At first glance, Suicidal Tendencies and Megadeth seem like an odd pairing for a tour. Though both characterized colloquially as "thrash," the two rule as gods of entirely different sub-genres (crossover and progressive/technical thrash, respectively), and seem to have little common ground beyond the nostalgia they invoke among their die-hard fan bases. Additionally, on its face, putting aggressive circle pit enthusiasts and mostly-stationary headbangers in the same crowd feels like a potentially dangerous setup.

That said, the crowd at Terminal 5 on March 17 was an enthusiastic but respectful and relatively docile one. The pit emptied and refilled fluidly of each set of fans, each group allowing the other space to rock out.

Suicidal Tendencies still plays a magnificently energetic set, with the band moshing gleefully on-stage, wearing their own merch the way only a band so self-celebratory and established as Suicidal can. Lead vocalist Mike Muir delivered long, amped-up inspirational speeches as part of the intro to each song. Plus, Dave Lombardo is currently their drummer! After they kicked off the set with “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” Muir addressed the crowd with an anecdote about how his father used to encourage his individuality before plowing ahead into “Free Dumb.” “Trip To The Brain,” “Institutionalized,” “I Saw Your Mommy,” and “Cyco Vision” followed. The band closed out with “Pledge Your Allegiance,” and the crowd obliged. Though short, clocking in at 40 minutes, their set felt intimate and purposeful.

Megadeth provided a more sophisticated concert-going experience. One of Dave Mustaine’s greatest strengths as a frontman is that he feeds an audience enough engagement to keep them enthralled without distracting from his intended overall presentation. Megadeth's light show is less reminiscent of a dank club and more that of a major festival, with meticulously-cultivated strobes and multimedia accompaniment so elaborate that, in lieu of an encore, the band rolled credits when they left they stage after “The Punishment Due”. '80s/'90s Heavy Metal (the film)-style post-Apocalyptic cartoon shorts enhanced songs off their most recent album, Dystopia, (“The Threat is Real,” “Dystopia,” and “Fatal Illusion” were among those played), along with the requisite medieval and religious imagery for classics such as “She-Wolf,” “Tornado of Souls,” "Poison Was The Cure,” “Peace Sells,” and “Symphony of Destruction."

Dystopia is Megadeth’s 15th studio album. It features Chris Adler of Lamb of God on drums and has received across-the-board positive feedback from critics and fans alike, being lauded as a return to the band’s more musically aggressive, lyrically cynical roots. The US leg of the Dystopia tour will traverse the East Coast and Southwest before finishing in San Antonio, TX on May 29th, after which the band will head to Europe.

words by Blair Hopkins, and more photos by Mathieu Bredeau, below...


Children of Bodom

Suicidal Tendencies