Here in Wisconsin, the cold weather has officially begun; with the sweetness of the summer heat faded away what is there to do? GO TO A CONCERT OF COURSE!
The Maehem team headed north to our favorite “middle of nowhere” venue – The Q and Z Expo Center, to catch an absolutely amazing show with the bass legend himself, David Ellefson (bassist of Megadeth), Wrath, and Green Death! This special feature was brought to us by the great Combat Records as the Basstory Tour! It’s hard to put into words the experience I had at the venue, but I’m going to give it a shot.
The evening burst wide open with an explosive performance by Wrath! Having just released their latest album ‘Rage’ the evening before, their energy was especially high. They played new tracks from the album such as “Draw Blood” (official lyric video HERE), “Tension High” (my new favorite track!), and “Mother’s Hell”; as well as some classics including “Insane Society.” They ended their performance with an epic cover of “Ace of Spades” in tribute to Motorhead. Every time I see Wrath live, I am re-inspired by them. They have a way of igniting the spirit of metal within you; there is just simply nothing like it.
Following Wrath’s performance was the band Green Death, of whom has also been recently signed to Combat Records, and have an album coming up October 19th titled ‘Hallowmass.’ I had never seen them live before, so I was eager to experience them.
Green Death’s performance was stellar! They had a tight sound, and each musician brought their own energy to the stage. The vocalist brought a unique edge to the realm of death metal as well; I was very impressed with the overall stage presence of Green Death. I cannot wait to get ahold of their album!
After their set, there was a little bit of a break while the stage prepared for the arrival of David Ellefson. I stepped away to visit the merch area so that I could introduce Samantha (our editor) to the guys in Wrath and catch up with them. I picked up my album and we chatted about their tour and album release party. One of my absolute favorite parts about working in the music scene is hearing all the stories musicians have to share, especially in the case of bands like Wrath, who have been in the metal scene since the peak of its time!
I never get tired of hearing about it. It warms my heart to see their dreams coming true. Musicians are some of the hardest working creative minds in our world, so seeing their efforts come together in greatness is an amazing thing to behold. This exchange set a theme for the rest of the evening as David Ellefson took the stage.
After greeting us, he began with a solo performance which he called his ‘warm-up’ for the evening. The crowd eagerly gathered in closely, captivated by his movement. He played through flawlessly and smoothly. It was truly a sight to behold.
He then began to talk with us and tell us stories of his life. A bit about where he had come from as a young musician becoming inspired by others to pursue his dreams, taking a large leap from small-town Midwest life to the crazy world of the big city. He talked about what it was like working with MTV, and what it was like to meet and tour with Lemmy Killmister and Motorhead. He and Thom Hazaert (Radio personality, tour manager, Combat Records, EMP Label Group) reminisced about their time working together throughout the years, their endeavors currently, and other interesting tales. These two legends had us all hanging on the edge of every word as we became familiar with the lives they’ve lived. We were all there in the moment together, hanging at the edge of our seats like children listening to a librarian read aloud the wild tales of Robinson Crusoe.
Soon, Ellefson invited Ryan Berrier (drummer for Green Death) back to the stage where they performed a rhythm duet. This was something I had never seen on the stage before, which is crazy to me seeing as how the drum and bass are the foundation of the band (ask them, they’ll all tell you that). This also gave us all a chance to see how talented this drummer was as well, and boy was he ever!
This segment was only the beginning of the greatness that was in store of all of us. Green Death took the stage with Ellefson and performed Megadeth Covers “Angry Again” and “Go to Hell,” two songs I haven’t heard Megadeth themselves play in quite some time! They absolutely NAILED IT, especially “Go to Hell.” I have never seen this tune performed live and it has always been a favorite of mine! It was too cool to be a part of the crowd as we all shouted “GO TO HELL” together in unison.
After Green Death, Wrath stepped up to join Ellefson. They performed another favorite of mine – “99 Ways to Die” which was from the Megadeth EP ‘Hidden Treasures’. Wrath’s energy matches this song perfectly! I honestly won’t be able to hear this song the same after their killer cover of it! They all were having so much fun with Ellefson; I took a moment to take it in. Behind the music, I saw something much more. I saw friendship and brotherhood. Between the moments Ellefson shared with the members of Green Death and Wrath alike, I could see it all. Ellefson was on this amazing tour, bringing together bands under his label and creating memories with them, personal memories. The fact that he was taking the time to bond and perform with all of these musicians was truly something beyond comparison of anything I had ever witnessed on stage before.
The evening concluded with a reprisal cover of “Ace of Spades” featuring Ellefson as well. They took a bow, and we all made our way to meet with Ellefson. Fans gathered to get merch, his signature, and some people posed for photos. For myself and Samantha, it was an honor to meet David Ellefson in person after all these years. After all, we bonded over our love and slight obsession over Megadeth’s music back in the day. He was extremely kind, as were the other musicians. We exchanged pleasantries and the evening ended as beautifully as it began.
The Basstory Tour brought an experience with it like no other. The memories made that night are something I know each of us who was in attendance that evening will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Edited by Samantha Crocker
Photo Credit: Emily Maehem Photography