Concert Review: Megadeth “Dystopia World Tour”

“Dystopia World Tour”
Megadeth, Meshuggah, Tesseract, Lillake
Friday, June 23rd 2017
Tag’s Summer Stage, Big Flats, NY

Our score: 3 out of 5 stars

The rolling hills of Upstate New York came alive on June 23rd as Megadeth kicked off the summer leg of their summer “Dystopia World Tour” at Tag’s Summer Stage in Big Flats, NY. Along with the veteran metal act for this leg of the tour were Meshuggah, Tesseract and Lillake who all performed to a damp crowd under foreboding skies which gave the night of music a very European festival feel.

As rain drop still trickled down over the outdoor venue known as Tag’s Summer Stage the band Lillake would start the night off. Despite a few technical glitches at the start of the bands set the group did a great job not letting it get to them as they performed a brief yet solid set of vintage tinged heavy metal but with a modern twist that had early concert goings up and moving. Tesseract a progressive band hailing from Milton Keynes, England would take the stage next for a similar length set which further helped the still semi-wet crowd dry off a little as the performed songs from their 3 studio albums including their latest single “Smile” which the crowd seemed to really enjoy. Meshuggah a band I was anxious to check out would hit the stage next and after about 2 very long minutes I was wishing for them to be done. Lack luster stage presence and even less impressive instrumentation really left me with an incredibly bad taste in my mouth however, the one positive I did find in the groups set was drummer Tomas Haak who despite the many off time signatures and sonic dirge kept the band tight and on beat. Closing out the night would be Big 4 Alum Megadeth. After an extended wait time the band burst on to the stage with a renewed sense of energy courtesy of the bands newest member guitarist Kiko Loureiro. The band shredded through material both new and old including “Hangar 18”, “Trust”, “A Tout Le Monde” and fan favorite “Symphony of Destruction”. Even front man/founder Dave Mustaine who when I have seen the band before would often remain fairly motionless was making tracks around the stage giving the night’s performance a breath of fresh air.

Fans of heavy metal music will certainly want to check out this tour if comes to your area. Don’t let the smaller production or newer acts on the bill fool you as the “Dystopia” tour is a stripped down lean, mean, metal machine which gives fans an in your face dose of metal in its purest form. No hokey stage tricks, props or gigantic movie screens here folks you get the bands exactly for what they are.

Megadeth Set List:
1.) Hangar 18
2.) Wake Up Dead
3.) In My Darkest Hour
4.) The Threat Is Real
5.) Sweating Bullets
6.) She-Wolf
7.) Trust
8.) Poisonous Shadows
9.) A Tout Le Monde
10.) Tornado of Souls
11.) Dystopia
12.) Symphony of Destruction
13.) Peace Sells
14.) Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick talk about their work with group Metal Allegiance

Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick are probably best known for their work in Megadeth however over the past couple of months the duo have appeared as part of Metal Allegiance. The all-star group along with Ellefson and Broderick the group features Alex Skolnick, Chuck Billy, Frankie Bello, Charlie Benante, Scott Ian and a long list of others. The who’s who of metals top players performed their first show as a part of Motorheads inaugural “Motor Boat Cruise” this past month. Media Mikes spoke with Chris and Dave about the creation of the group, experiences from that first show and what they are most looking forward to about performing with the group here in the States in January.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how a group like this came together?
Dave Ellefson: Mark Menghi is the guy who put this thing together. Back when we were doing the Big 4 shows with Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica, Mark had put me and Frank Bello from Anthrax together for a couple of bass clinics. That developed into a couple shows put on by our sponsors called “Metal Masters”. After we finished those dates up Mark and I kept talking about keeping the concept of the shows together but develop a little bit further. “Motor Boat” was where the first real chance to try this idea happened. It was very last minute as there was a ccancellationby one of the headliners. I knew Chris and I were going to be there as was everyone else we had talked about so I called Mark right away. The show was really great and set a lot of what we are going to be doing in the coming months in motion.

AL: Was there any nervousness to get up their being everything was so short notice?
Chris Broderick: Absolutely none! (Laughs) I was so ready to get on that boat and just play. I thought the Metal Allegiance idea was great. It helped keep my ticket on the boat. (Laughs) We had such a great time jamming with everyone. Very rarely do you get an opportunity like this one to play with all these different guys. It’s a killer opportunity to play and hang out with some great people. I do have to say the only reservation I had was hanging out with Mark Menghi. (Laughs)

AL: What was it like performing a set that was mostly improvised?
DE: We usually start determining some sort of set list through an email thread. You can only imagine what an email thread made up of 12 metal heads looks like. Things get crazy quite quickly. At one point playing the “Love Boat” theme was mentioned. The cool part is that everyone involved is really talented and between all of us we can play just about everything. We of course throw in some of our band’s songs but we wanted to go back to playing some of the songs we grew up listening to and learning. Songs by Kiss, Deep Purple and Judas Priest were all mentioned. Of course the set changes from night to night and after the first night we did this we were having dinner with Alex Skolnick and we asked him to come up and do some songs. Alex brought in a whole bunch of songs he knew. Before we knew it we had the entire first side of Van Halen 1. Right before we walked on stage we all sat down at this little table and figured out what we were going to do. We are all like a bunch of kids when we get up there. It’s like forming a band and you keep adding all these amazing players. It’s fun to have those types of moments.

AL: Is there one guy who sort of runs the show when you are doing these type of shows?
DE: We default to Mark Menghi. He is sort of the voice of reason and sanity. When you throw a bunch of gun slinging, metal heads together it tends to turn in to one giant beer drinking brawl. Someone has to come in and make sense out of everything. You do really need that one guy to be the musical leader because I feel it’s important to stay within certain parameters. We don’t want this to come off as being too watered down so the music we do is all metal and hard rock. Its music fans of our regular bands might be into as a lot of them are our age and grew up on the same music.

