Chimpomatic

Metallica

MEN Arena, Manchester

26 February 2009

With new album Death Magnetic showing a return to form after the below-par St. Anger, well documented in the film Some Kind Of Monster, I was keen to finally see Metallica live – having first heard them on record in 1988. They haven’t played in Manchester for 13 years, and have recently only played festival dates in the UK.

We're running late. Afraid that we'd missed the opening of their set, we'd walked briskly through Manchester's rain-soaked centre. Luckily, we hadn't missed anything, except the support act. Just time to try to find our seats, when the familiar tune of Ennio Morricone's Ecstasy Of Gold (from The Good, The Bad And The Ugly) began - the full-capacity crowd cheered and sang along in unison.

And they’re off. The first track is from Death Magnetic, it’s performed in almost complete darkness apart from a laser-fest. We can’t really see anything except for the drums, but we can hear it – it’s loud. Ribcage-rattling loud. In to the second song, also off the new album, and the lights are up. We can see them, finally.

The first thing that struck me was that there were no video screens. But it didn’t matter: Metallica perform in-the-round, which in an arena really means that you can see them even if you’re up in the rafters. James Hetfield flits between eight mic stations dotted around the stage, singing to each corner of the crowd. Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo also use each of the stations to perform backing vocals and stunt guitar solos. Lars Ulrich’s drums are in the middle on a circular riser that is turned to face the four sides of the venue throughout the set.

It’s a pretty serious Metal affair – plenty of running around; marathon songs with numerous time signature changes and an endless supply of riffs; rock-out endings that step up a notch from an already speedy tempo; pyrotechnics; hammy theatrics. As polished as you’d expect from a band that’s been playing this stuff for 28 years. But the overall mood is quite cheerful, joyous even. There’s something quite primeval about the riffs, the chugging guitars and thrashing drums. It’s almost as if you can’t help but to nod your head.

There are moments of levity and self-awareness however. Hetfield asks the crowd if any of them have the new album, ‘with the little coffin on it? … It’s supposed to be a coffin...’ The lighting rig previously high above the stage at one point lowers and is revealed to be four coffin-shaped boxes. During the encore, at a stage where you’re thinking there can’t possibly be more, hundreds of black (what else?) Metallica beach balls fall out of the sky. It’s like they’re out-Tapping Tap. It does look like they are having fun too.

The sound was far too bass-heavy, which was a real shame: you couldn’t actually hear Trujillo’s bass guitar for Lars’s bass drums and the slightly too chuggy guitar sound. So for that reason only 4 out of 5 because it spoiled the music a little.

Highlights for me in the 2-hour set were For Whom The Bell Tolls, Enter Sandman, and a blistering rendition of One. They change the set each night they play, so it’s by no means guaranteed that they’ll play your favourite track, with a few exceptions. Their set consists mainly of classic tracks and it’s a testament to their return to form that the new stuff sits comfortably next to those, sounding, well, classic.


Setlist:
That Was Just Your Life - [Death Magnetic, 2008]
The End Of The Line - [Death Magnetic]
For Whom the Bell tolls - [Ride The Lightning, 1984]
Wherever I May Roam - [Metallica, 1991. aka The Black Album]
One - [...And Justice For All, 1988]
Broken, Beat And Scarred - [Death Magnetic]
Cyanide - [Death Magnetic]
Sad But True - [Metallica]
Turn The Page - [Garage Inc., 1998; cover of Bob Seger song]
The Judas Kiss - [Death Magnetic]
The Day That Never Comes - [Death Magnetic]
Master Of Puppets - [Master of Puppets, 1986]
Blackened [...And Justice For All]
Nothing Else Matters - [Metallica]
Enter Sandman - [Metallica]
- - - - - - - -
Blitzkrieg - [Garage Inc.; cover of Blitzgrieg song]
The Prince - [Garage Inc.; cover of Diamond Head song]
Seek and Destroy - [Kill 'Em All, 1983]


Links

Metallica
MySpace

Tags

#cnrth
#Music
#Gig

28th Feb 2009 - Tumblr

4

News

Reviews

Articles

Surveillance

Related

White Denim

Workout Holiday

Dylan Donkin

Food For Thoughtlessness EP

Pissed Jeans

King Of Jeans

Bird Box

High concept sci-fi that stretches its concept a little thin.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

19th Mar 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Search

Triple Frontier

Unremarkable, cliche-ridden actioner. Utterly lacking in suspense.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

17th Mar 2019

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Jurassic World

Fallen Kingdom

A disjointed patchwork of homages, nods and rip offs from dozens of other movies, with little to offer of its own.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

11th Mar 2019

Read more 2 star reviews

A Quiet Place

Laborious, high-concept alien horror. While the concept is good, the beats are all well telegraphed.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

2nd Mar 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Isn’t It Romantic

Witty, if a little obvious, post-meta rom-com.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

1st Mar 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

The Lego Movie 2

The Second Part

It’s literally a re-hash of all the themes of the first one with a few less jokes.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

23rd Feb 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Unsane

Slight, but sometime engaging iPhone feature.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

26th Jan 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Tully

Decent modern spin on Mary Poppins. Bit uneven, but a nice soundtrack helps things along.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

