your turn!" and the crowd loved it. He seemed a little taken back, but I am sure he has heard better in South America and Europe. Janick and then Dave both dominated their solos. Bruces voice at this point continued to impress me, he held the notes longer than usual and included plenty of vibrato.

    With a gong of the bell, Hallowed Be Thy Name began. This song plays out like a story in my mind every time I hear it. The lyrics and background licks are set out in such a way that it just screams, "picture me!" and that it does. Every time I hear it I see this man freaking out as he's being executed. "The four horsemen" were right up in front of us, all but Janick giving me the nod. A few "scream for me Christchurch"'s later and the crescendo of the song was reached, absolutely fucking with my mind. You just had to be there to understand what was running through my mind at this point. Dave unleashed a blistering solo and then Janick, who impressed me once more.

    Up next was the song Iron Maiden, which was a bit of fun. Eddie came out and played a bit of guitar with both Dave and Janick. At this point I was well and truly out of it. I remember focusing more on the security guards than Maiden, desperately needing water. I eventually got one of them to pick up an "empty" bottle and I managed to get enough water out of it to keep me going for the rest of the show.

    Maiden went off-stage and then came back a few minutes later to start The Number of the Beast. This of course was a crowd pleaser and went down really well. Bruce's scream was fantastic. It was funny listening to "sex, sex sex, the number of the beast" and Elliot and I had a laugh at the Kiwi's accents. The thing that amazed me, though, was that Dave Murray's solo, during which he normally pulls a sustained bend for about 10 seconds in, which gets him out of playing one of the faster solos, he didn't skip! He played the whole thing! Adrian dominated his solo as usual.

    The Evil That Men Do was next which is also another of my favourites. Bruce sounded a bit tired at this stage but still put in a great performance! This was the first song I noticed Adrian really get into. He seemed a bit distant, a bit bored. But not in this song. He got right into it! His solo sounded great too.

    One of the catchiest riffs Maiden have written started and so came Sanctuary. Bruce sounded to be right into it, forcefully enunciating those vocals. Mid song he did his normal little banter, letting us know they'd be back to Christchurch! He then made me laugh when he asked "have you yada, have you hada, have you had an enjoyable little musical swarre?... HAVE YOU FUCKING ENJOYED YOURSELVES TONIGHT?" Before getting the crowd to face off in the yelling stakes. Adrian really hammered his solo on his goldtop Les Paul.

    Bruce then gave the usual, "goodnight from Iron Maiden, from Eddie, and from The Boys" but what summed up the concert for me was when Nicko grabbed the mic and did his trademark "ayeee". I cracked up. Then came Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, and I suddenly faced the reality that it was all over, and that I was about to pass out. I slumped over the barrier before a security guard found me, and gave me a huge industrial bucket to drink from, which I did, before he decided to turn it ass over and pour probably 30L of water on me. Once I got outside in the freezing weather I was gone. Chucking up everywhere, shaking to no ends. I was scared that I would need an ambulance because I hadn't taken out travel insurance. I came alright the next day but was disappointed I couldn't head out to the town with everyone else.

    Don't ask me to rate the concert, oh fine, 10/10. It was phenomenal. It was probably, the night of my life, to date.
  • Iron Maiden's "It's About Fucking Time" Tour

    Feb 7 2008, 3:18

    Wed 6 Feb – Somewhere Back In Time World Tour

    It only took 15 years, but Iron Maiden have returned to Melbourne for their "" Tour.

    To cut a long story (regarding support acts) short, Lauren Harris and band were pathetic. The guitar solo's were all identical. The band looked like a combination of persona. The guitarist looked like he should have come from a Power Metal band, the bassist from a Hair Metal band, and the drummer from a gay pride parade. Lauren her self look liked she belonged on a catwalk or something, not in leather. The only positive reaction she got from the crowd was "SHOW US YOUR TITS" or "TITS OUT FOR THE BOYS". Vanishing Point were alright but I've seen them do better. Bass was too high, trying to be maiden or something.

