THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...KINGS OF THRASH Best Of The West...Live At The Whisky A Go Go (Cleopatra Entertainment)
The answer to the question ‘what links guitarists Chris Poland and Jeff Young, and bassist David Ellefson?’ is, of course, Megadeth. Add in vocalist/guitarist Chaz Leon and drummer Fred Aching and you have Kings Of Thrash, and on ‘Best Of The West...Live At The Whisky A Go Go’ the five-piece romp through a live set culled from the first three Megadeth albums. Although that might sound a bit too cover version for some, it’s worth pointing out that the band play it in full Megadeth mode – ie with the material and performance teetering just on the right side of the wheels falling off – and thus capture the essence of Dave Mustaine’s original outfit in their prime. Leon does a good job of reproducing MegaDave’s acidic vocal delivery, and the guitars riff and burn while Ellefson and Aching keep things rock steady at the back.
This is a double CD and DVD set, and although the audio could fit onto one disc it’s (presumably) split to replicate the two sets played at the legendary venue on 15 October 2022. Highlights obviously come thick and fast, given the quality of those early releases, and songs like ‘Wake Up Dead’, ‘In My Darkest Hour’ and ‘Hook In Mouth’ need little introduction. The second set’s opening pairing of ‘Into The Lungs Of Hell’ and ‘Set The World Afire’ take the roof off, and the band wrap things up with an extended ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’’ work-out and, naturally, ‘Peace Sells...But Who’s Buying?’ Maybe some Megadeth purists might not be too happy, but, to be honest, it sounds great and, judging by the DVD, both the band and the fans had a blast on the night. What’s not to like?
© John Tucker March 2023