When the metal tour of the summer roared into Cleveland, Ohio, it did so with a vengeance from Megadeth, In tow were Lillilake, Tesseract, and growler/time signature experts, Meshuggah. The weather was perfect for an outdoor show but even better since the show was at the legendary Cleveland Nautica, which recently got a tarp roof since Ohio has done nothing but rain all year.

Lilllilake were first and their approach to a more groove-oriented form of hard metal was quite infectious and did a lot to get the crowd started.

They actually went on far earlier than the set times promised and most people missed them in total. This was a huge error on someone's part.

Tesseract was next, all the way from England, and they too found a way to bring in some serious diversity. While not to the degree that would follow, their nuanced timing changes were a clever treat Sadly, even though they knew that Blasting News was waiting to talk to them, they seemed to have better things to do.

Their loss.

Meshuggah takes the stage

One of the most popular bands in metal is the mighty Meshuggah.

Having seen this band once in the past, the same feeling was captured that was achieved before. Their time signature tricks would make Tool cross-eyed and there are few bands that handle such highly complex duties better in music today.

Regrettably, the only thing holding this band back from the wider appeal is the vocals. Jens Kidman is a master at the death "choking on the chicken bone" vocal style, but this diverse music calls for a more diverse vocal structure, and woefully, that is missing from the band.

Megadeth bring the mastery

From time to time, Dave Mustaine, the singer of Megadeth can sound a bit like he is reaching or straining. This is very true when his volume is not correct and he has to sing over the music. Luckily, that was not the case on this fine summer night. Mustaine was so solid and confident with his pipes that he did their version of Metallica's "The Four Horsemen" called "Mechanix," a song that he wrote while in that legendary band.

More of the older classics appeared, such as "Peace Sells....But Who's Buying" with those fiery fast solos, currently handled by axe-master KIKO LOUREIRO. He's one of the best members to hold the guitar spot since the days of Marty Friedman (who got too "pop" later) and the grossly underrated, Jeff Young from "So Far, So Good, So What."

While no songs from that great CD were done, the impossible to sing and play at once "Holy Wars (Punishment Due)" and "Tornado of Souls," two songs featured from the recently deceased Nick Menza, whose parts were flawlessly executed by DIRK VERBEUREN, were done.

He is noted as one of the best living drummers in the world.

Bassist Dave Ellefson shined on classics like "Symphony of Destruction," Wake Up Dead," A Toute Le Monde," and the radio classic, "Trust."

Thankfully, Megadeth did not rely only on old songs, but dove into their Grammy winning CD "Dystopia" with the title track, "The Threat is Real," and the explosive "Fatal Illusion" which has all the fury of "Back Friday," only with more musical prowess. The latter put the mosh pit into a friendly but brutal frenzy.

Mustaine even stopped to show to mock a bald security guy who was bothering a "pretty girl" from sitting on a man's shoulders.

"Maybe he doesn't like pretty girls," Dave taunted.

It is hoped that next time, Megadeth takes the time to chat after the show. After all, there are not many musicians of his skill still playing a powerfully as they are.

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