The self-proclaimed Metal Tour of the Year found it’s way to Boston, Massachusetts this past week to the delight of thousands of New England area metal fans that have just begun to come out of their pandemic induced live music hibernation.
Over the course of the last two years any live shows, let alone alone metal oriented ones, have been hard to come by.
Thus the opportunity to see several industry stalwarts such as Megadeth, Lamb of God, Trivium and Hatebreed all on one single bill must have felt like Christmas in September for the lucky fans who were able to grab at ticket to see the tour stop at the Leader Bank Pavilion located on shores of Boston’s waterfront recently.
Often times these multi-band metal tours mirror hard rock and metal festivals such as Louder than Life or Welcome to Rockville in a number ways.
One such way is how the first acts to hit the stage often play truncated, blitzkrieg type of sets where the primay mission of the bands seems to be to incite as much chaos as fast and as loud as humanly possible.
Connecticut’s own Hatebreed were the first act to take to the Leader Bank Pavillion’s Stage in Boston this past week, and it was clear Jamey Jasta and company got the memo about going hard and fast right out of the gate.
Straight out of the time machine, Hatebreed broke open their live set with the very first track off of their debut album, Empty Promises.
Hatebreed continued with their blistering pace and trek back in time with two tracks off of the record that helped to cement the band’s arrival on the hardcore scene as an act to be reckoned with, 2003’s The Rise of Brutality, in the forms of both Tear it Down and the most pit inciting classic, This is Now.
It was a wise choice to have have Hatebreed serve as the tour opener because as a band they make fans want to get out of their seats and start, well, destroying everything.
Watching from the crowd I found myself actually looking for the random vendor that may be selling plate glass windows along with the venue’s seventeen-dollar Bud Lights, just so I could potentially throw a fellow concert goer through a make shift piece glass. Hell, I wanted to destroy everything.
Hatebreed are just flat out brutal fun while also being the kind of band that makes you already feel as though you got your money’s worth even though they were the very first act to play on the evening.
Next up on the Leader Bank Pavillion’s stage were Orlando, Florida’s own Trivium. Much like Hatebreed, Trivium is a high energy band that typically employs a fast and furious approach to their live sets, and their time in Boston only served to reinforce that notion.
Although Matt Heafy and company sounded fantastic, the energy tied to their set was a bit dissipated in comparison to Hatebreed’s despite the fact that far more patrons had entered the venue by the time Trivum’s set had begun.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly why things played out this way, but perhaps one of the main reasons their set wasn’t as palatable as it could have been was the fact that Trivium stayed away from playing what many fans would consider to be their “hits.”
Notable Trivium classics such as Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation and others never made their way onto the set list in Boston.
Instead Heafy and his bandmates focused a bit more on material from less revered, or perhaps more on point, lesser known records such as 2011’s Waves, 2020’s What the Dead Men Say and 2017’s The Sin and the Sentence.
All the aforementioned records certainly contain their fair share of stand out tracks, however, the fact is bands need to know their audiences as well as be a bit more cognizant about their spot on any particular tour’s lineup.
Focusing on a set of less familiar material versus the “hits” even casual fans may recognize was a probably a misstep by Trivium.
Although any fan could appreciate the fact that bands want to and need to switch things up from time to time, this current tour’s format was likely not the time to delve into deeper cuts and records that many audience goers would have a harder time connecting with.
The error in judgement led Trivium to having somewhat of flat effect on the Leader Bank Pavilion’s crowd and to be honest, that’s a shame. Not only was the band’s set still explosive, Trivium plays the kind of metal that usually unites crowds.
Thus the lack of limited audience participation and response wasn’t tied to how good or bad Trivium set was. Instead it was more aligned with the fact that those in attendance simply couldn’t connect appropriately with the music being played on the Leader Bank Pavilion’s stage.
Unlike Trivium, Richmond Virginia’s Lamb of God is almost always a slave to what their fans’ expectations are when they perform live and their time in Boston this past week only served to hammer home that opinion that much further.
Considering the fact that Lamb of God started things off in New England with an opening salvo Memento Mori, Ruin and Walk with Me in Hell it was beyond safe to assume that the remainder of their set in Boston would be nothing short of jaw dropping and to be nothing but honest, that’s exactly how things played out.
Although the band’s set lasted for only about an hour they still brought all the energy, blistering guitar solos and pyrotechnics you’d expect Lamb of God to bring out on any tour that they were properly headlining.
Prior to launching into the band’s final song on the evening, the forever fan-favorite, “Redneck,” Randy Blythe lamented the fact that fans still couldn’t bang, crash and mosh into one another at their live shows.
In lieu of calling for mosh pits to form in the crowd near the stage the frontman instead implored the Boston audience to, “Do something weird, do something to disturb me, hell, do something even your mom would be disturbed by.”
Not long after Lamb of God finished their set Dave Mustaine and Megadeth to the Leader Band Pavilion’s stage to close things out in Boston.
One thing that’s curious about Megadeth is, although they have a long-standing feud and a forever connection with Metallica, one could easily make the argument that over the course of their respective careers, Megadeth has actually produced more music of a higher quality.
Metallica will always reign supreme because of the significance of their first three records, and to a somewhat lesser degree, the Black album.
However, Mustaine should be given ample credit for willfully and by brute force, keeping Megadeth in the conversation as one of the most important metal bands of all time.
Mustaine is no longer the belligerent front man that would regularly engage and even challenge members of any audience he played to dismiss him on stage. Instead in his later years the aged singer and guitar virtuoso has become much more inclined to let his music do all the talking.
Another change in Megadeth’s live shows as they’re currently constituted today is that lead guitar player Kiko Loureiro has become the belle of the metal ball, so to speak. Loureiro carried the show in Boston with ample amounts of his trademark frenetic energy, as well as more than his fair share of mind-bending guitar solos.
Years of living a hard life and Mustaine’s own bout with cancer have clearly taken a toll on his ability to be the field general on stage when Megadeth performs live these days.
However, again credit goes out to Mustaine for recognizing this condition’s existence and using it to work in his and the band’s favor versus it being an albatross that could have easily made Megadeth an after though in the live metal scene long ago.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what the high points were from Megadeth’s set because their entire time on the Leader Bank Pavilion’s stage came across as an extended metal love-in between Mustaine and the entire audience in Boston.
That being said it’s safe to assume that most, if not every last fan in attendance, left the venue smiling ear to ear as Mustaine in company chose to close out their set with two songs every Megadeth die-hard wants to be on the setlist in the forms of Peace Sells and of course, Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.
Call it the Metal Tour of the Year or something entirely different if you wish to but I’m guessing most fans in Boston would call the tour stop in Boston, the best night of live music they’ve had since this damn pandemic zombie apocalypse began.
Could anyone really ask anything more of Hatebreed, Trivium, Lamb of God or Megadeth?
I’ll answer for you, hell no.
HATEBREEED – BOSTON MA – SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
TRIVIUM – BOSTON MA – SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
LAMB OF GOD – BOSTON MA – SEPTEMBER 13, 2021
MEGADETH – BOSTON MA – SEPTEMBER 13, 2021