Concert Review – Megadeth & Scorpions (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 09/22/2017)

The city of Toronto was beautifully taken by storm by two of the greatest bands in the history of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock on the last day of the summer, and the result was absolutely fantastic.

OPENING ACT: Megadeth

When this Crazy World Tour 2017 was announced a few months ago, I instantly thought about how amazing it would be to witness on the same night two of the greatest bands in the history of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock playing some of their biggest classics (as well as a few newer songs) at what’s in my humble opinion one of the best and most pleasant venues in the world to watch any type of concert (and I’ve been to several different ones in distinct parts of the world), the Torontonian amphitheater now known as Budweiser Stage. Well, it was even better than anyone could have expected, with the combination of two bands full of energy and excited to please the crowd, thousands of fans eager for some rockin’ music, and a weather that, for the very last day of summer, was beyond perfect, making the whole night truly memorable.

As the opening act, or maybe I should call them co-headliners as they’re not your average band, we had the absolute pleasure of enjoying American Thrash/Speed Metal heroes MEGADETH. Spearheaded by the unstoppable Mr. Dave Mustaine, Megadeth were still promoting their latest installment, the excellent Dystopia, released last year, but only one song from the album (its title-track) was played during the show. The setlist was pretty much a selection of their biggest hits with a huge focus on their 1990 masterpiece Rust In Piece, kicking off the concert with the blazing Hangar 18, and also featuring from that classic album the hits Take No Prisoners, Tornado of Souls (my favorite of the show) and, closing their performance, a song that needs no introduction, Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.

And obviously “Megadave” and his henchmen David Ellefson, Kiko Loureiro (who proved to be the guitarist Mustaine needed by his side) and Dirk Verbeuren played every song to perfection, with the background screen complementing the music in a fun and exciting manner. For instance, the Nascar images used as a background for Mechanix and the official video for Dystopia (another fantastic moment of the show) played while the band executed the song were spot-on to keep the fans mesmerized and in total sync with the band. In addition, everyone at the venue singing the power ballad A Tout Le Monde guided by Mustaine was just beautiful, and the smile on his face after that moment was awesome. Now, as usual, let’s patiently wait until we can see such distinct band performing live again in our beautiful Toronto.

Setlist
Prince of Darkness
Hangar 18
Mechanix
Take No Prisoners
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
Tornado of Souls
Dystopia
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Encore:
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due

Band members
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, lead guitars, rhythm guitars
Kiko Loureiro – lead guitars, rhythm guitars, backing vocals
David Ellefson – bass guitar, backing vocals
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

SCORPIONS

If the venue wasn’t fully packed during Megadeth’s kick-ass performance, things changed considerably a few minutes before German Hard Rock institution SCORPIONS hit the stage with their flawless setlist, but before the concert started I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with other fans close to where I was (which was right in front of the stage), in special one father with his 13-year old son. The name of the boy is T Bone Bentley, he’s a very talented drummer who loves metal and rock, and you can check him smashing his drums on his official YouTube channel (together with his dad), playing songs like Iron Maiden’s all-time classic “Run to the Hills” and Judas Priest’s metal anthem “Breaking the Law”. When I see little fellas like T Bone and their passion for heavy music, my hope for a better future for mankind gets renovated, so don’t waste your time and go check his YouTube videos. They’re surely going to make your day a lot better.

Back to the concert, it was around 8:30pm when the iconic vocalist Klaus Meine, the flammable guitarists Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, the talented bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and the one and only drummer Mikkey Dee hit the stage with an avalanche of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll hits, starting with a fantastic song from their 2015 album Return to Forever, the rockin’ Going Out With a Bang, already showing the night was going to be insanely fun. Let’s say that the first part of the show worked more like a “warm-up”, with the band jamming and rocking nonstop, generating a very good vibe and showing why they’re still alive and kicking after so many decades on the road. That first segment of the show had as its highlights the classic The Zoo, the fairly new but amazing We Built This House, and from their mini-acoustic set (including a weird but useful drum kit by Mikkey) I would say the touching ballad Send Me an Angel definitely stole the spotlight.

