Gigantour is one of the best metal touring festivals around. Where else can you see Dave Mustaine, Zakk Wylde, David Draiman, Vinnie Paul, Chad Gray, Jason Newsted and Mike Mushok on the same stage? This years line up is the best line up yet: Death Division, Newsted, HELLYEAH, Device, Black Label Society and Megadeth. The worst part about the line up is that there is so many kick ass bands that none of them get to play long enough.
I got the chance to check out Gigantour in Milwaukee at the The Rave/Eagle Club. The show was MC’d by the hilarious host of “That Metal Show,” Jim Florentine (I bought one of his live stand up CD’s at the show and it helped me make the four hour trek home). Be sure to check out his podcast “Comedy, Metal, Midgets,” it’s entertaining. He went on before Death Division, Device and Megadeth.
Death Division is an unsigned metal band managed by Dave Mustaine’s son. On a bill featuring the legends mentioned above. These guys had their work cut out for them, but they were up for the task. Death Division won over Milwaukee. I’m confidant we’ll be hearing from Death Division.
Newsted was really the band that made me want to go to Gigantour. I’ve seen Megadeth, Black Label Society, Disturbed and HELLYEAH more times than I can remember, but I really loved the first Newsted EP “Metal.” Newsted had walking pneumonia, but you’d have never known based on his performance. If you haven’t checked out Newsted and you’re into metal music you really need to check out Newsted. The highlight of the show was when Newsted busted into Metallica’s “Whiplash.”
Device is the new band from Disturbed’s David Draiman. Device is an industrial power trio featuring Will Hunt (Evanescence, Black Label Society) and Virus (Dope). The debut album from Device is excellent. Disturbed fans must check it out, but fans of industrial music in general should check it out. There are several special guests on the album who obviously didn’t join Device on this tour. David sang the guests parts live including the Lzzy Hale part of “Close my Eyes Forever.” Device closed the night with a cover of the Nine Inch Nail song “Wish.” Draiman told me before the show that Device is going to remain a full time band even when Disturbed comes back from its hiatus. This is a good thing, trust me.
I mentioned how amazing the crowd was, but it peaked at Black Label Society. I honestly have never heard a BLS chant like what I heard in Milwaukee before BLS took the stage. It was loud. As soon as the siren went off the crowd went ape shit and kept it up for the rest of the night. Black Label Society is one of my favorite bands and listening to them that night really confirmed my love for this band. Not only is Zakk one of the best guitar players of all time, but he’s a riff master. I have every BLS album and I’m standing out there in the crowd and the entire time thinking fuck these songs are great.
Gigantour is Megadeth’s festival and say what you want about Dave Mustaine, but Megadeth is a great live band. I mentioned that the crowd intensity peaked during BLS, but it peaked during BLS and remained there through the Megadeth set. They came out to “Trust” and ended with “Holy Wars.” What else do you want to know?
They played everything you wanted them to play and then invited a few special guests back out on stage for a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat.” That was the highlight of the night far and away. Is there a new super group on the horizon? Vinnie Paul on drums, Jason Newsted on bass, Zakk Wylde and Dave Mustaine on guitar with David Draiman fronting the band? I don’t know I think it’d be pretty bad ass.
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at email@example.com.