Copenhell - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The name of Jason Newsted should be a household name in any headbangers home, but after leaving Metallica he hasn’t made a big, resounding splash of himself in the metal pond.
Thus, as he was announced for Copenhell with his brand new namesake band, we were of course thrilled to see what he was up to nowadays.

“Heavy metal music brings us together, heavy metal music keeps us together!”
- Jason Newsted (vocals/bass/guitar)

Wearing a shirt saying “Listen to metal”, and hearing from the announcer that he had stood around for several of the other bands this day, listening in and enjoying the festival life, it was clear that Jason Newsted is the most metal thing to come out of Metallica since the early 90ies.
For his own show on the Hades stage, he had with him a trio of musicians more or less known in the metal community – Jesus Mendez Jr. on drums (whom had earlier worked as a drum tech for Echobrain) and Jessie Farnsworth on guitars (both of these men featured on the debut EP Metal), and of course the newest addition to the band, guitarist Mike Mushok of Staind.
Despite his efforts to nearly shove down our throats how metal this new project of his (see comment above, the shirt logo, the debut EP called Metal, the upcoming CD debut called Heavy Metal Music...) is, Newsted had still opted to use a custom hip hop song as an intro, one where the name Newsted was repeated over and over again. Odd as it was, it was never referenced again during the show though, as nothing even closely resembling it showed up in any of the songs. Which in a way made it even odder...

The concert itself shot off with the opener, Heroic Dose, from the upcoming debut album, and it showed a band hungry, vital and ready to kick ass, where especially Newsted with his great presence and demeanour and Mushok with his liveliness stood out. Both Mendez and Farnsworth were handling their parts just like they should, but were a bit more anonymous in their performance, letting the music speak for itself instead – as Newsted himself commented; “with Jesus on drums there are no mistakes!”.
The setlist followed with Soldierhead, the song from the EP which had had a video made and was thus best known by the crowd, and also the song that saw the real response come rolling in with chants of hey, devil horns in the air, and a mosh ripping it up in the middle of the ground.
So far the music proved to be a true testimony of Newsted’s own imprint in metal history, going from groovy chugging to more thrashy speed, but he still had a surprise or two up his sleeve, and I wasn’t prepared to see him change instruments with Farnsworth during Skyscraper! Both of them were adept at handling each other’s instruments, no doubt about that, but they both looked more comfortable when they changed back again at the end of the song.

By this time the “Jason” chants rang loud and clear between the songs, and the response to the question about how many had bought the EP and who would like to hear the band leaders’ own favourite from the upcoming CD (Long Time Dead) weren’t much worse.
Still, it was when Newsted put a Creeping Death jam into his own King Of The Underdogs that things got really wild as everyone was shouting along to “die, die by my hand”, and when he later finished his show off with the Metallica classic Whiplash, a steady stream of crowd surfers came floating by, and the mosh grew a lot in intensity – the Copenhell crowd was clearly enjoying hearing something they recognised!

While I found Newsted’s (the band as well as the man) performance to be breathtakingly well executed and fresh, I’m also sad to say that even though the music wasn’t bad in any particular way, there was also nothing at all memorable about it, and while the neck muscles might keep on feeling strained as a remainder of the very good time we had in the bands company, our ears will not be ringing with any of his songs any longer than it took for them to pack up their equipment. Also, I was quite surprised that both of the Metallica songs that appeared were songs Newsted himself had had no part in making.
Even so, I would love to see this band again, if for nothing else then just to relive the great performance.


Heroic Dose
...As The Crow Flies
Long Time Dead
King Of The Underdogs / Creeping Death (Metallica cover)
Twisted Tail Of The Comet
Whiplash (Metallica cover)

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