After that, Mr. Klaus Meine simply introduced one of the band’s biggest and most beautiful classics, Wind of Change, obviously hypnotizing all of us with the song’s renowned whistling, followed by another sensational new song titled Rock ‘n’ Roll Band and their awesome tribute to the most badass rocker that this world will ever see, Lemmy Kilmister, playing a cover version of Motörhead’s hit Overkill. Right after that, Mikkey offered us all an amazing drum solo (which put the little T Bone into a state of pure ecstasy), while the rest of the band was getting ready for a flawless Hard Rock attack comprised of nothing more, nothing less than Blackout, Big City Nights, No One Like You, Still Loving You (what a lovely moment of the show!) and Rock You Like a Hurricane. What else can you ask for, right?

Before this review of the show is over, I just wanted to mention two things that truly caught my attention during the concert, one in a very positive way, while the other was quite sad.  First, I was completely impressed with the fact that Mr. Rudolf Schenker is almost 70 years old and he keeps running frantically around the stage, screaming and interacting with the fans, and playing his guitar as if he was in his early 30’s. That was plain awesome, and definitely an inspiration for me and lots of other fans on how you can get old but remain young at heart, enjoying life until the end (just like Lemmy did, by the way). On the other hand, while Mr. Schenker was a role model to all of us, there were a few spoiled bi… I mean, girls, that thought that just because they’re (still) young and pretty they can do whatever they want, including being rude, disrespectful and annoying to anyone around them. One of them was so disrespectful to a guy next to me, elbowing him and pretending he was harassing her, to the point everyone close to that scene even stooped enjoying the concert for a few moments until security finally (and fortunately) took that stupid Barbie doll away. I hope when she gets old, and she will, she learns how to be a better person and how to respect other people. Well, Little T Bone is only 13 and he already knows how to behave in a rock and metal concert, as well as other kids that attended the show with their parents. It’s just a matter of learning what true respect is at home, right? And I hope that next time Scorpions take Toronto by storm with another faultless performance like that, that irksome girl is somewhere else, like at a Justin Bieber concert. Let the real bands for the real fans, lady.

Setlist
Intro
Going Out With a Bang
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Top of the Bill / Steamrock Fever / Speedy’s Coming / Catch Your Train
We Built This House
Delicate Dance (with Ingo Powitzer)
Always Somewhere / Eye of the Storm / Send Me an Angel
Wind of Change
Rock ‘n’ Roll Band
Overkill (Motörhead cover)
Drum Solo
Blackout
Big City Nights

Encore:
No One Like You
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Band members
Klaus Meine – lead vocals
Matthias Jabs – lead guitars, rhythm guitars, acoustic guitars
Rudolf Schenker – rhythm guitars, lead guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass guitar
Mikkey Dee – drums

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Album Review – Motörhead / Bad Magic (2015)

And here comes God doing his awesome magic once again.

Rating4

Motorhead_Bad MagicBritish Rock N’ Roll veterans Motörhead can be compared to an unstoppable monster truck. While drummer Mikkey Dee provides all the necessary horsepower, guitarist Philip “Phil” Campbell makes sure there’s a smooth and effective transition between gears, and the unparalleled commander Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister, of course, keeps breathing smoke and fire through his vocals and bass guitar, smashing every living creature that dares to stand in their way. And it looks like Motörhead’s sonic machine doesn’t really care about its total mileage so far, as it keeps rolling perfecetly in the excellent Bad Magic, the 22nd studio album (impressive, isn’t it?) in their extensive career.

As “they’re Motörhead and they play Rock N’ Roll”, this time I decided to review the album on the road and not sitting in front of a computer, because this is how true and honest Rock N’ Roll is supposed to be enjoyed. Well, that was indeed the best decision I could have possibly made, because not only it kept me awake and watchful while driving due to its high intensity, but it also helped me absorb the music in a more organic way. Anyway, Bad Magic might not be a masterpiece, and do not expect to find anything different from their latest releases (for instance, it’s very similar to their previous album, the also good Aftershock), but it surely lives up to the band’s reputation and will definitely add a few extra razing tunes to your rock collection.

Enough said, it’s time to let the Rock N’ Roll party begin with Victory or Die, featuring those classic riffs by Phil while Mikkey keeps pounding his drums like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s amazing how even after 40 years on the road they’re still capable of crafting such kick-ass music. The same can be said about the thunderous newborn classic anthem Thunder & Lightning, where there isn’t a single second that’s boring or out of place, and besides, its official video is a beautiful tribute to all “motörheads” in the world and complements the music flawlessly. Every single fan that appeared on the video is 100% sure Lemmy is God, period. And you know what? They’re damn right about that.

