David Ellefson Spoken Word Tour @ Civic Hotel, Perth

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David Ellefson Spoken Word Tour @ Civic Hotel, Perth

When musicians embark on a spoken word or instrumental clinic tour, there is one thing that is certain; we are entering the unknown. Many artists have done it well before and most recently so with the legendary Devin Townsend late last year in Australia.

This time it was up to Megadeth bassist David Ellefson to provide an informative, yet inspiring evening for fans. Well Ellefson delivered, but more on that soon.

The Civic Hotel was prepared with seats carefully placed in light of the required atmosphere for a spoken word gig. Nonetheless, a seated bunch of metal heads evoked an interesting environment for the support act, who was actually a band – though fitting since the alternative might have been a local spoken word support; weird.

Perth thrash metalers Silent Knight humbly dashed through a catalogue of highly technical masterpieces. The seated crowd was very impressed by the local metal titans, with a couple of punters even standing and head banging at the front.

With a vocalist emulating Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Silent Knight delivered a high-energy display of crushing metal and obviously had fun doing it as they regularly engaged with punters, laughed at each other and posed amusingly. The Perth thrashers put on a highly enjoyable show for the patient metal fans.

A timely transition had an MC for the night emerge on stage and lay down some ground rules to the excitable crowd who were apparently ready to ask all of the controversial questions. A short video was shown highlighting interactions between Ellefson and vocalist Dave Mustaine and their spiral of drug use. Without further ado the bassist of Megadeth was introduced on stage with a beaming light. Ellefson laid down on a bar stool his bottle of water and biography ‘My Life After Deth’.

With looming questions around the current lineup of Megadeth and the controversy around the band’s Soundwave cancellation, Ellefson reassured fans that the issue would be addressed later, albeit neither was really discussed in depth. Before embarking on his biographical journey on his first leg in Perth, the 50-year-old whipped out his phone and double-checked an Email that Mustaine had sent him earlier that day with new tracks attached – “I’ll check these out in my hotel room later” he teases the crowd.

The bassist engrossed the entire audience in his detailed recounts of events that happened decades ago in his musical career. His similes and metaphors helped punters empathise with his stories and fill some biographical holes.

Ellefson shared stories of touring with Alice Cooper, preparing to audition for Metallica and almost recruiting Slayer’s Kerry King permanently. This was a metal head’s dream.

But it wasn’t just descriptions of writing ‘Holy Wars The Punishment Due’ high on heroine that got the crowd leaning forward, but also Ellefson picked up his bass and humouring the crowd with a few unique riffs from the ‘Rust in Peace’ era.

The integration of detailed and off-the-record biographical stories, bass playing and even a Q & A made for an interesting yet satisfying evening with a man who has achieved so much, lost it all and then got it back again.