Monday, February 13, 2012

Gigantour 2.10.2012

A few weeks ago I noticed that Megadeth's package tour, "Gigantour" was set to play the Aragon this past Friday night. The line-up was intriguing, with Megadeth headlining, of course, Lacuna Coil and Volbeat were on the bill. The band that really sparked some interest, however, was Motorhead.

I've seen Megadeth up close and personal, same with Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil was a non-starter, as far as I was concerned. However, I had never seen Motorhead, and, while the band tours constantly, I know Lemmy was in his 60's. How many more chances will I get?

Probably a few. The guy seems to have Keith Richards-level survival skills.

Anyway, going to the show was a relatively last-minute decision. The tickets weren't terrible, coming out to less than $20 for each band, and that seemed reasonable. The show was, overall, a good time, even if there were some major disappointments.

First up was Lacuna Coil. I had very little experience with this band, other than knowing they were in the Evanescence realm. Which is fair, same sort of vibe, female singer for the soaring melodic parts, and a guy for the more metal/rhythmic stuff. Either their set was amazingly short, or my tickets were wrong as to when the doors opened. My understanding was that doors were at 6:30, and when we got inside, maybe about 6:40, they were already playing, and wrapped up about 7:00.

Not a terrible band, but also not very distinctive. One of those groups who's technically pretty solid, but I didn't get a lot of energy or passion from. Of course, opening acts almost always get the shit end of the stick, and I often catch a whiff of desperation. No one is here to see you, probably, and you have to try to make the best of it. Lacuna Coil didn't impress, but they certainly didn't embarrass themselves.

The next act, Volbeat, I had seen before. My friend Shea is a booster of the group, introduced me to them, and took me to a show at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago's West Loop. I'm fond of the group, and each time I see them, I become more of a fan.

Their sound is a mash-up of metal and rockabilly, and was once described to me as "Johnny Cash fronting Metallica." That's REALLY simplistic, but not wholly inaccurate. It's cool that their songs can go from true downstroke metal riffage to something not wholly alien to a country tune. They're a band I could never call "one note," and somehow they also keep it all sounding unified. I'm also quite taken with Michael Poulsen's vocals, which are in that Cash-Baritone range. I like the way he attacks a vocal line, and there's a true sense of joy in their performances. They give a lot, in terms of energy, and pure positive attitude. A high point.

Next up was Motorhead, and their frontman, who has actually earned the right to be called "legendary," Lemmy Kilmister. Motorhead is no-frills rock. There was little on stage except large amplifier stacks, and some flashing lights. A couple of smokestacks erupted a couple times later in the show, but the band seemed unconcerned with flash, and more with volume.

Frankly, it was almost impossible to understand what Lemmy was saying most of the time, with his permanent rasp and deep accent. Guitarist Phil Campbell (who's been with the band 28 years) took turns with Lemmy thanking and encouraging the audience. The setlist was tight, with pretty much every song I wanted to hear, with the exception of "Deaf Forever," a personal favorite. In short it was a set very much like the band itself, concise, exciting and powerful. The only stumble I can point to is a drum solo that was ill-advised for a fairly short set (an hour and a half, at most).

As Motorhead left the stage, there was some sense we were waiting for the "main event." A large drape was pulled across the stage, and set up for the headliner was underway. I've seen Megadeth a couple times before, and they tend to give an impressive show.

Unfortunately, Friday night was not.

There were apparently some sort technical problems, which were obviously upsetting frontman Dave Mustaine, and maybe that was the undoing. Still, I found it extremely frustrating that the show stopped dead between each song. The stage would go dark, and the entire band would exit, regroup (I guess), then return to the stage for the next song. It left the evening with a hurkey-jerky sense of pacing. I'd get up to speed on a song, and then end up waiting for the next to start. A frustrating experience for an audience, and maybe for the band, as well.

It was for Mustaine, anyway. The rest of the group, Bassist Dave Ellefson, Drummer Shawn Drover, and Guitarist Chris Broderick, seemed to be in top form, and handling whatever was going on with aplomb. I have to guess it was a vocals issue, because Mustaine's vocals were almost nonexistent in the mix. That's a major pet peeve for me. No, live vocals are almost never clear and pristine (especially with this type of intense music), but I hate it when you can't really even tell if the guy is singing, or not. It was that bad.

Not to mention the REALLY ill-considered idea to bring Cristina Scabbia, from Lacuna Coil, up to duet with Mustaine on "La Tout Le Monde," a song I love, that ended up being a disaster. Bad idea, badly executed.

What's frustrating about this is that the band was tight and executed a really great setlist. I have to chalk this up to a tech issue, I saw them in a much crappier venue, Sokol Hall in Omaha way back in the mid-90's, and they killed it. Sound was terrific, and the show cooked. I have to assume that something was just completely FUBAR'd on Friday.

Overall, a great night of metal. At the very least, I can now say I've seen Motorhead. On the flip side, I have to say I saw Lacuna Coil.

Lacuna Coil:
  • Our Truth
  • Upsidedown
  • Fragile
  • Kill the Light
  • Trip the Darkness
  • Spellbound 
  • A Warrior's Call
  • Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
  • The Human Instrument
  • Sad Man's Tongue
  • Hallelujah Goat
  • Who They Are
  • Fallen
  • The Mirror and the Ripper
  • Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
  • Still Counting
  • Raining Blood (Slayer Cover - snippit, Intro Only)
  • Bomber
  • Damage Case
  • I know How to Die
  • Stay Clean
  • Over the Top
  • The Chase is Better Than the Catch
  • The One to Sing the Blues (Drum Solo)
  • Going to Brazil
  • Killed by Death
  • Ace of Spades
  • Overkill
  • Trust
  • Wake Up Dead
  • Hanger 18
  • She-Wolf
  • Foreclosure of a Dream
  • Dawn Patrol
  • Poison Was the Cure
  • Head Crusher
  • A Tout Le Monde (with Cristina Scabbia)
  • Public Enemy No. 1
  • Who's Life (Is it Anyways?)
  • Guns, Drugs & Money
  • Symphony of Destruction
  • Peace Sells
  • Holy Wars...The Punishment Due

No comments:

Post a Comment