Concert Review – Megadeth (FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, ON, 05/08/2023)

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.

Chasing Ecstasy
Heart to Stone
The Lie

Band members
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.

Your Betrayal
Waking the Demon
Piece of Me
4 Words (to Choke Upon)
You Want a Battle? (Here’s a War)
Over It
Tears Don’t Fall
Scream Aim Fire

Band members
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
Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
We’ll Be Back
Conquer or Die!
Tornado of Souls
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Silent Scorn

Band members
Dave Mustaine – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Kiko Loureiro – lead guitar, backing vocals
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

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Concert Review – Iron Maiden (FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, ON, 10/12/2022)

A “Hamilton virgin”? No problem, Bruce. We know how to take good care of you.

INTRO: First to the Barrier, here we go again… or maybe not!

Due to work-related duties, I was unable to join my fellow brothers and sisters from the Iron Maiden Fan Club for the First to the Barrier yesterday at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a very good time enjoying my second night in a row of pure awesomeness with the Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022. As a matter of fact, the venue was so small and cozy that even if you arrived five minutes before Iron Maiden started their concert, you would still be able to grab a very good spot and witness everything happening on stage, and I still had time to be on the flag photo of the night with my fellow members of the IMFC, meeting a few new faces, and so on. This Saturday I’ll be in Ottawa and will certainly do the FTTB, but for now let’s focus on another amazing night of metal music in Hamilton.

OPENING ACT: Within Temptation

I was so late to the concert last night that I missed pretty much the entire concert by WITHIN TEMPTATION, plus the fact that I spent the first 20 minutes at the venue checking the merch and grabbing a beer. However, everything I said about the band’s performance from the Toronto show is also valid for Hamilton, with Sharon den Adel leading her henchmen throughout their solid setlist and, therefore, properly warming up the fans at the venue for another flawless performance by the one and only Iron Maiden. I saw a few people complaining about Within Temptation, saying they’re boring and shouldn’t be opening for Iron Maiden during this part of the Legacy of the Beast World Tour, but that’s most probably because Symphonic Metal is not as appreciated in the US and Canada as it is in Europe, for example, and when the type of music being played is not your cup of tea not even the best band in the genre can entertain you, don’t you agree? Anyway, there are still two more dates for me to see Within Temptation on stage this tour, so I’ll try to make the most out of it and support those Dutch metallers as much as I can.

The Reckoning
Paradise (What About Us?)
In the Middle of the Night
Stand My Ground
Don’t Pray for Me
Raise Your Banner
Mother Earth

Band members
Sharon den Adel – vocals
Robert Westerholt – guitars
Ruud Jolie – guitars
Stefan Helleblad – guitars
Jeroen van Veen – bass
Martijn Spierenburg – keyboards
Mike Coolen – drums


By now you might know already that if there’s one thing that IRON MAIDEN love to do, that is starting their concerts precisely at 8:50pm, and it couldn’t have been any different in Hamilton, of course. As I was a little further back than the barrier I was able to see the full stage last night, paying attention to each detail (while obviously screaming all songs together with the band), and what really caught my attention this time is the “massive” break between the three songs from Senjutsu and the Legacy of the Beast ones. Also, not sure if anyone has noticed it yet, apart from those two very distinct acts we can also notice in the Legacy of the Beast one how the band begins in a slower, darker and more melodic mode and starts speeding up with each upcoming song, culminating with the breathtaking Aces High. Those guys always think of every detail, providing their fans with a unique experience even when the setlist is absolutely the same during an entire tour.

Bruce was having a lot of fun playing with the band in Hamilton for the first time ever, calling himself a “Hamilton virgin” while also explaining he has already been in the city for his “An Evening with Bruce Dickinson” spoken tour, and complementing by saying the rest of the band had already played in Hamilton but in 1998 (with Blaze Bayley on vocals during the Virtual XI tour). Also, during Blood Brothers as usual Bruce began pointing out different flags from all over the world, focusing on two fans from Puerto Rico and Bangladesh which were let’s say a surprise to him, as in his opinion those places are too far from Canada. Well, maybe he hasn’t realized yet that Canada, in special the province of Ontario, is beyond multicultural, with people from pretty much every country in the world living here. I’m pretty sure those two guys didn’t travel all the way from Bangladesh and Puerto Rico to the show, but letting Bruce think about that was all the fun, right?

Musically speaking, the band was tight and electrifying as usual, with Adrian and Dave kicking some serious ass with their beautiful solos while Steve was in his natural beast mode running around the stage and jumping up and down nonstop. Depending on the night, and of course on the fans, some songs get more incendiary than others, and last night that was the case with Sign of the Cross, Hallowed Be Thy Name, The Trooper, The Clansman and Run to the Hills, proving that although their concerts on the same tour might look the exact same things, they’re never the same. Add to that the fact the venue was smaller than the Scotiabank Arena (and it was fun seeing Bruce checking if the fans at the highest seated sections were alive by asking them to move their arms and scream), and there we had a very intimate and flammable night with Eddie and the boys. Moreover, I still had some time after all was said and done to chat with a couple of buddies from the IMFC, who will obviously be in Ottawa this Saturday. Or do you think that one or two Iron Maiden concerts in one tour is enough?

Doctor Doctor
The Writing on the Wall
Blood Brothers
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden

The Trooper
The Clansman
Run to the Hills

Encore 2:
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

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