Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Megadeth in Council Bluffs: October 3, 2016

Last night my wife and I traveled to the Omaha area (Council Bluffs is just across the river in Iowa) for the third time in the last week and a half to catch a concert.  This time, Megadeth was headlining a show featuring four other bands.  This is the third time that I have seen Megadeth, but the first time that they have been the headlining act.  I saw them for the first time a few years ago when Rob Zombie was headlining and I saw them earlier this year at a festival in Texas.  I was excited to see what they would do as the headliner.  The four supporting bands last night were Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church, and Butcher Babies.

In a rare occurrence for my wife and I, we were quite a bit early.  There were very few people in the seats and a handful in front of the stage when we arrived.  That gave us some time to wander around a little and find the merchandise table, where I finally got a Megadeth t-shirt.  At the festival earlier this year, they were completely sold out of Megadeth shirts in my size.  We then found our seats where we realized that Butcher Babies would be the first band to play, instead of Havok as we originally thought.  Apparently they had been kicked off the tour a couple of months ago due to a dispute with management and I did not realize this.  That kind of sucked because I was excited to see Havok, one of the better recent thrash metal bands.

So Butcher Babies took the stage, and I was already annoyed about Havok not being there.  And then Butcher Babies started playing, and my annoyance increased exponentially.  Butcher Babies is basically a novelty band.  They have achieved notoriety from having not one, but two, beautiful female singers (as my wife said, four boobs are better than two).  Early on the band's career, they took the stage topless in just pasties, but now dress like naughty schoolgirls, showing a lot of cleavage.  They both utilize extreme vocal styles, such as growling and screaming, and bounce around all over the stage.  Having two singers would make sense if they used two different vocal styles a la Scar Symmetry, but Butcher Babies do not do this.  The music was annoying too, Butcher Babies is basically Coal Chamber sonically.  So, things did not start off too well.  I will not be picking up any Butcher Babies albums, and my wife still thinks they are called Stabby Sisters.

Metal Church was next.  I am not completely familiar with their catalog, outside of their first two albums and one of their more recent ones.  The band had recently reunited with singer Mike Howe, who took over for David Wayne, the singer on the band's first two classic releases.  Unfortunately the band seemed to have the shortest set, playing just five songs, though one of the songs "Beyond the Black" was extended somewhat.  Four out of the five songs appeared on Metal Church's first three albums, so they stuck to the classic era.  The only other one appears on their newest album.  Metal Church sounded great, though Howe was a little worse for wear.  Kurt Vanderhoof's guitar work remains the band's biggest strength.

After another break, Suicidal Tendencies took the stage playing "You Can't Bring Me Down", which is my personal favorite ST track.  Despite the advanced age of some of the members (singer Mike Muir is 53), the band still moves across the stage like a bunch of damn maniacs.  Their set was energetic and filled with the kind of punk-infused thrash metal that made the band one of the forefathers of crossover.  Muir's frequent preachiness got a little old quickly, though that was the only downside.  I have been a fan of Suicidal Tendencies since early in my formative years in metal and the band played a number of songs that I was captivated by early on.  My wife, on the other hand, was not nearly as impressed.  The other big surprise was that Dave Lombardo, legendary drummer for Slayer and Testament, among other bands, was hitting the skins for Suicidal.

Despite having just seen Amon Amarth in concert a few months prior, I was pretty excited to see them again.  The stage set was different this time around, they had a boat in the middle of the stage instead of a viking helmet.  A number of the songs were the same as earlier in the year.  But they seemed to have a little more energy.  I have been a big fan of Amon Amarth's particular brand of viking-oriented melodic death metal since the first time I heard them, and last night was a reminder of why.

Finally, the headliners took to the stage.  Megadeth sounded terrific, although Dave may have been suffering from a little bit of a cold.  His voice was not quite right.  Megadeth played a wide assortment of songs from their entire history, as well as a few songs off of their newest album, which really is a very good release.  Megadeth opened things up with the classic "Hangar 18" and covered a few other songs from Rust in Peace as well, including the blistering "Tornado of Souls".  Along the way, they covered most of the bigger songs in the band's extensive catalog.  As expected, Mustaine and new lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro were the highlights of the night with their back and forth soloing.  They closed things out with the ball-busting "Holy Wars".

After three concerts in a week and a half, I am glad that it will be a little while before the next one.  Having to travel two hours to get there and getting home at 1 to 2 a.m. on weeknights can be a little tiring.  Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to the next one.  Most likely that will be in December when Queensryche comes to Omaha.  My wife and I will also be seeing Trans-Siberian Orchestra in November as well.

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