Sunday, July 16, 2023

Kings Of Thrash In Sydney Review - If There's A New Show, I'll Be The First In Line


Kings Of Thrash feature former Megadeth members David Ellefson (co-founder & Bass guitar) and Jeff Young (Guitarist on the 1988 album 'So Far So Good So What'), I've been a Megadeth fan for around 20 years now. The first ever Megadeth album I got was So Far So Good So What. From the opening guitar riffs to the album instrumental introduction track 'Into The Lungs Of Hell', I was hooked immediately. I never got a chance to see over half of these Megadeth songs performed live, considering I was born in 1991, the era when the Rust In Peace lineup was in full force. But I believe the 'So Far So Good So What' line up is a bit underrated. It had chops and not afraid to use them. However, SFSGSW remains many Megadeth fan's top choices of albums especially if they had to choose at least 5. 

The last time I saw Megadeth live was back in 2015 on the early run of the Dystopian word tour. Dystopia was a brilliant album and a very big commercial success for the band. David Ellefson was still in Megadeth then so i've seen him live before with Dave Mustaine, and Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler took over from their previous drummer Shawn Drover a few years ago. Adler was only meant to be a fill in but he was bloody good. Brazillian guitarist Kiko Lourerio was only in the band for a couple of months. I also enjoyed that show too. But this time, it's about Kings Of Thrash. I think it's difficult calling them a tribute band. I like to see them as their own band performing Megadeth classics. But that's what we're here for. The early Megadeth stuff. So Far So Good So What and Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good played live in their entirety. What's not to hate about that?

Featuring Chaz Leon on Vocals & Guitar, David Ellefson on Bass, Jeff Young on Lead Guitar and powerhouse drummer Fred Aching - the band was formed during 2021 and did their first show at the Whiskey A Go Go in Hollywood in early 2022. 

I got to the venue at 4pm, don't ask why. I guess I was just too excited for the show, and I also had a VIP ticket, which included a meet and greet with the Kings of Thrash guys. The sound check started a bit later than usual, but eventually we were let in. We had to wait around in the bar for a bit but the 50 of us who were VIPs did get allowed to be sent through by the management, where we also had access to the Merchandise early. The Merchandise stand had shirts and a bunch of signed CDs and DVDs from the guys. We were allowed to bring in 3 things from home to get signed as well. So I brought in my CDs of Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good (The Final Kill), the original edition of So Far So Good So What on CD (not the shitty remastered edition - the ORIGINAL album!), and the CD/DVD edition of Kings Of Thrash - Live at the Whiskey A Go Go. To tell you the truth I was very nervous a few days before meeting them so we were chatting with a few people in the line. Coming up to meet them, (the promoter jokingly telling us one of the guys is sick and we had to cancel before introducing the quick guidelines), and thankfully nobody was sick. The mood was very good. Meeting the guys in the band, they welcomed us all with smiles, waves, fist bumps and hand shakes. I got to tell them my story of how 20 years ago SFSGSW was my first Megadeth album I ever heard and love how they are doing this,. David and Jeff said I chose a great album to start and were very happy. They are real down to earth guys. So are Chaz and Fred. I said I loved Fred's drumming and to Chaz I hope they can do this forever which he smiled and replied "I hope so too!" It really didn't feel like a "Hi" and "Bye" Meet & Greet. I reckon they handled everything real well. After that we all came back in line to get photos of us with the band, and they were taken on our phones. I was very pleased with the photos I had with them as well. Meeting them all was such a cool experience for me. It felt a lot like they were one of us, rather than us being one of them. In a good way.

Also, it's not a VIP without some juicy behind the scenes Dave Mustaine stories, and we were told of a very amusing incident with him at a Utopia Records signing a few years ago. 

The first opening band to come on at about 8PM was a fine young group from Hawksbury called Thraxas. They were really great, I don't know why they're not super famous yet. I loved their energy and their love of performing. There was a lot of great rhythmic jams and breakdowns. The lighting was also really good and super professional. I actually got to say hello to the Thraxas guys before the show as well. They are really nice. I hope to grab their album one day.

I took a liking to Thraxas very quickly. I found them a few days before the concert and saw some of their music videos. I was really into it. Check out their music video below of the track 'Concrete Cowboy'.
Next up were a local Sydneysider speed metal group called Livewire. I had a listen to some of their debut album the other day and I was instantly hooked. They're also another very great up and coming band. Their lead single "Attack! Attack! Attack" is also getting a bit of attention right now. Think of them as an Australian version of Dragonforce. They are really that good. They have a traditional 80's metal sound in a modern age. I thought they were all finely talented. I had a very proud mum of one of the guitarists standing next to me for their act. 'Nuff said! I wouldn't mind seeing them again one day.

