You may have noticed Toronto is blessed this month by not one, but two high-profile metal package tours blazing through the Molson Amphitheatre.
The first is this week with the Metal Masters bill topped by Brit stalwarts Judas Priest. The support cast is impressively strong: Bay area proto-thrash Testament, the unkillable force of Motorhead, and Heaven and Hell, Dio-era Black Sabbath but with a name change to essentially preserve the Sab marquee brand.
Two weeks later the inaugural Crue Fest arrives. Motley Crue make themselves the clear stars with a low-pedigree support lineup that includes unknowns like Trapt and SIXX: A.M, much-maligned Papa Roach and Internet scandal-battling Buckcherry. This is by far the weaker show but you have to at least give it credit for including a band formed within the last twenty years.
If you have to choose, the Priest package gets an easy vote and here's why: Head Priest Rob Halford is both frightening and compelling. He looks like he has sex in dungeons with loud machinery when not operatically leading the British Institute of Metal that is JP. Heaven and Hell is kinda annoying because it reeks of marketing decisions, the name suggesting we aren't supposed to think of this as the real Black Sabbath - in other words - no Ozzy. But this early 80s lineup is arguable their most potent post-Oz, especially when you consider what came after. I suppose when Ian Gillian rejoins the band they'll take on the moniker Born Again.
Crue's endless party personal feels as weary as the look on Vince Neil's face when forced to sing She's Got the Looks That Kill for the seventh-million time. Not that Halford growling Breakin the Law is really any fresher, but the Crue seem to be aging less gracefully, as glam metal always does. Hopefully they keep anguished new material from Saints of Los Angeles to a bare minimum and concentrate of their catalogue prior to 1989.
And speaking of unnecessary music, if you attend the Monsters tour be prepared, Judas Priest have audaciously shit out a double concept album based on life of Nostradamus. If only the famed predictor could have looked into his future and foresaw the calamitous fate that awaited him.
Check out the Scene section in this Thursday's NOW for live coverage of the Judas Priest concert.