By Mike De Leon
Photos by Patrick Lasanas
For over a decade, PULP has always managed to hold court over the summer with their annual ultimate rock show, Summer Slam. From bands such as modern day groove masters Lamb of God, thrash metal legends Testament, the high energy of Shadows Fall, the mosh pit inducing thunder of Hatebreed, Summer Slam has never failed to give metal fans what they want, but they outdid themselves this year when they brought in one of The Big Four: Megadeth.
The day started off with local performers, including local mainstays and legends like Kjwan and Razorback, respectively. Next came the international bands, namely Gods of Eden and I See Stars, both bands fairly new to some of the ears of the locals, but still provided the energy to let fans crave more for what was coming next: the three guitarist headed, low tuned assault of Whitechapel.
As Whitechapel tore through the crowd with their down tuned guitars, blast beats and breakdowns, it was obvious that the kids in the audience were having fun, and the fun continued on with Japanese band, Crossfaith.
Crossfaith started off with some techno music, something weird to be heard at a metal show, but they definitely brought Amoranto down with their brand of metal. Funky, yet still delicate. Danceable, but still heavy. What the ease of techno was paled in comparison to the night’s next performer: England’s Dragonforce.
The duo of Sam Totman and Herman Li melted everyone’s faces with their guitar solos, while their vocalist, ZP Theart, reached notes that sustained throughout the stadium. Seeing Li and Totman up close was a treat, as both men used every single fret and string on their signature Ibanez models to show their skill and dexterity, but they couldn’t compare to what was coming next.
Every old school metalhead rushed to the front to catch a glimpse of the gods known as Megadeth. As usual, Dave Mustaine was on point, with fellow founding member Dave “Junior” Ellefson, backing him on the low end. Kiko Loureiro showed why he’s now being worshipped as a guitar god, and Dirk Verbeuren showed why he’s more than adept at stepping into the shoes Chris Adler, Nick Menza, and Shawn Drover stepped into before him. The only lowlight of the set was when a young fan threw a bottle on stage, and, surprisingly, Mustaine kept a calm head, a far cry from what he possibly would’ve done years ago.
After Megadeth, local heroes and Summer Slam regulars Slapshock, WilaBaliW, and Greyhoundz came in to close the night. As usual, all three bands rocked the stage and brought their best. It’ll always be a treat to see Jamir Garcia, Reg Rubio, and Ian Tayao perform, as all three frontmen, despite growing older in age, still bring as much raw energy for their performances.
Overall, PULP once again delivered a killer show that everyone should be excited for when the summer rolls around, and, most definitely, they surely already have something gigantic in store for the coming years!