Check out the music video for Livewire's debut single 'ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK!' below. 
After a brief intermission at about 10pm the lights dimmed again for 'Orange Light' as the Kings of Thrash legends walked on stage and the whole audience went nuts. There was that familiar guitar riff from Jeff Young that introduced Into The Lungs Of Hell, with absolutely no trumpets included. Thank goodness. It was just raw, live and in your face. Seeing Jeff perform this track live is such a joy. David, Chaz and Fred are getting into the first song in fine form. Nothing can stop them! 
 Nothing can stop the Kings Of Thrash
The first vocal song they performed was 'Set The World Afire' a song I often miss at Megadeth concerts. They didn't play it last time I saw them, but Kings Of Thrash performed it tonight. It was full of energy and greatness. Mary Jane sounds absolutely killer live, as well. Much heavier than on the album. I don't know why, but it  just does. It works so well. Next up was one of my personal favourites, 502, with an extended and insane drum solo by Fred Aching.


Next up was the classic 'In My Darkest Hour' which was in fact performed live last time Megadeth were here back in 2015. But it was also pretty cool to hear it performed by the original guitarist Jeff Young who was on the track as well as David Ellefson. Chaz sang the track perfectly and Fred's drumming was spot on great. After that was "Liar" which I had always wanted to see live but never had a chance too. But this time they did, and it was great. They actually dedicated "Liar"  to the man himself. You-Know-Who.

Hook In Mouth was a lot of fun to hear live and we also got to chant out the whole F-R-E-E-D-O-M bit in the song. Lots of fun and lots of smiles all round from the band and the audience.

The last song from the So Far So Good So What album performed was The Sex Pistols cover of Anarchy In The UK which was actually moved down a bit from the original album track list, but who cares. At least it was still performed. Next up was the Killing Is My Business & Business Is Good segment, with the whole album being performed live as well. Beginning with the fan favourite Megadeth classic Rattlehead. The crowd once again went nuts and no sign of going to sleep yet. It was probably about 11pm at this time but who the hell cares. Next up was Skull Beneath The Skin, which I think is a highly underrated Megadeth track but still very good. Looking Down The Cross was after, following the anthemic Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good with a hefty crowd sing along during the track as well.

Last Rites/Loved To Deth is always a fun song. Although we didn't have the piano intro at the beginning of the song, 'Last Rites' (the piano intro) was used before Rattlehead. I always liked Chosen Ones, which was the next track performed, followed by another Megadeth fan favourite classic - Mechanix. I never got a chance to hear them play this song live before. But Kings Of Thrash thankfully allowed this to happen. Megadeth are still playing this song as well themselves. But they're currently over in Finland or wherever at the moment. To end the Killing Is My Business part of the show was the epic and blistering performance of These Boots Are Made For Walkin' which was amazing and went on for about 10 minutes of just pure insanity, uncensored version and all! Take that, Lee Hazlewood!

There were a few encores. Before that they did thank us all for the great Australian tour. They wanted us to come back with them. it was a great show. They kicked off with 'Dawn Patrol' with the classic David Ellefson bass riff and crowd chants. It was getting close to midnight now but we didn't care. Then they broke out with a brief Megadeth medley of Rust In Peace - Polaris, Holy Wars - The Punishment Due (just the opening riffs), Hangar 18 (just the beginning part only) , and then kicked into Wake Up Dead. The audience went nuts again for this great Megadeth classic. Afterwards they did a cover of the Riot song Swords and Tequila. Funnily enough I am not too familiar with Riot but they did a good version of it, as it was a song from the album Fire Down Under and they dedicated it to the Australian audience. Last but not least, the final track of the night was the always recognizable Megadeth anthem - Peace Sells But Who's Buying which included the crowd sing along and everyone shouted out "Can you put a price on peace?" Then after that track the show came to a close. We were sad the show ended. I was ready for more, but they did certainly deliver a quality and entertaining performance.

After their turbulent 4 day - 4 state tour of Australia (seriously, how is this even possible?) Kings Of Thrash deserve an allmighty rest, or maybe even a holiday in the Bahamas. But I hope this won't be the last time we hear them. According to Ellefson, new original music is in the works, so that is very exciting.

For all things Kings of Thrash, check out their latest release, Kings Of Thrash - The Mega Years Live At The Whiskey A Go Go today on CD and DVD. 

A big thank you also to Hardline Media touring who brought them over and gave a great VIP session as well. If they ever bring over Julien-K at one point for their first Australian tour, i'll be there in a jiffy. For Kings Of Thrash though, if there's a new tour, i'll be the first in line.
KINGS OF THRASH - Thrashin' Down Under Tour 
Live at the Crowbar, Sydney Australia July 15 2023
01. Into The Lungs Of Hell
02. Set The World Afire
03. Mary Jane
04. 502 / Fred Aching Drum Solo
05. In My Darkest Hour
06. Liar
07. Hook In Mouth
08. Anarchy In The U.K.
09. Last Rites / Rattlehead
10. The Skull Beneath The Skin
11. Looking Down The Cross
12. Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good
13. Loved To Deth
14. Chosen Ones
15. Mechanix
16. These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
17. Dawn Patrol
18. Rust In Peace (Polaris) / Holy Wars The Punishment Due / Hangar 18
19. Wake Up Dead
20. Swords And Tequila (Riot V Cover)
21. Peace Sells...But Who's Buying
Rating: 11/10 



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