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Megadeth Concert Review, Austin, TX December 11, 2013…and David Ellefson!

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This is a 2 part writeup as I got to meet David Ellefson, aka Jr., on December 10 at his book signing here in Austin.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Megadeth fan, and honestly I’m more into the first 3 albums than anything else seenusethey’ve done since.  Some of the albums in the 2000s have been pretty good but they last 2 have left me flat.  It is what it is.  Last night marked the 9th time I’ve seen them since 1987 on the Peace Sells Tour.  That show is still one of the best I have ever seen.

If you’ve been paying attention you’d know that I had just seen them with Iron Maiden in Raleigh and Austin back in September.

A couple of days ago I had seen an announcement that Ellefson was going to do an interview and book signing in town and I figured it was a perfect time to finally meet him and to get his book and mine signed.  I arrived a few minutes early, picked up my copy of his book and hung out with my good pal Victor that was there.  I had met Mustaine in 2006 and had him sign my book back then.  They had announced that we could get one piece of memorabilia signed along with Ellefson’s book.  Perfect.  Victor didn’t bring anything besides the Ellefson book and got my CD cover for Peace Sells signed for me.

Ellefson spoke for about 45 minutes during a chat with Raoul Hernandez from the Austin Chronicle.  It was a good chat and he spoke a lot about his faith and being clean and sober since 1990.  He wasn’t preachy about it at all.  During the Q&A I had asked him if if his and Mustaine’s religious beliefs keep them from playing some of the darker songs like The Conjuring.  He stated that Mustaine won’t play The Conjuring again because of the history he has with that song and some stuff that had apparently happened when he was toying with black magic back in the day.  Pity.  It’s a great song!  There were about 30 people there and he signed everyone’s book, a few guitars, CD covers and of course, my book.  He was very affable and kept answering questions while signing stuff.  That was that.

I originally wasn’t going to see last night’s show but decided that since I do love to watch Mustaine play it would be worth for the general admission ticket price.  Plus it was at the Moody Theater.  I love that place!  Day of the show my friend Rodney sends a message to ask if I wanted to meet up before the show for a drink and of course the answer is yes.  Rodney rules.  We both get to the venue around 6ish and both stated we didn’t care about the opening bands.  He told me that his friend was Megadeth’s merch manager and we met him by the buses.  This guy was the nicest.  He invited us on one of Megadeth’s buses and out friend Angela hopped on with us.  It was cool hearing the business side of the touring from Mical.  The lighting and sound guys were hanging out and were all fun to jibber jabber with.  We then go grab some food and a few margaritas then head back to the venue.  We get “worker” passes handed to us and walked in the the backstage area.  It was pretty cool back there.  Drover and Broderick passed through as we were sitting around waiting for Fear Factory to finish.  Right before Megadeth went on, we went to the merch booth and got hooked up on some shirts and stuff and then we were walked to the soundboard area and that was our spot next to ‘Deth’s soundguy for the whole show.

They played the same set that they had been doing for this leg of the tour which for me doesn’t include enough old stuff, but again, I love was Dave play guitar.  They scratched their cover of Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat due to venue curfews and that was fine with me.  I was really hoping that they were going to add Rattlehead for last night’s show as Ellefson said at the book signing that they’ve been working on it lately.  That would have been cool.

After the set, Brad the soundguy gives me his copy of the setlist with his notes on it.  Good addition to my collection.  We went backstage after socializing with some friends and got to speak to Broderick for a moment.  Mical got us a few guitar picks from the guitar techs.  One of the guys, Fred, is from Pittsburgh and we talked about the yinzers a little bit.  That guy was awesome and obviously would be fun to tour with.    Then Willie G, Mustaine’s tech, came up and commented on Rodney’s OZ shirt.  Willie is pretty legendary in guitar tech circles.  I met him years ago with Shadows Fall.  Mical told Willie that Rodney used to sing for Devastation and Willie says, “Texas Devastation?  IDOLATRYYYYYY!”  Rodney was floored.  As we were just wrapping up our night with Mical, Mustaine and his entourage walk by and I said, “Good show, Dave.  Find a house here yet?”  He turns to me and says, “Thanks, man!  Still looking!” and they walked out.

What a great night and am very appreciative of the impromptu VIP treatment that we got.


Iron Maiden and Megadeth Concert Review, Raleigh, NC 9/03/2013

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Iron Maiden announced a few months back that they were going to add an additional short run of dates to play some cities in the USA that they rarely played, if ever. Opening night of this leg was Raleigh, NC. After discussing with Kelz who lives in Raleigh we decided to set up another “MitchFest”.

