Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Metallica at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

James Hetfield
In 1981, Danish-born drummer Lars Ulrich was living in Los Angeles, California, when he placed an ad in a local newspaper seeking musicians to form a heavy metal band. Vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield responded and the duo formed Metallica five months later. When the band began playing live a year later, Metallica's fast tempos and aggressive musicianship sparked a new genre, thrash metal. The band toned down its music in the mid-1980s and gained a more mainstream metal audience. Since then, Metallica has sold over 110 million records worldwide. After an eight-year stall, Metallica's 10th studio album, Hardwired... to Self-Destruct, will be released on November 18, 2016. The band's present line-up comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo.

Shortly after headlining the Global Citizens concert in Central Park on Sunday, Metallica announced it was playing a concert for fan club members at the 1500-capacity Webster Hall two days later, with proceeds going to a local food bank distributer. Metallica walked on stage with no introduction, prerecorded music or other fanfare. Instead of storming into music, the musicians looked into the audience and seemingly reveled in the adulation. After a few casual words, the band launched into the riffs of Budgie's 1973 proto-thrasher "Breadfan." The majority of the 15-song set drew from the band's first five albums, but also included the live debut of "Moth into Flame" and "Hardwired" from the forthcoming album. Metallica was in fine form, with Hetfield's gritty vocals, Hammett's stirring guitar leads and a crushing rhythm section erupting into thrilling thrash metal paradise. Confidently, the musicians engaged in a little theatricality, with Hetfield, Trujillo and Kirk Hammett closing ranks occasionally and Ulrich standing outside of his drum kit to end songs on the cymbals. the musicians also spoke to the audience frequently and casually between songs, keeping the evening personal and intimate. They even hinted at a stadium concert in New Jersey in 2017. From "Orion" to "One" to "Master of Puppets" to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" to "Enter Sandman" and the final encore of "Seek and Destroy," there was no better metal concert to attend than Metallica at Webster Hall.

Visit Metallica at www.metallica.com.