The slower but flammable Fire Storm Hotel is another amazing composition by Lemmy and his crew that reminds why we  all love them so much. In addition, the story told in its lyrics is really cool and adds a lot of value to this already excellent tune (“So wait and I will tell you what happened here / The hotel burned, no lessons learned, only ghosts got clear / They say the rooms are empty but I know they’re not / The way things are in the hotel bar, the devil buys the shots”). In Shoot Out All of Your Lights, Mikkey gives an outstanding lesson in groove and rhythm, supported by Phil’s raspy guitar lines and by the inebriate voice by Lemmy, keeping the ball rolling at an amazing level of quality; whereas The Devil, which sounds like an ode to Lemmy’s arch nemesis (or maybe his best friend, who knows?), is a well-paced and melodic tune guided by Lemmy’s vocals, with highlights to its badass chorus (“The Devil knows you now / The Devil will break your neck / Nobody will hear your call / Go, stare into the face of death”).

Electricity is (guess what?) an electric display of Rock N’ Roll played at full speed, showing that Lemmy still got it despite all his health issues and that his electric soul will never stop firing awesome rock songs like this one, followed by another traditional tune entitled Evil Eye, which will please most fans of the band mainly due to the great job done by Phil with his dirty and soulful riffs, and the superb rock hymn Teach Them How to Bleed, which I would love to see them playing live. When Motörhead speed things up they always deliver the best Rock N’ Roll you can think of, in special with Mikkey playing on his “ beast mode”. Till the End is a melancholic ballad that albeit good it sounds a little out of place amidst so many fast tunes. It’s still very enjoyable and might be a good break for fans who cannot bang their heads for a long period of time, but it’s below average in Bad Magic. Fortunately, Tell Me Who to Kill puts the album back on track with its traditional punch, lots of feeling and Lemmy excelling once again with both his rough vocals and his vicious bass lines. This was born to be a classic, obviously enhanced by its fun lyrics (“Stand up right keep your fingers still / Pretty sure I think I know you now / I just got to know, so whisper sweet and low / Speak the name, tell me who to kill”).

Motorhead 2015I’m not sure what happened to Lemmy’s voice in Choking on Your Screams, maybe he was trying to sound as if he was actually being choked, but anyway it didn’t work as expected. However, although it’s by far the weakest of all songs, it doesn’t make any harm to the overall result of the album (you just need to skip it if you agree with my opinion). When the Sky Comes Looking for You offers a magnificent blend of Blues Rock, Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll all backed up by Motörhead’s trademark. While listening to it in my car I realized this is one of the best songs to hit the road I can think of, with kudos to Phil for his amazing guitar solos and to Lemmy just for being who he is. But that’s not the end of Bad Magic, as the band still delivers an interesting tribute to a band that’s probably the only active one in the world older than Motörhead, The Rolling Stones’ all-time classic Sympathy for the Devil. And what’s even more interesting is the fact that Phil was the one responsible for the piano parts, which in my opinion is beyond awesome.

In short, another solid album by Motörhead (you can listen to it in its entirety on their YouTube channel), and another beautiful proof of how much Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey love Rock N’ Roll and will never give up, not even when it seems they’re getting “too old for this shit” and people start saying they need to retire. Always keep in mind that Lemmy is God, so we shouldn’t be too worried about the fact his health hasn’t been the best lately. Actually, he’s probably just “sick” of people who, instead of sharing some cold beers with their friends and listening to rock music, are destroying the world he created. Let’s just hope he’s strong enough to keep crafting his Rock N’ Roll magic for many years to come, otherwise, the world we live in becomes meaningless.

Best moments of the album: Thunder & Lightning, Fire Storm Hotel, Teach Them How to Bleed and Tell Me Who to Kill.

Worst moments of the album: Till the End and Choking on Your Screams.

