Aftermath: Megadeth And Testament Power-Metal Through Irritating Fans

Why would you want to piss off Dave Mustaine? The Megadeth front man doesn't seem like the proverbial shrinking violet. He's a pissed-off and generally irritable redhead who sings about crushing people's heads and not taking prisoners. So why would you want to rush his stage or give him the finger?

The two and a half unsurprising hours at Verizon Wireless Theater last night more than echoed what the the Rocks Off News Team has seen for the past two years, as audience etiquette flies past general concert rowdiness and straight into WTF Station. If we don't stop reviewing metal shows soon, or at least take a breather, we may very well begin looking down on the whole genre. That's a very sad prospect, especially coming from someone who loves all things "punishing," "heavy" and "brutal."

But half-full beers flung stageways and a few broken elbows aside, last night at Verizon brought forth everything you would want from a metal show. With an older bill like Exodus, Testament and Megadeth, three of first-wave thrash-metal's biggest names, gone would be the modern pretensions. All that was left all night was straight abandon and riffery. Gigs from older metal bands are infinitely more satisfying on a different level than the young short-haired bucks. There's something noble about 50-year-olds swinging their manes of hair nearly 30 years after their debut albums hit stores.

Testament has never wavered on its staunchly evil stance, even if lead singer Chuck Billy looks a tad ridiculous playing air guitar with his mike stand on every song. Dude, fire a guitarist and take lessons. It will save money on touring. Besides, one song you play air bass and another you play air guitar. At least it's not air drums or keyboard, right?

"Curse Of The Legions Of Death" went back to their debut, and when the band stayed firmly in the 1987-1990 range people were manic. Anything after was spotty. "Into The Pit" and "Apocalyptic City" were superb live; the former was one of the closest things the band would have come to hardcore punk in its early history.

This Megadeth tour serves to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rust In Peace, a slow-burner or an album and not exactly the whip-crackers that Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? or even Countdown To Extinction were. But Rust is the band's most technically proficient album, even bordering on power-metal in some instances, and worthy of being played live in its entirety. First they had to get "She Wolf," "In My Darkest Hour" and "Skin Of My Teeth" out of the way.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty