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Comparing superstars: Metallica and Timberlake weekend in Buffalo

This weekend, two of the biggest popular music acts of the past 25 years-plus will take over KeyBank Center on subsequent evenings.

Conventional logic suggests that love for these acts is mutually exclusive. Hard-boiled Metallica fans are not likely to follow Saturday’s likely tour de force by returning to KeyBank Center on Sunday for Justin Timberlake’s stop on the “Man of the Woods” tour.

But I’m planning to do just that, and I’d suggest the same to anyone else, for both Metallica and JT represent the upper echelons of their respective genres.

Here is a compare/contrast table for the Metallica and Justin Timberlake weekend in Buffalo.

Robert Trujillo, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich (rear) and James Hetfield of Metallica. (Getty Images)

Topic: The live show

Metallica: Sturm und drang, serious riffage, the odd column of fire and occasional explosion.

Timberlake: Multi-tiered stage, costume changes, choreography.

Advantage: Tie. Depends what you’re into.

Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show in 2018. (Getty Images)

Topic: Date night?

Metallica: About as romantic as watching a VCR tape of “Evil Dead,” followed by a trip to the drive-through at 4 a.m.

Timberlake: He aims to tug at the heartstrings. Fine wine and caviar, not Budweiser and pizza.

Advantage: Timberlake

Topic: Stage clothes

Metallica: Black. No frills. No sleeves either, quite likely.

Timberlake: Lord knows what he’s up to with his current blend of Bass Pro casual wear and Versace. Not good.

Advantage: Metallica.

Guitar-face, anyone? James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica. (Getty Images)

Topic: "Throwing goat"

Metallica: A required and fully accepted way of showing your love for the band, and for metal.

Timberlake: Might be delivered ironically, which is generally an epic fail. The phone-wave will be more popular.

Advantage: Metallica

Metallica fans "throwing goat." (Getty Images)

Topic: Latest album

Metallica: "Hardwired to Self-Destruct.”An all-guns-blazing return to epic-length, brutal form.

Timberlake: “Man of the Woods.” Strong blend of R&B, pop, and dance music tropes with a dash of hip-hop and some country-folk leanings.

Advantage: Metallica.

Topic: Ticket price

Metallica: $65- $135

Timberlake: $53.50 - $279

Advantage: Metallica

Topic: Back catalog

Metallica: Deep and almost all vital, dynamic and awesome.

Timberlake:  Very strong, but not as deep as Metallica’s, which might just be an age thing.

Advantage: Metallica

Topic: Danceability

Metallica: Zero unless you consider banging your head while throwing goat to be dancing.

Timberlake: Full-on, save for the obligatory ballads.

Advantage: Timberlake

Justin Timberlake performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show. (Getty Images)

Topic: Taking your kids along

Metallica: A rite of passage for a family steeped in heavy rock.

Timberlake: You’re more likely to be the parental chaperone than the concert buddy.

Advantage: Metallica

Topic: Catharsis

Metallica: In dark times, dark, heavy and aggressive music can be incredibly cathartic. The feeling tends to stick with you even after your ears stop ringing.

Timberlake: JT is all about entertainment, but it’s not necessarily the uplifting feeling you’ll be revisiting weeks later simply through remembering.

Advantage: Metallica


7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at KeyBank Center

Justin Timberlake
7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at KeyBank Center

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