Released in 2015 UDR

Track listing
1. Victory or Die 3:09
2. Thunder & Lightning 3:06
3. Fire Storm Hotel 3:35
4. Shoot Out All of Your Lights 3:15
5. The Devil 2:54
6. Electricity 2:17
7. Evil Eye 2:20
8. Teach Them How to Bleed 3:13
9. Till the End 4:05
10. Tell Me Who to Kill 2:57
11. Choking on Your Screams 3:33
12. When the Sky Comes Looking for You 2:58
13. Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones cover) 5:35

Band members
Lemmy Kilmister – vocals, bass
Philip Campbell – guitar, piano on “Sympathy for the Devil”
Mikkey Dee – drums

Album Review – Motörhead / Aftershock (2013)

They’re Motörhead, and they play Rock N’ Roll.

Rating4

Motörhead_AftershockAlthough I consider creativity and innovation crucial when reviewing a new album, I simply ignore that if the band in question is Motörhead, AC/DC, KISS or the Ramones. I don’t expect and don’t want to see Lemmy playing the piano and singing about the crisis in Syria or Angus Young adding any electronic shit to his music. I just want them to keep on rocking until the end of the world, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Aftershock, Motörhead’s brand new album: 100% pure Rock N’ Roll!

The first track of the album, Heartbreaker, has some really heavy bass lines and sounds pretty good for a live performance. Then comes Coup De Grace, another fast track with funny lyrics and good solos, and Lost Woman Blues, which is Motörhead playing a high quality blues with Lemmy singing beautifully from the bottom of his heart. The next track, End Of Time, is simply fast and heavy while the next track, called Do You Believe, is my favorite one from the album for some beers at a Rock N’ Roll pub.

The following three songs make up a nice sequence to listen to while on the road: Death Machine has a cool guitar solo, Dust And Glass can be used as a “strip-tease” ballad, and Going To Mexico, well, as a Brazilian guy I prefer “Going to Brazil” (if you know what I’m talking about), but this song is pretty badass too. Another one of my favorites is Silence When You Speak To Me: this track has a great message from our “God” Lemmy, with some terrific riffs and lyrics. On the other hand, Crying Shame is my bottom one here, because although it’s traditional Motörhead, it sounds just like a filler track.

motorheadworldpromonew_638The last four tracks of the album have their ups and downs: Queen Of The Damned is a good track that reminds me a lot of Ace of Spades (maybe it was on purpose as we have the “ace” on one song and the “queen” on the other one?); Knife is not bad, but it lacks a little more punch; Keep Your Powder Dry is one more suggested song for a day on the road; and Paralyzed is what the band has mastered doing since the beginning. In other words, it is fast, heavy and kicks fuckin’ ass!

The front cover art is by far their best one since Inferno, from 2004, and the lyrics are the same as always, but who cares, right? Regarding the musicians, Phil offers us a ton of awesome riffs and solos again, and Mikkey keeps on smashing his drums perfectly. And what else is left to say about our 67-year old Rock N’ Roll icon Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister? I think the best definition for Lemmy is a beautiful “poem” declaimed by the characters Chazz, Rex and Chris Moore in the classic movie Airheads (if you’ve never seen it, you’re a loser):

Chazz: Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
Chris Moore: Lemmy.
Rex: Beeeehhhh!
Chris Moore: …God?
Rex: Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy IS God! 

In summary, all songs sound the same as many awesome Motörhead classics such as Overkill, Iron Fist, Fast and Loose, Ace of Spades, The Chase is Better Than the Catch, Going to Brazil, among others, which in the end is exactly what we were waiting for. The day Lemmy, Phil and Mikkey record a “Metal Opera” or a conceptual album about the life of some French king, the world will come to an end. Until then, let’s have a beer and bang our heads together with our girlfriends, friends, family or anyone else that enjoys some good Rock N’ Roll, because that’s what this band plays.

Best moments of the album: Do You Believe, Going To Mexico and Silence When You Speak To Me.

Worst moments of the album: Crying Shame and Knife.

Released in 2013 UDR GmbH

Track listing
1. Heartbreaker 3:05
2. Coup De Grace 3:45
3. Lost Woman Blues 4:09
4. End Of Time 3:17
5. Do You Believe 2:59
6. Death Machine 2:37
7. Dust And Glass 2:51
8. Going To Mexico 2:51
9. Silence When You Speak To Me 4:30
10. Crying Shame 4:28
11. Queen Of The Damned 2:41
12. Knife 2:57
13. Keep Your Powder Dry 3:54
14. Paralyzed 2:50

Band members
Lemmy Kilmister – bass guitar, vocals
Phil Campbell – guitar
Mikkey Dee – drums