The unstoppable MegaDave and his henchmen crushed “the Hammer” in another night of first-class Thrash and Speed Metal.
OPENING ACTS: ONI and Bullet For My Valentine
Known to locals as “the Hammer” or “Hammertown” due to its industrial roots, the city of Hamilton has always been a mandatory stop for countless metal bands form all over the world. Names like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead and so on have played at least once in their careers in such important city for the Canadian industry, and one of the bands that always returns to Hamilton to kick some serious ass is of course our beloved Megadeth. That’s exactly what happened last night at FirstOntario Centre when guests ONI and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, together of course with the one and only MEGADETH, took the Hammer by storm as one of the Canadian stops of their Crush the World Tour 2023, and I must say it was indeed another memorable night of heavy music for the thousands of fans at the venue.
The first band to hit the stage, precisely at 7pm, was Windsor, Ontario-based Progressive Metalcore/Djent act ONI, and although there was still a lot of people outdoors those guys put on an excellent concert, properly warming up the fans of both Bullet For My Valentine and Megadeth with their harsh and clean vocals, thunderous and intricate bass lines, sharp riffs and headbanging drums. Still promoting their 2022 album Loathing Light, the band spearheaded by frontman Jake Oni, who’s by the way a fantastic vocalist capable of switching from demonic growls to stylish clean vocals without any actual effort, put everyone to jump up and down with them during their short and sweet performance, already igniting some fun mosh pits for the delight of lovers of such unique sport. I’m definitely going to take a more detailed listen at their music on Spotify, and you should do the same to get to know more about such interesting band of the current Canadian scene.
Heart to Stone
Jake Oni – vocals
Brandon White – guitars
Martin Andres – guitars
Johnny DeAngelis – xylosynth
Chase Bryant – bass
Joe Greulich – drums
After ONI finished their solid performance, and after a quick bathroom/beer/merch break, it was time for Welsh Melodic Metalcore icons BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE (or just BFMV, if you prefer) to begin their incendiary performance for their several fans at the venue, and I must admit there was a huge chunk of the audience that was there to see BFMV first and Megadeth as a bonus, and not the opposite. Despite not being my cup of tea, I had a good time watching Matthew “Matt” Tuck, Michael “Padge” Paget, Jamie Mathias and Jason Bowld delivering a solid show on stage, mixing their classics with newer songs from their 2021 self-titled album. Songs like Waking the Demon, Knives and the closer Scream Aim Fire worked really well last night while the band had a strong chemistry with the audience during their entire set, and of course although the mosh pits (full of young kids) were not as violent as the ones from Immolation and Obituary the night before, they were still decent enough for a band that lots of people don’t consider metal.
Waking the Demon
Piece of Me
4 Words (to Choke Upon)
You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
Tears Don’t Fall
Scream Aim Fire
Matthew “Matt” Tuck – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Michael “Padge” Paget – lead guitar, backing vocals
Jamie Mathias – bass, backing vocals
Jason Bowld – drums, percussion
The moment most fans in Hammertown were waiting for finally arrived at 9:15pm, when one of the most important names in the history of heavy music, Mr. Dave Mustaine, supported by his henchmen Kiko Loureiro on the guitars, Steve Di Giorgio on bass and Dirk Verbeuren on drums, collectively known as American Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH, kicked off their performance overflowing classics, heaviness and speed, all spearheaded by our beloved “MegaDave” as usual. The last time Megadeth played in Hamilton was 11 years ago, during their Gigantour 2012, and one of the bands that night was the unparalleled Motörhead, which is why I think the band’s diehard fans ignored ONI and BFMV yesterday and spent all the time prior to Megadeth outside smoking and having some beers.
Anyway, back to the concert, it was simply electrifying from the very first notes of Hangar 18, with flammable hits the likes of Sweating Bullets, She-Wolf, Trust and Tornado of Souls, plus newer songs like Dystopia, inspiring us all to scream the lyrics together with Dave, banging our heads and raising our horns nonstop, and even venturing inside the sick mosh pits formed in the centre of the floor section. I also loved the fact they played Dread and the Fugitive Mind, a very underrated metal classic in my opinion, and I wish they had kept Angry Again in their setlist, but overall it was a lecture in heavy music by Megadeth, with kudos to Kiko once again for revitalizing the band and bringing so much energy, charisma and intricacy to their studio albums and live performances. In other words, Dave knew exactly what he was doing when he invited one of the best metal guitarists of the past 20 years to be part of the Megadeth family.
However, it was when Dave gave a short speech about how Covid-19 and his cancer delayed the release of the breathtaking The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (and he received a huge shout and a round of applauses from his fans when he proudly said he beat cancer) before playing the incendiary We’ll Be Back, when Vic Rattlehead joined the band onstage during the hard-hitting classic Peace Sells, plus of course his all-time masterpiece Holy Wars… The Punishment Due, that drove all fans mental at the venue, creating a beautiful connection between the band and the crowd. Needless to say, I don’t care if the play in Hammertown, in Toronto or anywhere else in the area, I’ll be there, and based on Dave’s final words they’ll be back to this part of the world sooner than you can say “Wake up dead! You die!”
Prince of Darkness
Wake Up Dead
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
A Tout Le Monde
We’ll Be Back
Conquer or Die!
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Kiko Loureiro – lead guitar, backing vocals
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Dirk Verbeuren – drums
Great review. I really enjoyed all the bands on the bill and was looking forward to seeing Megadeth again. The band sounded great and a varied setlist too. Was hoping for a longer setlist, but they kept each song coming. Was kind of surprised at the amount of empty seats though.