AL: How does playing in a setting like Metal Allegiance differ from that of Megadeth?
CB: There is a lot more improvisation going on. We rehearse the songs on our own and then we just get up there and do them. When we go up there with Megadeth were doing the same songs night after night. It becomes almost like rope memory. With this you never know where everyone is going to be and there is a much freer flowing feel to things. Each performance is a onetime thing which gives you moments that can never be duplicated.

AL: Is this project something we could be seeing more of in the near future?
DE: Once we did the first show the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since. It’s going to be great bringing this show to the House of Blues to kick off NAMM. This type of group is perfect for these events. Outside of those bigger event settings promoters want us to do tour dates all over the world. Our bands separately would tough to get on one bill at one time. Metal Allegiance makes things a little more possible because you bring in the key members from these bands and we can just keep everything loose with a jam feel. The whole thing is about getting a specific vibe.

AL: With you guys being a part of NAMM will you be unveiling any new music equipment at this year’s shows?
DE: I have a brand new signature bass coming out called Kelly Bird 5. This is my 4th signature model with Jackson and lots of them have been rolling out which is really been great. The new model just came out and I am really excited for people to check it along with the other gear I endorse.
CB: I have a hard tail version of my Chris Broderick signature series guitar. This model is going to be offered through the USA custom series. I am not sure if it we will be completely ready by NAMM but it will be out the early part of 2015.

AL: Can you give us a quick update on the new Megadeth album?
DE: The plan is to go into the studio in January. Generally there is never a specific date we put on an albums release as we want to make sure the songs we choose are the best fit for our style. We have quite a bit of material to go through right now.

Anthrax’s Dan Spitz talks about new band Red Lamb with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine

Dan Spitz is best known as one of the founding member of the thrash metal group Anthrax. Together with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Dan has put together a new band called Red Lamb. The band is set to release a new video in the coming months and Media Mikes had the chance recently to talk with Dan about the project and the premise behind it.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about your new band Red Lamb?
Dan Spitz: Red Lamb is the first thing I have ever done full bore outside of Anthrax. I am charging forward with this project the same way I did with Anthrax. We are trying to break new ground as there is a purpose behind this band. Because of that purpose the music its self took a long time to create and get its sound. This music is different from my past but still reminiscent of me. This was a fresh start for me. This is a collaborative effort between me and Dave Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. He came in one day to hear what I was doing and really took hold of it. This is I think the first thing he has ever done outside of Megadeth. He really wanted to be a band member more than a co-producer or co-lyricist. Dave known’s my family so he has sort of a personal stake in this material. He knows the purpose of the band.

AL: Can you elaborate more on the purpose behind the band?
DS: Around the world we have a problem with Autism. Previous generations saw Autism however it wasn’t in every neighborhood. It’s now infiltrating everywhere. My wife and I have identical twin boys who are both Autistic. There is a song on the album titled “Puzzle Box” which will be are next release that we just finished a video for. I hope to change the world through music by bringing awareness around the world that this is a serious problem. We aren’t asking for people to send us money to give to a certain charity. We want to just bring awareness around the world. The CDC just released a statistic that 1 in 56 boys born with have autism. That is crazy! What will we do when everyone grows up and can’t function in a normal job? We pull no punches and I am living this hear every day with my kids. That’s what Red Lamb is here to do. Once the machine roles we will be doing something on a permanent basis.

AL: What will be the actual premise of the video?
DS: The “Puzzle Box” video is really going to be like a mini movie. Our singer Donny is a video producer so I was kind of blessed to have him in the band. He was able to take my idea and show what we live each day as a family. We are going to show to the world what it is like to live with Autism. My family are all in this video. We also filmed at the Autism Speaks walk. We filmed all kinds of important people and things that will be included in the video. I am not here preaching but everyone needs to just wake up. If you look on Facebook people are writing in about how they are affected by Autism. It’s a really moving video. There are people in the movie and sports industry that have been standing up for Autism for years but there has never been anyone in music that has done anything. People often wonder why it has taken me so long after leaving Anthrax to do something new. Now people will get to see what goes on in my house on a regular basis. Every 30 seconds there is a crisis going on. To write and record is very difficult. Eventually I had to leave and live at Dave’s studio to be able to finish work on this project. Things are that hard where I had to completely remove myself. It’s time everyone see’s what’s going on.

AL: What can you tell us about your work on the film “Goat”?
DS: That film has some really cool people in it. Ice-T is the film and it’s funny because he used to be a huge Anthrax fan. A friend of mine is making this film and it is now completed. The song “One Shell in the Chamber” which will appear on the Red Lamb album made it into thefilm. We started writing stuff and decided that parts of that song fit really well. There is some other stuff in the can for other movies my friend has made also. The High School I went to produced quite a few people who have gone on to do things that have really changed the world. We were either friends or we played against them in battle of the bands contests. We all hung out. The guy who did this film is one of those people. Some of the other people I hung out with now put on some of the biggest shows on Broadway. I have had beers with some pretty cool people. (Laughs)

AL: What other stuff do you have going on right now?
DS: At this point I do plan on doing a bunch of things. Red Lamb is taking up most of my time right now. Once this video is done and out then the object is to go out and play. It will be time. We started a little while ago putting things together so I can get back on the stage. I have been away for awhile so it will be great to get back to where I belong. I took some time off from music to clear my head and during that time I realized what I was here to do. I’m back doing it and I don’t plan to stop. I also am currently working of some stuff with Chris Vrenna from Marilyn Manson which is turning out really cool.