American Carnage Tour In Chicago Kills Everyone - Testament, Megadeth, Slayer Are as Good as Advertised
Band Photo: Slayer (?)
*Before you start into this report, do yourself a huge favor, scroll to the bottom, see which tour stop is most convenient and buy a ticket. Pay however much you have to. If you like metal, and presumably you do since you are on MetalUnderground.com, then don’t make the biggest mistake of your life and not go – even bigger than the raspberry cosmo you had at Harry’s Drink Shack last Wednesday. And if you already have a ticket, buy another. You’ll need the extra space to clean your melted face and blown mind off the floor.*
Strolling onstage as thrash underdogs to the sounds of “For the Glory Of…,” which is the intro crush from 2009 full length “The Formation of Damnation,” Testament took the stage like a MAC truck pulling to the starting line of a drag race. When the opening chords of “More Than Meets the Eye” hit it was clear we were tied to the tracks at the end of the racecourse and we were going to get run over by a MACK truck. Or something like that anyway. About halfway through the set, it was clear Chuck Billy’s demonspawn roar (which has aged like a fine boxed wine, by the way) had ripped my brains out through my eye sockets, chewed on them for a while, and then jammed them back in through my earhole. The only ones that avoided the carnage were members of the vigorous circle pit, which grew throughout Testament’s 40-minute set and culminated in an impressively large wall-of-death, which Testament built up like fine orchestra conductors and finally set off during the real good head-banging part of set-closing song “The Formation of Damnation.” Leaving the stage, Chuck Billy thanked the crowd for “Kicking Our [Testament’s] Ass.” Well Chuck, thank you for kicking ours.
Are all governments corrupt? Yes. Are all wars just only for the oppressed? Yes. Is the social order of the world all fucked up? Yes. Does Megadeth absolutely rule their live sets? Yes. Starting out by playing every note from “Rust In Peace,” Megadeth shredded their way to our hearts from the get-go. The nice thing about playing “Rust In Peace” in its entirety is deeper cuts like “Five Magics” and “Lucretia” get rolled up and burned live. After “Rust In Peace” was finished and Megadeth took a quick break, they played some classics: “Trust” was a nice surprise, “Head Crusher” was even faster live than it is on “Endgame” and “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells…” were awesome as always.
But I want to talk to you for a minute about Chris Broderick (he is Mustaine’s new wingman, formerly of Jag Panzer). I can’t bear children, since I am a man, but if I were a woman, and thus able to bear children, I would bear Chris Broderick’s children. Not only does he look like he could fight Mel-Gibson-in-“Braveheart” and Russel-Crowe-in-“Gladiator” at the same time and demolish their candy asses, but he can shred whatever Mustaine, Friedman, and Poland throw at him. And he shreds all of Megadeth’s best stuff so damn easily that while on stage he is probably thinking about how to redecorate his condo after American Carnage is over. At the end of the set, Mustaine thanked the audience with his customary “You’ve been great, we’ve been Megadeth, goodnight!” And for once, everything Dave said was true.
Here is my problem with Slayer – they rule in the studio, but don’t back it up as much when playing live as I expect. After a while their show was, dare I say, boring. Slayer opened with the title track and “Hate Worldwide” from “World Painted Blood,” and then played “Seasons of the Abyss” in its entirety. Every song on that album, with the exception of the album-closing title track, is some combination of riff-shout-solo, all at really fast speeds. Converted to a live setting, the subtleties, melodies, and (barely present) hooks don’t come through like they do for Testament and Megadeth, and it sounds more like a blender than an all-time great thrash metal album. And this is surprising to me, as in the concourse before the show nobody was yelling “Fucking Testament!” or “Fucking Megadeth!” Just, “Fucking Slayer!” And it got a roar of approval right back every time.
Now I’m not a Slayer-hater. A couple weekends ago I had “Slayer Day” where I played every one of their albums, front to back, in chronological order. It was fantastic; you should try it. But lots of their music gets overpowered and drowned out in the big concrete boxes they tend to play in. Toward the end of the set things perked up, as “Seasons In the Abyss,” “South of Heaven,” “Raining Blood,” and “Aggressive Perfector” were a nice break from Abyss-potatoes, and the pit, which startlingly faltered a handful of times earlier in Slayer’s set, went Genghis-Khan-nuts. And let’s keep some perspective too: if Testament and Megadeth were in the nine-to-ten range, Slayer was an eight. Still pretty damn good! At the end of the night Tom Araya thanked the crowd for “Spending some time with us.” Well Tom, thanks to you for taking the time to finally play some songs that rock live.
On the street after the show, there were three main topics of discussion among the worshippers in Metalopolis: 1) “Holy shit, I didn’t know Testament was SO FUCKING GOOD!” 2) “Holy shit, 'Rust In Peace' is SO FUCKING GOOD!” and 3) “FUCKING SLAYER!!!!!” Of course.
Here are the remaining American Carnage tour dates:
August 21 - St Paul, MN, Roy Wilkins Auditorium
August 23 - Bonner Springs, KS, Sandstone
August 25 - Denver, CO, Magness Arena
August 26 - Albuquerque, NM, Tingley Coliseum
August 27 - Phoenix, AZ, Dodge Theatre
August 29 - Chula Vista, CA, Cricket Wireless
August 30 - Long Beach, CA, Long Beach Arena
August 31 - San Francisco, CA, Cow Palace
September 1 - Sacramento, CA, Arco Arena
September 3 - Seattle, WA, WaMu Theatre
September 4 - Portland, OR, Washington County Fairgrounds
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