Metallica Live @ House of Vans, London

It’s special when a band as iconic as Metallica decide that they’re going to play a show in your home city on album release day. Around 800 lucky ballot winners descended on House Of Vans in South London on November 18th for a very loud celebration. Question was, what kind of set were we in for in terms of the ratio of new album material to career classics?

With audience anticipation reaching capacity Metallica took to the stage and jumped straight in with their cover of ‘Breadfan’ by Budgie. A little surprising; my money was on ‘Hardwired’ as the evening’s natural opener. However, their choice of ‘Breadfan’ turned out to be the perfect introduction as well as one of the night’s only two nods to the “post-Black Album/pre-Hardwired” era. Surging ahead with rousing renditions of ‘The Four Horsemen’ and ‘Battery’ the band fired up the crowd like they always do. ‘Are you alive?!’ James Hetfield chanted – I hadn’t felt more alive, that’s for sure.

Metallica playing in such a small space is like a controlled explosion. Acoustically there was only subtle distinction the human ear could pick up between riffs. However, this isn’t a problem for long-standing devotees – as long as it’s tight and loud we’re happy to be part of such a unique experience. The odd sensation from where I was standing was the sensitivity of the microphones or speakers to high frequencies. Hetfield sounded a bit like a chipmunk when he conversed with us.

Performed live, the new material takes on new life.

By the time ‘Sad But True’ and ‘Fade To Black’ had rocked the foundations of House of Vans, I was left wondering if the evening was ever going to turn into a celebration of ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct’. When they finally performed ‘Atlas, Rise!’ it turned out to be worth the wait. Performed live, the new material takes on new life. This included ‘Moth Into Flame’ and “Hardwired’ – the only songs from the new album that they played. This was a little disappointing, but then I suppose the gig was a treat enough without the need of another song debut before the Worldwired tour kicks off in 2017.

It’s a privilege to witness the likes ‘One’, ‘Master of Puppets’, and ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ in an intimate space. The appearances of ‘Harvester of Sorrow’ and ‘Whiskey in the Jar’’ are nice additions to evening and ‘Seek & Destroy’ still proves to be a perfect setlist closer.

35 years into a career and Metallica are still making history.


Noteworthy Details

An incredibly intimate gig
No debuts of other ‘Hardwired…’ tracks.
Great energy and a tight performance

 

Rating

9/10


Watch the recorded live stream of Metallica Live @ House of Vans below:

Starts at 17:10


Setlist
1. Breadfan
2. The Four Horsemen
3. Battery
4. Sad But True
5. Fade To Black
6. Atlas, Rise!
7. Harvester Of Sorrow
8. Moth Into Flame
9. One
10. Master Of Puppets
11. For Whom The Bell Tolls
12. Enter Sandman
13. Whiskey In The Jar
14. Hardwired
15. Seek And Destroy