20th Jan 2019

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Rampage

Bog standard entry into The-Rock-action-movie genre. As much personality as a computer game.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

3rd Jan 2019

Read more 3 star reviews

Avengers

Infinity War

This time it’s really, really serious. Seriously.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Dec 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

The Greatest Showman

It’s a musical ...but slick direction makes it just about bearable.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Dec 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Ready Player One

Pop-culture bouillabaisse, hampered by numerous terrible accents.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Dec 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Lady Bird

Pacey, emotional, old-fashioned indie pic. Beautifully observed.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

15th Dec 2018

Read more 4 star reviews

Darkest Hour

Surprisingly underwhelming biopic that doesn’t find its feet until 20m from the end.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th Nov 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Den of Thieves

Utterly derivative / thoroughly enjoyable ‘Heat’ rip off.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Nov 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Well crafted character study, with some nice touches.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

10th Nov 2018

Read more 4 star reviews

You Were Never Really Here

Brutal revenge thriller. Stylish and violent, with plenty of explanation left to the imagination.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

4th Nov 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Private Life

Intense indie drama from Netflix. Impeccably acted and directed.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Oct 2018

Read more 4 star reviews

Black Panther

Disappointingly unoriginal superhero movie, complete with dull CGI action.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

27th Oct 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Modern Life is Rubbish

Continually clichéd rock romance that never breaks into originality.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Oct 2018

Read more 1.5 star reviews

England is Mine

Dry Morrissey biopic that gets arty by avoiding using any Smiths songs.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

7th Oct 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

The Only Living Boy in New York

Decent rehash of vintage indie movie tropes.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

7th Oct 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Hostiles

Mumblingly wordy western that’s big on self-importance and low on drama and tension.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

25th Sep 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Disaster Artist

Muddled biopic with occasional moments of eccentric comedy madness.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

22nd Sep 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Boy Downstairs

Like a long episode of Girls that’s all about one of the more boring characters.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

16th Sep 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Shot Caller

Slightly confused slice of post-Michael Mann LA crime.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

7th Sep 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Ingrid Goes West

Sympathetic retread of Single White Female, with added #hashtags.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

26th Aug 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Jumanji

Welcome to the Jungle

Fun updated reboot with added Breakfast Club.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

26th Aug 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Justice League

Low-tide mark for super hero movies. I only finished watching to see how bad it could get.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

14th Aug 2018

Read more 1 star reviews

Song to Song

It’s a cover version of every other Mallick pic, but the setting is inspired and the improv from Gosling is enjoyably enthusiastic.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

8th Aug 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Paddington 2

Well written, well paced sequel. Surprisingly competent and heartwarming.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

4th Aug 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Death Wish

70s pot boiler that lazily meanders through a series of mediocre set pieces.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

23rd Jul 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Thor

Ragnarok

Enjoyable change of pace for the super hero genre. Comedy wins.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

21st Jul 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

How It Ends

Great concept, but shoddily directed and utterly devoid of jeopardy.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

17th Jul 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Anthropoid

Small scale wartime espionage flick. Decent, but a bit laboured.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

15th Jul 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Geostorm

Sub Roland Emmerich swill, with Gerard Butler saving the world from crazy weather.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Jul 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

American Made

Derivative but fun romp through 80s CIA drug and gun running.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

12th Jul 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

The Outsider

Brutally sincere, painfully thin yakuza flick. Jared Leto goes full Gaijin.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

6th Jul 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

The Snowman

Huge misfire from Tomas Alfredson, with a multitude of bizarre choices. Like a bad 80's VHS rental.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

6th Jul 2018

Read more 1.5 star reviews

Bone Tomahawk

Brutally violent, post-Tarantino western. It’s all a bit mechanical.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

2nd Jun 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Solo

A Star Wars Story

Reasonable, forgettable addition. Overfilling that mysterious back story.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

1st Jun 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Atomic Blonde

Lazy double-crossing spy drama, directed with a certain amount of swagger.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

24th May 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

The Florida Project

Stylish, incredibly depressing portrait of life on the margins.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

12th May 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Minimally written and confidently directed, with a brutally violent third act. Starring thin Vince Vaughn.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

4th May 2018

Read more 3.5 star reviews

Last Flag Flying

Unofficial sequel to The Last Detail. Surprisingly slight effort from Linklater.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

29th Apr 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Alien

Covenant

Another tired entry, trotting out the same old tropes, plus new nonsensical gibberish.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Apr 2018

Read more 2.5 star reviews

Star Wars

The Last Jedi

Every moment is undermined by a gag and the few serious scenes are sloppily handled.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

13th Apr 2018

Read more 2 star reviews

Spider-man

Homecoming

A third crack at Spider-man. Fun-ish, but it’s zero-stakes, zero-jeopardy. Bit smug too.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

31st Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Wonder Woman

Another garish super-hero flick. Slightly above average, mainly by being more old-fashioned.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

30th Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews

Slow West

Overly dry, eccentric western. Jarmuschian overtones.


#JustWatched
#Film
#CSF

16th Mar 2018

Read more 3 star reviews