    WOW when maiden came on. The whole crowd were on their feet. I looked back from where I was in General Admission - fuck it was MASSIVE. First they did Churchill's Speech, and when Aces High hit, we all went nuts. The sound quality in Aces high and then 2 Minutes to Midnight was quite bad, with the bass turned up past Steve Harris's already characteristic loud. This was all fixed up by the time The Trooper started. Fuck, what a song. The crowd went completely off for it. Revelations was great too.

    We then got a bit of a speech from Bruce Dickinson about how he'd dogged Australia when he said he'd come back after the '92 show. Next up was Wasted Years. Not half bad at all, but the intro was very slow. Number of the Beast and Run to the Hills were a bit of a sing along, but the real balls of the show was Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In my opinion the best song they have written. It was fantastic live. They pumped out shitloads of smoke in the interlude. I felt like I was the only person singing the lyrics to the song, but fuck it. Melbourne let me down a bit here.
    Powerslave was awesome, with Bruce wearing "that" headdress. Heaven Can Wait was really catchy, with a lot of people singing along, and the fan club winners singing the ohhh-ohhh--ohhh-ohhh part.

    "A one, a two, a one two three four Can I Play With Madness" was one of the bigger songs for Melbourne. Then came Fear of the Dark which was pretty crazy.

    When they played Iron Maiden I was so happy. Such a classic, catchy, ballsy song. Cyborg Eddie came on which was pretty cool. He even played Dave's Guitar for him.

    The encore started with "a song we haven't played in donkeys years" in Moonchild. Was quite good. Not as catchy as the song that followed it in The Clairvoyant though. Love that bassline.

    They closed on Hallowed Be Thy Name, which wasn't bad. I was half expecting them to come out once more with Running Free or something, but it wasn't to be.

    Oh, and I caught Adrian Smith's armband. :D

    A phenomenal concert. Really. I've never been to a better fucking concert, and these guys are pushing 60 years of age!!!

    I've got a few photos which I'll upload onto my flickr shortly @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/katatoniq/sets/72157603856431621/

    Anyway, the concert was filmed, so hopefully we get to see it, as it was pretty damn epic. I got my head right in the middle of a shot of the crowd lining up inside Rod Laver too :D
  • Gigantour 2007

    Nov 16 2007, 2:10

    Tue 13 Nov – Gigantour
    Due to unforeseen circumstances, I missed out on Bring Me the Horizon, but apparently that was a good thing.

    There wasn't much movement when Lacuna Coil came on, but that was fine with me because I was just marveling at Christina's voice. I'd never heard them before and to be honest they weren't anything special. Engaging at the least, but not really encouraging my heart to beat any faster. I really don't find endless powerchords with no solos to be all that interesting. Never the less, Christina was a standout. A really cute-looking girl with a phenomenal voice. I kinda felt sorry for the band because it was their first time in Melbourne and they weren't getting the greatest reception. The male's vocals were really quite lame and really turned me off the band, but when Christina took over she just blew my mind.

    DevilDriver were up next, another band I'd never bothered to listen to, and I'm glad I hadn't wasted my time. Completely lacking skill technically and really quite boring lyrical (do we call growls lyrics?) subject. They had a semi-engaging frontman, but it seemed he really wanted to be in a shock-metal band more than anything. He organised the crowd into a nice pit encompassing roughly half the size of Festival Hall which was cool.

    Static-X came on and really took control of the crowd. Wayne is, like Christina, the sole talking point of the band. With his crazy hair and ESP (LTD :S) explorer he looked the part and the music followed suit. Everyone knew Push It which was good and really got them going. The lead guitarist was a bit of a let-down; he was struggling to keep up with some of the solos. Wayne had a couple of shots on stage which was almost awkward but different nonetheless.

    After a huge break Megadeth came on and Dave Mustaine got by far the biggest yell/scream of the night. They opened with Sleepwalker which really won me over (I didn't really like United Abominations that much before). It was a really thought-out setlist with about 4 classics between each of four and a half (A Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)) newies. I was disappointed that they didn't play Trust or She-Wolf, but I did get to see Tornado Of Souls, Ashes in Your Mouth, Take No Prisoners, Washington Is Next!, Gears Of War (plus extended shred at the end), Burnt Ice, A Tout le Monde, In My Darkest Hour, Hangar 18, Wake Up Dead, Peace Sells, Countdown to Extinction, Symphony of Destruction, and the magnificent closer Holy Wars.
  • MUSE.

