Concert Review: Megadeth, Meshuggah, and TesseracT @StageAE Pittsburgh

Love him or hate him Dave Mustaine knows how to scorch on guitar, put together a killer band, and melt your metal face off when playing live.  The music of Megadeth has never been under question, but more of Dave’s attitude and his singing voice.  While Dave’s personality has not exactly calmed, his singing on their newest effort, Dystopia, is vastly more palatable to the ear.  Seeing Megadeth live can certainly change one’s opinion as well, for they play fast and hard and keep the crowd engaged the entire time.

Pittsburgh Setlist

Kicking off with Hanger 18, Dave and company blazed a path immediately, moving about the stage more than any band that preceded them.  Kiko Loureiro is one helluva guitar player, just burning up the fretboard and following in the footsteps of Megadeth’s greats, including Chris Broderick and Marty Friedman, which is no easy feat.  Of course the legendary and original Megadeth bassman David Ellefson was engaging and entertaining and drummer Dirk Verbeuren filled the shoes of recording drummer Chris Adler (Lamb of God) with perfection.  Adding to the show were excellent graphics on the giant screen behind the band.

The second half of the show was filled with Megadeth gems such as, “Sweating Bullets”, “Symphony of Destruction”, and “Peace Sells”, all crowd pleasers.  The performance, musically, from all four band members was impeccable.  Dave’s voice went in and out at times which may or may not have been a sound issue.

Combining Megadeth with the ultra heavy Meshuggah was not only brilliant tour planning, but a great gift to Pittsburgh.  The steel city does not often see the Swedish band and the number of concert goers who came out just to witness their ferocity was palpable.  Meshuggah has been around since 1987, a time when many of the crowd were in high school or college.  Currently touring their eighth studio record, THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON, the band was very cognizant of playing a nice mixture of their history.

The unbelievable aspect of Meshuggah is their ability to replicate what is put to wax, live, and perfectly.  Any musician can tell you the complexity of Meshuggah’s material and that it is a major feat to pull it off in concert.  Add to that the brutal and guttural vocals of Jens Kidman and it becomes an even tougher equation. Watching Mårten Hagström and Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), filling in for Fredrik Thordendal,  trade riffs was a clinic in metal guitar, playing so many strings it was dizzying.  The entire set was intense and mind blowing.  Also, getting to witness Tomas Haake throw down on drums was a special treat for he is definitely in the top five of metal drummers.  The seven song set (Clockworks, Born in Dissonance, Do Not Look Down, The Hurt that Finds You First, Violent Sleep of Reason, Bleed, and Demiurge)was a non-stop barrage of goodness.

TesseracT has been to Pittsburgh many times and the British prog metal band never disappoints.  Although not as “in your face” as the two main acts, TesseracT are extremely technical and melodically proficient.  They are a technically proficient band live, but maybe not the most exciting, although the crowd was very respectful (singer Daniel Tompkins’ words) and engaged.

All photos © 2017 AWeldingphoto