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MEGADETH – Nottingham Rock City, February 5 2005

Posted: February 9th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

MEGADETHNottingham Rock City, February 5 2005

And so it is that on a Saturday night I find myself squeezed into the cosy shed-esque surroundings of Rocko staring at a huge piece of black cloth.
What’s more it’s 8.15 in the evening. I don’t know if there was a support tonight but if there was they probably played at about ten past three in the afternoon.
When I was about 16 I went to a house party in the middle of nowhere at a guy’s house. Said guy would later impregnate and eventually marry a lady who would wander the streets of our hometown asking people if they wanted to see her rat. She was called “Rat Woman”. She did actually have a live rat in her pocket that you could look at if you wanted. When I got to the party in a slightly crumbling mansion-style house, all the lights were out save for a strobe and around 5 or so guys were stomping around the front room with long hair and leather jackets listening to Corrosion Of Conformity really loud. Later all of us would lock ourselves in the bathroom while the host rampaged through the house with a hedge strimmer.
Next to me are about 10 young men who look exactly like rat-woman-marrying strimmer-violence boy. They are all shouting “ME-GA-DETH! ME-GA-DETH!”.
Roadies are running around on the stage making crazy hand gestures like bookies at the racetrack. It is very tense. One goes to pull off the black sheet on the stage and is severely reprimanded by what appears to be the supreme roadie. Supreme roadie stares intently at his watch with his other hand raised to the assembled crew clutching the black sheet, holding them back from revealing the secrets of what it is covering. It is agony. Then finally he drops his hand and the sheet is whipped off to reveal the Megadeth back line and a drum riser so high that the drummer will spend the next 2 hours basting like a pork joint 6 inches under the Rock City lighting rig.
Everyone is excited. My compadres Phillip and Neil are excited.
“They best play Holy War” says Phil.
I don’t really know much about Megadeth’s music. I have an open mind, I like metal.
The lights drop and they walk out, Dave Mustaine last. I think they dropped the lights to lessen the impact because as soon as they start playing and the lights come on the visual shock of Megadeth 2005 is quite arresting. Last week Steven J Kirk of the non-rock band The Chemistry Experiment was wearing a heavy metal wig at a party. The guitarist from Megadeth looks exactly like that. The bassist has emerged from the 1990s unscathed and sports a tight perm that’d stand him in good stead for selling knock off videos at Colwick car boot on a Sunday. I can’t see the drummer as his head is somewhere in the rafters, filled with nut stuffing and about half done at Gas Mark 6. Mustaine though, Mustaine looks sort of well, motherly in a kind of council estate mum-of-5 way. Time has not dealt Dave a good hand as anyone who’s seen Some Kind Of Monster can vouch for. I mention this to Neil who looks to the stage with a surprising tenderness.
“Come on man, he’s been on the piss for 20 years. Give him a break”.
The sound is so insane I can’t work out what the hell is going on for the first 3 minutes. Megadeth sound like Wolves Of Greece.
To their credit it’s stupidly loud but all I can hear from the drummer is the bass drum and he hits the drums like such a pussy that it’s all mush. Like all great metal bands from the 1980s the bass is inaudible and the guitars sound fucking hideous.
Like I said I’m not a Megadeth aficionado but their songs seem to be split into 3 categories: one is a sort of mid paced, multi sectioned affair that basically sounds like Black Album era Metallica. The second is a more direct simple sort of tune that’s a loose copy of a decent classic rock band. I reckon these are the new ones. My friend Metal Ben reckons the new Deth album is a killer return to form and he described it to me as a loose concept album about how shit nu-metal is and how it’s time for the real deal. So I figure these celebrations of rock history in song form are the new ones. The third is fast, tricky 80s thrash with high-pitched divebomb solos. It is also way, way better.
So, yeah, they go on a bit. They play for a while. Phil gets a round of 3 CANS of Red Stripe (the only choice of beer available) that comes to TEN POUNDS FIFTY. That’s THREE FIFTY A CAN. That’s over 200% profit on shop price let alone trade price. I guess no one forced us to buy them though.
There are good bits – tasty Lizzy harmony leads. There are bad bits – mercifully brief bass solo. Occasionally Mustaine affects a crazy childish whine style of vocal that I presume represents the demons in his head. Or his inner child. He delivers a speech about Dimebag Darrell where he tells us he lost a friend (“though we never exchanged spit or Christmas cards”) and what he has learned from the experience, which is to “play every show like it’s your last”. I appreciate the sentiment but I have to be truthful and say I am not sure I believe him.
90 minutes in and no Holy War. Phil is restless. A stunningly beautiful black haired girl times her crowd surf perfectly and lands at the feet of Mustaine and gives him a wave. Dave turns to his guitarist and mouths something that I hope was “Still got it”. I am momentarily jealous of Dave.
The young man in front of us is busting out an air guitar solo. Seems like Megadeth are too as I can’t see a single microphone on their speaker cabs and more to the point I can’t see the speakers moving in them. I conclude the cabs are for show and they are plugged into crazy amp simulators. Either that or they are plugged into 5 watt Gorilla practice amps hidden at the back which would explain the sound.
They play a medley of older songs that simply serves to make you wish they’d played the whole songs, as they’re far superior, in comparison at any rate. Neil muses that
“We’re losing some solid gold in this medley” and shakes his head.
He informs me that the song we’re listening to has the same music as a Metallica tune that Mustaine reckons he wrote in his spell with the band before being kicked out for being a human pint glass. Neil and Phil explain in detail why the Megadeth song is superior. The Metallica version is about “horses and dungeons and dragons and knights and bullshit like that” whereas the Megadeth version examines how Mustaine is a mechanic and through his profession meets a lady mechanic who is better than him. A proto feminist anthem apparently, albeit one that uses piston crankshaft penis metaphors.
Some old dudes come on stage and sing backing vocals and even Mustaine looks a little puzzled and sheepish and it’s all over. No Holy War.
Phil looks sad.
But wait. An encore surely.
Mustaine thanks us even though he believes they played badly. Choice of band and material Dave, don’t worry. He informs us that he has only ever written one song in the UK and what’s more he wrote it in Rock City the day after “I shot my mouth off about Northern Ireland”. They play Holy War and it’s the best of the night by a mile.
I guess metal fans are easily pleased though. It was a fun night, I love big rock shows more for the spectacle and the hilarity of the way the performers and audience abide to set laws in an environment supposedly notorious for giving the finger to convention (the solos for each member, the thanking of the crowd for the band; the monotonous circle from back to front via crowdsurfing then back around again etc etc) but as a newcomer to Megadeth all I can think is what a gulf there is between their good and bad songs and how that gulf is either not noticed or very well ignored by the fans. More simply, how the fuck can you throw a devil horn pinky salute up for a BALLAD? And not even a good one. If the kids with the peach fuzz moustaches saw High On Fire they’d spontaneously combust. I get to thinking about how if Mustaine wants to give the finger to false metal he could do better than a band of ponces playing mid tempo rubbish. I reckon he has it in him to do it. He needs to see past the rock show world though.
I am snapped out of this by a sudden 360 degree stereo backing vocal onslaught. I turn around to see where the extra speakers are and think of how amazing it sounds and find Phil wailing the backing vocals in my ear.
The song ends and they take bows at the front of the stage before we’re ushered out so the club night can start.
Phil and Neil have got their coats on already. “Fuck this, let’s go”.
So we did.



Chris Summerlin

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.

http://www.honeyisfunny.com

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