Gig Reviews

No Metallica? Japan has Hattallica

Legend of Rock put on a great celebration of the music of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and Anthrax in Shibuya.

Hattallica, Guns Love Roses and Nonthrax at Duo Music Exchange, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan on 15th April 2024

Metallica hasn’t performed in Japan since the summer of 2013. Despite the band’s absence from the Japanese stages, they still have a huge following of loyal Japanese fans who want to hear the band’s music live. No Metallica, no problem. Japan has Hattallica, a terrific tribute band that has been meeting the demand for live performances of Metallica’s music in Japan since 2002.

Promoter Legend of Rock is at the centre of Japan’s tribute act scene and they keep putting on a vast range of tribute shows. This specific gig was a tip of the hat to the infamous 1992 co-headline tour that Metallica and Guns N’ Roses did in North America.

An evening of tribute fun started with Nonthrax, a tribute band focused on the 1980s and early 90s Anthrax. They put on a fun and good show featuring Anthrax classics such as “Madhouse”, “Indians” and “Antisocial”. Guns N’ Roses tribute band Guns Love Roses followed with a set that included hits such as “It’s So Easy”, “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Paradise City”.

As Metallica has done for the past four decades, the evening’s headliner Hattallica walked on stage to the iconic intro of Ennio Morricone’s composition ”The Ecstasy of Gold”. They opened their set strong with “Enter Sandman”. The crowd loved it and stayed with the band throughout a fabulous set. Musical highlights included “Creeping Death”, “Master of Puppets” and “Seek and Destroy”. They even had a go at “One” and pulled it off beautifully.

Some tribute acts spend a lot of attention on looking right, trying to recreate the visuals and stage shows of the original artists. Hattallica dresses and moves in a similar fashion to Metallica, but the focus is much more on delivering a great musical performance and they do. This is not a gimmick band playing dress-up. Over the years, the Hattallica members have become great musicians who channel their love for Metallica’s music with their live performances. Metallica has paid attention to their Japanese cousins’ activities and a film crew was present at the Tokyo show for a new Metallica documentary in the making.

Don’t hold your breath hoping Metallica will play in Japan again soon. Go and see a Hattallica show instead.