GIG REVIEW: MEGADETH, CHILDREN OF BODOM & HAVOK Live At Denver, CO
In early December, 2015, American heavy metal legends Megadeth announced a 2016 World Tour celebrating the release of their latest album, Dystopia, including dates all over the United States and Canada. Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, American thrash giants Suicidal Tendencies, and up and coming Denver, CO based thrashers, Havok were named support for this tour – and the news spread like wildfire. Impressively, there have been Megadeth tour dates announced throughout the entire year, until August, with a handful of later dates already sold out. The tour has been raging on since February 20th (where it kicked off in Dallas, TX) but I was lucky enough to catch only the third show of the tour at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO on February 23rd.
Unfortunately, Suicidal Tendencies was not on our bill, but Havok was playing to a nearly sold out home-town crowd. Considering it wasn’t too long ago that I saw this band playing in a garage, I was pretty excited to see how they would handle such a stage. The four piece took the stage with such force, the crowd was blown away. The guys were full of energy and stage presence I am sure even people stuck in the back could feel. Their set was over far too soon, and the crowd loved every second of it – even the anti-political rant made by the vocalist. But hell, it’s thrash, of course it’s anti-political.
My inner teenager always goes nuts for Children of Bodom. I was one of those girls who had every photo published of Alexi Laiho cut out on my wall. I worshiped his guitar playing, his don’t give a shit attitude, and his gloriously beautiful hair. I will admit though, I am not a fan of their current music. Anything after 2005’s Are You Dead Yet? just didn’t stick with me. Most of the set list was newer material, other than “Angels Don’t Kill”, “Downfall”, and “Hate Me!”. Even though I’ve lost touch with the band over the years, seeing these songs live was incredible. Notably, 2016 marks the first year for guitarist Daniel Freyberg (who could be a long lost brother to Alexi Laiho) on the lineup, replacing Roope Latvala who has been a member since 2003.
Seeing Megadeth live has always been a bucket list item for me. I can still remember being a freshman in high school and picking up So Far, So Good… So What! at a local record store. I had heard the big Megadeth singles, but had never really listened past that, and what a disservice I was doing to myself. Even though it took me a long time to finally see Megadeth live, The Dystopia World Tour has the perfect set-list for me. Of course they are going to play the hits, “Hangar 18”, “Sweating Bullets”, “Symphony of Destruction”, and “Peace Sells”. My favorite song of the night, however was “In My Darkest Hour” as that brought back my high school memories of playing that album over and over. Of course the band played the strongest songs from Dystopia, “Fatal Illusion” and “The Threat is Real”, but honestly, this set-list was a true “Best of Megadeth” show. If you are a fan of old-school Megadeth, you will have your fill! If you are a fan of new Megadeth, you will too. If you have never even heard a Megadeth song but your friends are dragging you to this show – you will have a blast, I swear it.
Denver, CO had a rough and rowdy crowd. This is the type of show that all the “non-typical-concert-goers” go to and cause a ton of problems for others – whether it’s anger induced or alcohol induced – problems are bound to happen. They just don’t understand concert etiquette. I witnessed a middle-aged drunk man beat up on a teenager just to try and get the front barricade spot. He literally had this kid in a headlock. There were many people escorted out for excessive aggression, drunkenness, rowdiness, etc. Hey guys – it’s a metal show. It’s expected. Stay in the back, or along the sides, and you’ll be fine. But to that kid up front who waited in line for hours, got that front barricade spot, and literally fought a guy twice his size to keep it – CHEERS! That was amazing! If you were of legal drinking age, I would have bought you a beer.
If Megadeth and co. are coming to your city, please make it out. This is a band that has been cranking out heavy metal since the early 1980’s and they are still kicking ass. Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson are legends in the metal world and they truly live up to their hype – oh just wait until you see this encore. Keep in mind, the live line-up features newly added guitarist Kiko Loureiro (of prog/power metal giants – Angra) and Chris Adler (Lamb of God) on the drums. It was quite the show – and absolutely worth getting pushed around and beer thrown on me twice (I even had a piece of someone else’s gum on my hoodie at some point in the night). Get out and show Megadeth the respect they deserve!