    Nov 16 2007, 1:47

    Thu 15 Nov – Muse, The Checks
    Damn, that was a pretty awesome concert.

    I was in the pit with my girlfriend, about 5 rows back, directly in front of Matt.

    The Checks were rubbish live. Rubbish on record and rubbish live. Muse are about as soft as my music tastes extend so it could just be my opinion but The Checks really did just seem to be a desperate attempt to steal all the beauties of the Black Crows.

    Muse took WAY too long to come on stage, whether that was an ego thing or a technical thing is unknown, but it sure seemed as though they were having some sound issues (guitars were cut off at least 5 times during the show).

    A VERY solid set list, but in the moshpit there were a few standouts: Take a Bow, Supermassive Black Hole, Hysteria, Starlight, Time Is Running Out, Stockholm Syndrome, Plug In Baby and the epic closer Knights of Cydonia.

    The pit was pretty tame for the entirety of the show, but that's probably due to the younger demographic dominating the population there.

    There was a seemingly-unplanned 5-minute break half-way through. My best guess is that Matt was feeling sick going by the way he was talking to his tech.

    Phenomenal lighting and the audio was decent. Nothing special but not as poor as festival hall.
  • Metallica: a downward spiral?

    Mag 22 2007, 1:39

    I don't know how many people feel the way I do about Metallica, but it really gets me how they are these days.

    Gone are the days of Kill 'Em All, as we now prepare ourselves for "The New Album." Will it kick the shit out of St. Anger? Only time will tell.

    What really gets me, though, is how Metallica have really ditched their old fans. The true Thrash Metal fans. Back in the eighties we had a great line up. Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, and Cliff Burton. This was (in my opinion) the peak of Metallica. The few concerts that were pushed out with this line-up were phenomenal. Take a look at this clip of Am I Evil.

    Then Mustaine was ejected for real reasons, fair enough, and was replaced with Kirk Hammet. No real problems there. As much as I think Mustaine was the greatest thing for Metallica's original image, Kirk was a good replacement.

    When Cliff died, he was replaced with "the new guy" in Jason Newsted. Not as technically brilliant or unique as Cliff, he was an absolute gun on stage. Take a look at anything from live shit, particularly Jason singing Seek and Destroy.

    If you like that for a mix-up, take a look at this: Lars singing, Hettie on drums, Kirk on bass, Jason on guitar.

    Anyway, between Kill 'em All and St. Anger, we've had Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...and Justice for All, the Metallica, Load, Re-Load and Garage Inc.

    Up until load, Metallica didn't miss a beat. Then something happened. They got haircuts. They started cutting down on solos. They went through rehab. Jason left. They made a piece of shit documentary, "Some Kind of Monster." Then Metallica did the unthinkable. They replaced Jason with Robert Trujillo.

    The guy looks like a monkey for fuck's sake. He stands around on stage like a crab or something. He might sound better than Jason on recording, but live, he's a mess. If Metallica do decide to come to Australia ever again, I'll have to wear a blindfold to enjoy the show. I just can't stand to watch that beast on stage with the band I know and love.

    I want to see Breadfan played again. I want Eye of the Beholder, The Frayed Ends of Sanity, Stone Cold Crazy, Whiplash, Battery, Wherever I May Roam. I don't want I Disappear or St. Anger. Jesus Christ.

    I want to see handlebars on Hettie's face. I want his hair long. I want him drinking beers and swearing. I want Jason to be galloping around the stage with the sides of his head shaved and his hair real long. I want Lars to show a bit more energy than hitting the drum every second or so. I don't want to see Hettie tell the crowd he loves them and thanks them for their support. THIS IS METALLICA, they don't need you, or your support!!!

    How did a band that pumped out such phenomenal shows as Live Shit, or indeed the Monsters of Rock show in 91 end up like this?

    The bootlegs of the new songs are promising, at least they have solos and drums that don't sound like tin cans. We can only pray that they'll grow their hair and drink some beers between now and when they hit the stage with this new material.