top of page

Our Recent Posts



LIVE CONCERTS - The Year In Review (Part 1)

Written by: Mark McQueen

A look at the best live sets of 2022

Through the eyes of

The Beard


Little Johnny

In 2022 the concert circuit really came back full scale. There were shows aplenty and metal (of all types) to be seen and listened to. Your author Mark McQueen aka “The Beard”, along with his sidekick, the irrepressible, “Little Johnny” , got to see and review 49 shows and 218 live sets of music this year. Over the next four weeks, we will share with you our top 20% of all these live sets.

Some disclaimers and guidelines:

· This is an opinion piece. My list and viewpoint, (as The Beard) will NOT look like Little Johnny’s. Nor his like mine. That’s the beauty of opinions, everybody has them. Although we will attempt to justify our choices, we ultimately like what we like, and we understand not everyone will agree with our rankings. It’s hoped that our lists will remind you of great shows you may have seen with us or lure you to see other great bands the next time they come around your area.

· This review grades the set, NOT the band as a whole. Great bands can have tough nights and still be great bands. New acts can blow you away the first time you see them, but then not sustain the hype after that. These rankings are based ONLY on how this particular set went.

· Slotting matters. Many reviews were multi day festivals where we watched several bands in one day. It does affect the grade if your bands set just followed a corker (someone who blew the roof off), or if you followed someone who ultimately didn’t deliver the goods. This may not be ideal, but we’re all human and it ultimately does taint the grade sometimes.

· Technical foibles, while often times NOT the bands’ fault, can lower the ranking. We are judging “the set”, (the sound, the lights, the effects, the crowd reaction), all these are being evaluated, and sometimes various items can raise or lower the grade.

· ICON rule is in effect. If you are a major touring band, there are higher expectations than if you are relying on the house soundman and lights. The shittiest Judas Priest set may be better than the best set performed at a 300-seat club, but there is a sliding scale. To quote The Rock “DID…YOU…BRING...IT!!!”

· Lastly, music is fun. We all go to have a good time. If out of 218 bands, you are one of the 174 that “didn’t” make the list, it doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time. Well…. sometimes it DOES mean that, but mostly it just means you were good and just not amazing on the night we saw you. Don’t get worked up. Reviewers and critics suck anyway. Just enjoy the read.

And now, let us present part one of this series, The top sets of 2022, numbers #44-34 from “The Beard"!!!

#44 Imperial Triumph from April 7th at Reggie’s in Chicago 87.05/100

Imperial Triumph is a Black Metal Band that incorporates discordant jazz into their act. The players dress in masks reminiscent of Game of Thrones-type warriors. There may be a Norse connection here as well. This was my first time seeing this act and their clever and novel take on the black metal genre initially won me over. Admittedly upon a second viewing (at another tour later in the year) the act didn’t hold up as well, but for this set on this day, they get the spot.

#43 MGLA from August 17th at Psychofest Las Vegas 87.08/100

This year Psychofest Vegas delivered the black metal European acts in plenty. This act from Krakow Poland does not tour the USA, so this was definitely the first and possibly the only time I will get to have seen them. Although, like some other black metal acts, MGLA have been accused of antisemitic associations, I don’t know that to be a fact, and this isn’t about politics just the musical set I watched. Low lit and without much effect or fanfare, MGLA gave us the aura of COLD and DARK in their set. A unique first time look at this 20-year act.

#42 Motley Crue from July 17th at Brewers Stadium in Milwaukee Wisconsin 87.10/100

Without a doubt the largest show I attended all year. The Crue tour packed in just over 36,000 fans that day. Originally purchased as a gift for my wife in 2019, (she passed away from cancer in 2021 and unfortunately never got to see The Crue that one last time), I have never been all that much of a Motley Crue fan and my review, (available here in the Mighty Decibel archives) was, I believe, sufficiently tough, but fair. As I said though, it is about the set itself and since her memory was strong with me that night yes, I am placing it on the list.

#41 Destruction from May 6th at Reggie’s in Chicago 87.15/100

This was my first-time seein