The Big Four concert is, arguably, the biggest event in thrash metal recently. Considered the four most influential bands in thrash metal, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica all performed, for the first time, on one stage at Bulgaria's Sonisphere.
It's kind of odd that these thrash metal heavyweights are all from the 80s, and are only performing together now, nearly 30 years later. It seems an interviewer sought to answer that judging from pre-show footage, but the answer didn't stand out at all. Additional footage also includes some band members reminiscing about the recently deceased Ronnie James Dio.
It was weird, for me, watching it in a cinema. I kept getting tempted to throw up the horns and rock out, but the sound, while loud, was mercifully soft compared to a live show.
Although it's in a cinema, don't expect a quiet crowd, they may get rowdy. But I guess a thrash metal concert, albeit on screen, is not conducive to politely sitting down and enjoying the music in a civilised way.
This concert was performed at the end of June, and is coming to SA cinemas on 15 and 18 July. The line-up, as usual, was in order of fame.
First up was Anthrax, cute in their matching red-on-black Darth Vader t-shirts. Joey Belladonna has not aged well, unlike bandmate Scott Ian, although there is just a three year age difference.
However, they all delivered an energetic performance, engaging the crowd and just looking damn pleased to be there. Impressive for a group who had musical careers before I was born, now in their 40s and 50s. I guess what they say about sex, drugs and rock & roll is up for debate...
Next up was Megadeth, rocking open-neck button-up shirts and long hair. So, so much hair. Unfortunately for the poor concert-goers in Sofia, Bulgaria, rain hit during the Megadeth performance. Soon, the crowd was a lot more colourful in their raincoats than they were in their standard metal uniforms of red-on-black band t-shirts. Not that the rain deterred the crowd at all.
Slayer's look was the most... for lack of a better word... hardcore. From Kerry King's spiked armband to Jeff Hanneman's buckleicious leather boots. Although vocalist Tom Araya seemed very non-plussed and serene.
Finally, there was Metallica. Thankfully staying on the thrashier side of their music, they had the most elaborate stage show. Well, it involved fire and sound effects.
The crowning moment, though, was a mash-up of all four bands covering "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head. The sound of half a dozen guitars, several bases and a quartet of drummers rocking out was absolutely exhilarating.