What is MitchFest? It’s what Kelz and I call our meet ups to see shows. We’ve done several over the years…Foetus, Sabbat, Loudness and a few others. We tried to get some other friends from our home state of Virginia to come in but not everyone could do it. I joined the Iron Maiden fan club to get presage tix for next week’s Austin show and realized I could get 4 tix for each of the other USA shows. I have Kelz a club code for Megadeth and we got 8 seats all together. The final group was Kelz, his wife and 2 kids, Petey, Wade and Baird. Kelz, Petey and I all met 30+ years ago and have been close since. I was in a band with Wade in the early 90s. Baird is Wade’s nephew who I hadn’t seen since he was a toddler. That kid is all grown up now.

Through Facebook I saw that some other old friends were going to be there and I was pretty excited to be able to see them.

But we’re not done with MitchFest. For what ever reason Kelz and I have called each other bitch monkey for years. That morphed into Mitch Bunkey and ultimately into just Mitch. Hence MitchFest. Got it?  While we were walking around looking for the record store, we walked by Mitch’s Tavern.  Really?  On the way back to Kelz’ house we went by Bunkey’s car wash.  No, really. You can’t make this stuff up.

My trip started with flying to Virginia to see my dear Mom and brother and to hopefully catch up with some folks in Virginia that I hadn’t seen since I left in 2006. Success! It was a quick trip but a good one.

I drove from Norfolk to Raleigh on Monday and got to Kelz’ place around 3. We’re in touch pretty regularly so there’s not much to catch up on. We hung out with his wife and kids and went to get some grub. I needed some NC style pork BBQ and got my fill. After some more jibber jabber and a beer or 2, we all crashed out. His kids had school the next morning.

On the day of the show, Petey was driving in from Richmond and Kelz and I went into town to hit a record store or 2 and grab some food. After finding the record store we wanted to see, we were going to head back to the house as Petey was 30 minutes away. Walking out if the store Kelz points across the street and it took me a second to see what he was talking about. Maiden Lane! What a coincidence. So if course we nerd out and take pics. As we’re driving back, see Smallwood Drive. What? Really? For those not in the know, Rod Smallwood has been Iron Maiden’s manager forever. Another weird coincidence.

Petey arrives, we nerd out some more and hang out with Kelz’ family until show time. After a quick bite to eat we get to the venue and meet up with Wade and Baird. We all go in and I run into some old pals that I had known since middle school. I also ran into a guy, Ben, that lived a few miles down the road from me when we were kids. I hadn’t seen him since around 1991. Mid show I ran into Ben Hogg who sang with Beaten Back to Pure, a band that My old band did several gigs with in the early 2000s.

Megadeth hit the stage promptly at 730 and went through their set pretty fluidly. I’ve seen Dave and company a few times in recent years and was neither blown away or bored by the set. Of course I only want to hear songs from the first three albums, but such is life. My main complaint is that their current drummer just isn’t that good. I’m still not sure why Dave keeps him around. I mean seriously, the double bass at the end of peace sells is that that difficult. GET IT RIGHT ALREADY!

After about a 30 minute set change, UFO’s Doctor Doctor starts playing and that’s the cue that Maiden is coming up next. We’re all excited even knowing that the setlist hasn’t changed in 2 years. It’s Maiden. The favorite band of Petey, Kelz and myself. We were there together and that’s what mattered.

Now, the three of us all saw Maiden together for our first time in 1988 so that made this reunion even more special. Maiden hits the stage with Moonchild and run through their set with ease. Bruce was as energetic as ever and the band sounded great. The mix could’ve been better as Dave and Adrian’s solos seemed low in the mix. We were just off of center not far from the soundboard. Steve was low as well. I’m still amazed that Nicko can play like he does. His right foot is just as awesome as it ever was. Adrian’s solo were great but Dave’s seemed a little off. Seems like he’s decided to change some things up over the last few years. Of course Jannick Gers is still in the band much to my dismay. I’ll say it again that I can’t stand that guy. Whatever. Bruce’s vocals were really strong and clear. The only time I saw him struggle was at the scream in the end if Aces High. He knew he couldn’t hit the note and just winged it. No bother. The dude has still got an incredible set of pipes unlike most if my other favorite older singers. Bruce still can do it live.  No surprises in the show.  It’s the same setlist as before, which is a bit unfortunate.  I understand that their set changes are choreographed, but hell, just throw in some odd numbers and not worry about the big corresponding backdrops.

But the show was incredible. Yes, we got to see our favorite band again but all of us being together made the night and the whole trip even better.

I’m seeing the band again in Austin next week with some more great friends and already excited about it.

