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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Kings of Thrash @ Max Watts, Melbourne 14/07/2023

Review By Cassandra Hale

Melbourne metalheads rejoiced at the news that Dave Ellefson and Jeff Young, both elder statesmen of Megadeth, were coming to Australia.  Not only that, but they were playing So Far So Good So What and Killing Is My Business..And Business Is Good! in their entirety.  Kings of Thrash the Mega Years was something to get excited about and the line of fans waiting outside Melbourne’s Max Watts was a testament to how keen we were. The cold winter night was no deterrent as the stream of unending people flooded into the venue, necks ready to be snapped with unending headbanging and thrash hits that we all knew and loved for way too many years.  The demographic was of the older generation but there were a few youngsters leading the charge and keeping thrash metal alive.

Up first to open the nights proceedings was Melbourne trio Resistance. Only forming earlier this year it was a big spot to fill and the boys were keen as mustard to get us warmed up and ready. It was easy to see from the get-go that these guys all had previous band experience. They were tight and energetic and made some big noise for a three piece. I really enjoyed their 30-minute set which was crammed to the brim with enough thrash tunes to have the expanding crowd banging their heads. They are playing at the Bendigo soon and I definitely recommend checking them out.

Next up and with the punters piling in at a rate of knots was Alarum. These guys have been making music for many years now and were happy to bust out all their heavy goodness. They unleased a 35-minute set that was fully loaded with thrash metal madness and had the fans well and truly ready for the big guns. They played hard and they played fast with so much going on it was enough to make the roof of you head lift off. They were super tight and gave the crowd exactly what they wanted as glasses were charged and the black t-shirt brigade were pumped and ready to mosh.

Max Watts was fit to bursting and the air was electric as we counted down to showtime. As the lights dimmed fists pumped the air in allegiance to the two Megadeth heroes in Ellefson and Young.  Busting straight out with So Far So Good So What and that killer interlude Into The Lungs Of Hell the boys were off and running. Although there were a few small changes to the order of songs they all got one hell of a run. Set The World Afire, Mary Jane and 502 kicked things off and by now the floor was a mass of twisted bodies revellers making the most of every minute. Singer Chaz Leon was the perfect fit for the band. He had his flying V strapped on and sang with vigour. He was extremely engaging with the crowd, and I was left well impressed with his vocal and shredding skills. Insert massive drum solo here ……Peruvian slayer of the kit Fred Aching gave us a mind-bending solo, showcasing his amazing talent as the band worked through all the Mega hits. In My Darkest Hour was a standout for me and the punters, they sang with gusto and lapped up every second of the Megadeth classic. Liar and Hook In Mouth were both impressive, then the boys finished out the album with Anarchy In The UK. It was an hour of power like no other and had the floor pulsing as one for the duration.

Dave Ellefson is a name synonymous with Megadeth and let me tell you he plays the bass like a 4-string assassin. Believe the hype my friends, Dave is just as fresh as he was in his prime and his enjoyment was written all over his face. He spoke of how he really enjoyed playing the songs from Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!  as they were ones he seldom got to play. He also mentioned that a lot of the room weren’t even alive when it was recorded, and to that end I leant in and gave my son standing next to me an elbow in the ribs. Yes, folks that is parenting done right and I for one am passing the baton to the next generation of metalheads! Jeff Young was still strutting the stage with enthusiastic high kicks and exemplary shredding skills.  He worked the stage like a man in his prime and was happy to jump on the mic and chat throughout the night. Clearly knowing of Melbourne’s rivalry with Sydney he was keen to stir the pot and raise a challenge to those north of the border to step up and take the coveted live music crown that Melbournites proudly hold.

It was back to the old-school snap your neck thrash metal as Last Rites and Rattlehead rang out. Again, the order was mixed but that left a little mystery as to what was coming next, and I for one loved it! Chaz had the saccharine growl down pat as he ripped out the Skull Beneath The Skin and Looking Down The Cross. Then it was a new level of crazy in the pit as Killing Is My Business opened the mosh up with bodies flying from one side the other. Shirts waved aloft as half naked sweaty men tried to stay upright and keep their drinks from dousing their pit buddies. Loved To Deth, Chosen Ones and the banger Mechanix were an assault on the senses and the album was finished out with These Boots. We were now one and a half hours deep into the show and thinking it was about to wrap up. But the Kings Of Thrash had other ideas, no encore, no leaving the stage just straight back into it with Dawn Patrol and a medley of Megadeth intros including Holy Wars and Hangar 18 which certainly whet the appetite for a few more classic Megadeth songs. The boys gratefully obliged with Wake up Dead, a cheeky cover of Riot’s Swords and Tequila and the one and only Peace Sells. If one song alone could raise the roof this would be it and the pit slammed for its duration. With a deafening applause and metal fists raised we saluted our metal saviours as they left the stage, leaving us with many tales to tell about this night of metal madness with the Kings of Thrash!

Hardline Media have been knocking it out of the park with their recent tours and Kings Of Thrash was no exception. Having the opportunity to hear some of these killer songs live was any Megadeth fans dream come true, thank you to all involved. Now I am off to book an appointment with my chiropractor, I may have overindulged in the head banging department but it was worth every bloody minute!

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