Jason Newsted has been a part of several famous metal acts, including serving as the bassist for heavy metal icons Metallica from 1987 to 2001. He has also been a member of Flotsam and Jetsam and Voivod. If anybody knows a lot about metal, it’s Jason Newsted. So when Newsted recently launched his solo project “Newsted” many metal fans couldn’t wait to hear what was in store. So far Newsted has only released a 4 track EP entitled “Metal”, but for fans who wanted to hear what else he’s been working on, Newsted embarked on a brief US Tour.
Wednesday night that tour made a stop in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Middle East Nightclub & Restaurant. Kicking off his set were two songs that have only been played live so far. “AMP” and “Heroic” both songs showed off his extensive metal influences, with “Heroic” sounding like one of those pounding stadium anthems that Metallica is so well known for, Newsted then launched into the lead single from his “Metal” EP, “Soldierhead”.
The night would not be complete without paying homage to Metallica, which Newsted did multiple times. The first being adding a snippet of “Creeping Death” to the bridge of one of his original songs entitled “King of the Underdogs”. Newsted’s main set closed off with him lighting up the room with a high energy cover of the Metallica classic “Whiplash” which sounded as good, if not better, coming from Newsted as it does from Hetfield.
During the encore Newsted took a turn on guitar for the song “Skyscraper”, before which he joked about his skills on guitar and how it wasn’t what he usually does. Newsted then performed the ever rare second encore, coming back out for one last cover, a tribute to Motorehead, playing “(We Are) The Road Crew”. Newsted’s sound and energy were a perfect match for the small club size venue of The Middle East. His songs had the energy and power of Metallica’s stadium anthems, but while maintaining the club atmosphere that Metallica fans haven’t been able to see since they hit it big and moved out of those clubs decades ago.
Opening the show was a band from Michigan by the name of Wilson. Wilson was one of the more impressive opening acts that this reporter has ever seen. They utilized the entire venue, with vocalist Chad Nicefield coming into the audience to sing multiple times. Even at one point dropping to his knees in front of the stage to sing with audience members who he also encouraged to kneel.
At other points he was walking around the crowd placing his hand on their heads as if he were baptizing them into the Wilson fanhood. One highlight of Wilson’s set was a rousing rendition of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” which brought down the house. Wilson is definitely a band to watch in the future, they are poised for a big breakout someday soon.