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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Metallica triumphs ex officio in a jam-packed Mad Cool

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We’ve gone from social distancing to stomping and “sorry man they pushed me and that’s why I fell on you”. We also see the concerts again thanks to the videos on the pages, since the immensity of the venue makes it impossible to see people playing instruments on stage. This is rock ‘n’ roll. Hands up horns: Metallica is in town. That’s how it used to be. Or have we not remembered?

A Metallica concert is still a top-notch experience, even if the metal kings’ fangs aren’t as sharp as they were in their heyday. 65,000 people started singing The ecstasy of gold, Ennio Morricone’s composition for The good the bad and the ugly which has been opening concerts for Californians for years. “Ooooo, oooo, oooo.” You had to listen to the harmonious coordination of the staff. Fantastic. Two hours later, the same thousands left singing down their throats Master of the Dollsone of the quartet’s great classics, only recently promoted by listening platforms after starring in a standout moment the new season of stranger things. It was the star concert on the first day of Mad Cool Festival in Madrid, packed with people as all tickets were sold. it’s five days (until Sunday 10) with international top bands like Muse, Kings Of Leon, The Killers or Jack White.

The quartet’s concert was not a memorable one. Not easy either. There were moments when the decibels slammed straight into the faces of an audience who drew faces, sometimes with pain and others with happiness. The throbbing image of metal. But also less intense phases. The boot was odd, no doubt a bad idea. The concert started with the band playing on a small platform installed about 20 meters from the stage. Only those who surrounded the musicians could see. About 1,000? Maybe. The rest of us looked at the screens. What remedy. The nonsense lasted 20 minutes and three songs: whiplash, slow death Y Enter Sandman. Another questionable moment was when they performed one of their favorite songs, That’s all that counts: sounded soft, plus I still love you never. And the instrumental introductions (where some of them took the opportunity to leave the stage) created an anticlimax that interrupted the concert’s story.

All four (James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Robert Trujillo) appeared dressed in black. No sign of additional musicians or suspicious noises. Just her (two guitars, bass, drums and vocals) on an effective stage with a series of lights in the background in the shape of squares, two huge screens on the sides and the occasional flare that is always popular. Hetfield, in much better shape than when he last visited in 2019, squandered charisma on this tough guy image with muscular tattooed arms. He kept quoting the “Metallica family” with an eye on the audience, said a lot of “Madrrrrrid”, got serious when he gave a short speech about the importance of suicidal ideation help, and was also full of good humor. In a long-serving situation where they can even laugh at their stumbling blocks, the starring singer pulled off a nice number St. Wrath, his most hated job. “I’m going to ask you a question,” he said. “St. Fury? and gave a thumbs up of approval. Few cheered. When he put his thumb down, people cried, implying that he will never forgive them for recording this album. They played anyway dirty windows, of this work, and many were convinced of it.

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett during the recital.Jaime Villanueva

Although Metallica concerts have long since become a social gathering where everyone is welcome, a certain atmosphere of rock pride remains. Neither reggaeton nor Auto tune, nor the urban sounds. Nothing will tarnish the honor of the sons of metal, especially those who wore their Iron Maiden or Motorhead shirts last night. The group offered them their successful repertoire. Metallica, with all their members heading into their sixties, has to take the example of the Rolling Stones, who have hardly changed their repertoire in recent years. They will find it very difficult to stop performing one of their ten classics: Enter Sandman, Sad but true, That’s all that counts, One, master of the puppets either Search and destroy. Fact: you tiptoed through his last job, Hardwired… to self-destruct, from 2016, since they only performed one play, moth on fire. And they played very celebrated Whiskey in the juga theme popularized by Thin Lizzy.

All performed professionally what they left behind after 30 years of career and with good sound, at least in the first third of the audience where this chronicler positions himself. It is fair to mention the remarkable work of Kirk Hammett, who is incisive in all of his guitar interventions. Lars Ulrich, who is often accused of a decrease in abilities that leads to a loss of speed when hitting his drumsticks, also complied with this request. Didn’t notice last night.

In the end, people were so euphoric that several circles formed in which employees pushed and kicked each other. When the music stopped, they hugged, sweaty and exhausted. All friends…

Euphoric audience at the Metallica concert.
Euphoric audience at the Metallica concert.Jaime Villanueva

Good villagers, normal placebo, wild yungblud

The Villagers stood out from the other groups on the first day of Mad Cool. They showed up at 6 p.m., a thankless hour for their late-night love songs. They played to a few hundred who were enjoying the beautiful pop of these Irishmen. Too bad Seasick Steve’s howling guitars from the main stage disrupted the Villagers’ quiet preciousness. Perhaps Wolf Alice, who performed later, served as a foretaste of how rough the day was going to be for some, but Londoners’ ’90s rock contributes little. The 24-year-old Englishman Yungblud, on the other hand, threw a boisterous party. Dressed in straps and a short pants suit, he made thousands of people dance with his effective suggestion: ska, hip hip, Rancid style punk and lots of fun. He screamed and signed the record for “Fuck” per minute in Mad Cool. People had a great time. Listening to Placebo, the second headliner of the day, became haphazard. The sound came and went as the breeze blew, cooling the room at that moment. Regardless, the England group’s best days may already be over.

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