It’s 1.30am on Monday morning and a tornado of souls, still-buzzed from tonight’s Megadeth concert, has descended upon Sydney rock n’ roll dive bar par excellence, Frankies Pizza By The Slice.
Many have come here after getting turfed out of Newtown, which apparently has decided to start instituting those self-imposed lockout laws at complete random now.**
I’ve been peer-pressured by this fired-up throng of Megafans to kick-on after a cracking show, despite the horrifying spectre of my 6.30am alarm looming large, and the knowledge that I’m not going to be able to get to bed til after I’ve drafted this review making me feel almost as sick as the warm, flat, sugary piss-water that passed for booze at the Hordern Pavilion.
“I’d better go,” I inform them. “This thing’s not going to write itself.” But to my surprise, I’m met with a chorus of detractors and a sea of helping hands. These people are so freaking buzzed that every one of them is keen to weigh in on the merits of tonight’s show and help a brother out with her Music Feeds homework.
One of my dear friends who works in the emergency services profession and is, at this point, quite magnificently shit-wankered, grabs a pen from the bar and begins drafting his own appraisal upon a soggy napkin.
Imagine my surprise when – not only was he not taking the absolute piss (despite being quite unapologetically pissed) – he actually managed to bust out a lexical pearler like “fingerblasting”.
And despite his being about ten whiskey-and-apple-juices deep, my sloshed mate’s napkin-based musings were pretty on point.
I’ve seen Megadeth support act Children Of Bodom a few times before, but tonight was by far the slickest they’ve been, scoring themselves a surefire Sydney PB.
Maybe it was the fact that they seemed slightly less… how do I put this… fucked up than usual, but the Finnish foursome smashed out a low key, high-energy set, packed with pulverising riffage, catalogue-spanning tunes and lightspeed guitarmonies between Alexi Laiho and Janne Wirman’s maniac synth. Oh and fingerblasting. Lots of fingerblasting:
(Ignore “Coleman” and “McKinnon”, they’re just a pair of drunk fucks)
With a brand spankin’ new lineup featuring Lamb Of God skinbeater Chris Adler on drums and Brazilian virtuoso Kiko Loureiro on lead guitar, Megadeth hit the stage like a brand new band. In fact, tonight was just the THIRD time that this lineup had ever played together live.
And they were clearly pumped about it. You couldn’t wipe the grin of bassist Dave Ellefson’s face for the entire 18-song set, or Kiko’s for that matter, and I bet even Adler was smiling up a storm under that tangled mop of hair.
Not to mention (and I say this with the utmost respect) it was almost adorable to see Dave Mustaine – one of heavy metal’s most notorious and imposing frontmen – looking happier than if Lars Ulrich just fell face-first into a steaming donkey turd to be leading such a dynamite team of gun musos.
MegaDave even kept chill through a few mic issues and other technical difficulties that dogged the start of the set, which might have caused a less fiery ginger to spit the dummy.
Needless to say, their excitement was infectious. The crowd sang along with the lyrics but also the guitar riffs of classics like Hangar 18 and Symphony Of Destruction, while the choruses of fan faves Trust, Peace Sells and A Tout Le Monde were stirring enough to make you want to throw your arm around the sweaty stranger next to you and sing along, fists raised high (whether or not you actually did so probably depended on his or her level of back hair).
The good vibes were also amplified by the band screening a bunch of Megadeth-themed movie clips between certain songs – from Wayne’s World II, Silver Linings Playbook and more – which triggered MegaLOLs:
Megadeth have existed for longer than around a third of the punters who were rocking out at the Hordern have been alive (myself included) – some thirty plus years. And tonight, it felt like they simultaneously had nothing to prove, and everything to prove. And whatever it was, they proved it.
As far as I’m concerned, the biggest measurement of their success was the overwhelming satisfaction voiced by the vast majority of punters post-show, some who even felt strongly enough to transcribe their experiences upon a series of saloon bar serviettes.
In other news, I may be out of a job.
**The Townie must have called “lockouts!” some time before 11.20pm, because that’s when a group of my mates got turned away. Meanwhile, two more of my cohort got allowed in to the Bank Hotel, I told the secca I’d be back in a tick and then sprinted off to summon the aforementioned mates who’d been locked out of the Townie. We returned less than 5 minutes later, only to be informed by the (for his part) apologetic security guard that his manager just phoned to inform him that lockouts are now in force and nobody else is getting in tonight. WTF is going on, Newtown? You used to be cool!
Gallery: Megadeth + Children Of Bodom, Sydney 2015 / Pics Ashley Mar