One thing about the show, and most shows in general these days, is seeing the people who go to these shows and just get obliterated. I saw so many people on the verge of passing out, puking and just acting like utter bumbling idiots. Don’t get me wrong, I like to party and get some beers in me seeing shows, but I also like to remember the show. Especially when spending $100 on a ticket, ya know? Maybe I’m just getting old and curmudgeony. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Again, whatever. It was awesome and I can’t wait for the next show and the next MitchFest!

Megadeth/Volbeat/Lacuna Coil Concert Review, Austin, TX 3-03-12

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Motorhead cancelled their last remaining dates from Mustaine’s Gigantour because of some lung and throat issues that Lemmy was having.  What a pisser.  I love seeing Motorhead live and coupling them with Megadeth is a super extra bonus!  But no luck.  Get well, Lem.  Next time!

We missed Lacuna Coil completely and I wasn’t bothered by that at all.  Not a fan in the least.

Volbeat comes on and they weren’t what I thought I remembered listening to online.  It was just “happy fun rock”.  First few songs kind of reeled me in then every song after that started sounding the same.  I was over it

and couldn’t wait for them to stop playing.  Annoyingly they kept doing little 5 second spats of “Ace of Spades” and it was utterly annoying.  Then at the need of their set they broke into a Slayer snippet.  I thought it was silly.  But hey, when you need a crowd to get excited, what do you play?  SLAYER.  They’re singer was good, however, and reminded me a lot of Dave Maneketti of Y&T.  The only reason I even mildly wanted to check them out was because Hank Shermann of

Hank Shermann

Mercyful Fate fame was paying guitar for this tour.  Every once in a whole you’d hear a classic Shermann fill or something, but overall he didn’t do much.  Maybe just trying to pay the bills with them?  Who knows.  At least he’s doing something, eh?  Again, I was ready for them to stop.

Time for Megadeth.  I love them for the most part.  Sure, I stayed away from the Friedman era, but the albums they have done since 2000 have all been really good.  Dave Mustaine, as I have stated before, is one of the best metal guitarists on the planet.  No, you won’t get the neo-classical widdly-diddly stuff, but the man has chops and again tonight he was on.  The band sounded great, except for the drummer.  I’ll get to him in a bit.

Dave’s voice sounded good, his playing was fucking great and he just brought a really positive energy to the whole show.  Dave Ellefson did as well.  They both looked like they were having fun.  Throw a shredder like Chris Broderick in the mix and you’ve got a potent combination of musicians.  Mustaine and Broderick are from 2 totally different schools of guitar playing.  Chris is a technical shredder where Dave is just a true player and a riff machine.  You can feel the passion in his riffs and solos.  They were just great and I am so glad I got to see them again.

Now, on to Shawn Drover and his drumming.  I’ll go ahead and say it, Dave should find a better drummer.  Drover is such a stale and boring player.  I’ve said that since the first time I saw him in Megadeth.  Not to mention the dude doesn’t play a lot of the old stuff correctly.  Personally I think he ruins Peace Sells.  He’s like

Dave's Heavenly light?

the Matt Sorum of metal.  What a fucking bore!  Jimmy Degrasso was more interesting and even Nick Menza, who I also thought was stale, was a step up from Drover.  BORING!

The Megadeth setlist was pretty good, but as always I was hoping for some more older material.  I think

because of Dave’s religious convictions, we’ll never see Looking Down The Cross or the Conjuring live ever again.  Too bad.  I was also really hoping for My Last Words, but no luck.  They did play Set The World Afire, Peace Sells, Wake Up Dead and In My Darkest Hour.  Some of the other shows also got Hook In Mouth, but oh well.  They did mix the setlist up from all of the other shows which was cool.

Again, the band brought such a positive energy that you couldn’t help but get into it.  And you know what?


There, I said it.  For as much as Dave has never let go of being thrown out of the biggest “metal” band on the planet, I’d argue that he’s written better albums continuously than they have.  Popularity is one thing and Metallica surely has that game won.  But quality of music and musicianship is, in my opinion of course, Mustaine’s game.

It was such an awesome show and I can’t wait to see them again…and again…and again.


  1. Set the World Afire
  2. Wake Up Dead
  3. Hangar 18
  4. Trust
  5. Angry Again (dedicated to Alex Jones)
  6. In My Darkest Hour
  7. She-Wolf
  8. Public Enemy No. 1
  9. Whose Life Is It Anyways?
  10. A Tout Le Monde w/Christina Scabbia
  11. Ashes In Your Mouth
  12. Sweating Bullets
  13. Head Crusher
  14. Symphony of Destruction
  15. Peace Sells
  16. No Class
  17. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Peace Sells...

A Tout Le Monde w/Christina Scabbia


Chris Broderick


Uncle Vick showed up!

"Said I was out with the boys..."

Thank you and goodnight!