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Point Depot, Wednesday, 9 October.

There's something very reassuring about seeing Metallica perform. The world of music might have taken a U-turn in favour of electronics and Brit-pop in the four years since they last played here, but in the world of Metallica it's the same as it ever was.

True, Load is a lot looser than their previous recordings and may have alienated a few die-hard heavy metal purists, but those who decided to stay home in protest listening to their Burzum records miss the whole point of this crazy rock n' roll circus.

Even if the explosions, pyrotechnics and collapsing towers make you cringe, it is consolation enough to know that Metallica's tongues are firmly in their collective cheek. Why else would they open the show with the short sharp punk obscenity that is So What with the lights still on? And a stab at Macarena throughout the proceedings? They even set a roadie on fire for the fun. Yeah, it's clear Metallica are taking themselves a lot less seriously these days.

The new tracks were made for the live environment. Ain't My Bitch, Hero of the Day and Until It Sleeps sound fresh and crisp and are lapped up by the audience The biggest cheers, however, are for the oldies. Time stands still for classics like Seek and Destroy, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Master of Puppets.

Thankfully the solos and singalongs are avoided, and the pairing of the seldom heard Breadvan and Motorbreath is a genius finale to a very loud, hot and sweaty show.

by Niall Byrne