GIGANTOUR 2006 Announced: MEGADETH, LAMB OF GOD, OPETH, ARCH ENEMY, OVERKILL Confirmed

Gigantour is back.

The fast and furious traveling festival that was hailed last year by Revolver magazine as "the mother of all shred fests" will kick off its second year in early September.

Look for the tour — the brainchild of MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine — to launch in the Northeast and to work its way through 25 major markets before wrapping in mid-October, with Xbox's "Gears of War" sponsoring the trek. MEGADETH will return as the festival headliner on a bill that includes fellow heavy-hitters LAMB OF GOD, plus OPETH, ARCH ENEMY, OVERKILL, INTO ETERNITY, SANCTITY and THE SMASHUP all confirmed for these mostly outdoor shows. Other second stage artists will be announced soon.

Mustaine personally hand-picks all the Gigantour bands, with a sharp eye on true musicianship. He says Gigantour is a great place for like-minded music fans to see a full day of music on two stages without breaking the bank, and he's glad the tour is back in '06. "This is the concert that I, as a heavy metal music fan, would want to see," says Mustaine. "It is going to be something to look forward to each year, to see what kind of tremendous talent we can assemble, for Gigantour festivals in the years to come."

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LAMB OF GOD's Mark Morton says, "MEGADETH is one of the main reasons I started playing metal guitar in the first place. To finally tour with them is really exciting and it's a great way to start off our world tour supporting 'Sacrament'. We've been dying to get the new material up and running on the live stage. We've worked so hard on the new record — it's really a great sense of accomplishment to see the new tunes come to life in a live setting. We're really looking forward to this one." The group's Chris Adler says, "Teaming up with MEGADETH on Gigantour is a metal dream come true. The lineup represents some of the most proficient metal bands and players from across the world and we are looking forward to joining forces and kicking ass. We're planning on a nice long set, introducing a lot of new and very heavy material from 'Sacrament' as well as keeping the brutal live tracks from our previous albums. We can't wait to take the stage and destroy it."

Last year's inaugural Gigantour was a six-week trek that was hailed by the Miami Herald for featuring "only bands whose musicianship matches their ability to melt faces with sheer volume and power." The Orange County Register agreed, saying, "...it does a heart good to see Mustaine able to buck the chameleon trend of rock and stay firm to his ideals, keeping the music the priority and not the image."

As for joining forces with Gigantour, Craig Davison, Director of Global Games Marketing for Xbox, says, "We're totally jazzed about the partnership between Gigantour 2006 and our forthcoming Xbox 360 blockbuster, Gears of War! Partnering a music extravaganza like Gigantour with the launch of a mega-hit game like Gears of War captures the excitement around two awesome happenings for fans of music and video games!" Gears of War is a blockbuster video game exclusively for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system that blends tactical action with survival horror. Gears of War thrusts gamers into a harrowing story of humankind's epic battle for survival and is available this holiday.

In other Gigantour news, Image Entertainment will release two-DVD and two-CD sets of Gigantour 2005, which included MEGADETH, DREAM THEATER, FEAR FACTORY, ANTHRAX, NEVERMORE, LIFE OF AGONY, SYMPHONY X, DRY KILL LOGIC and BOBAFLEX. The CD is out August 22, with the DVD hitting stores September 5 — just in time for this year's tour.

Gigantour 2006 tour dates:

Sep. 07 - San Diego, CA - TBA
Sep. 08 - Oakland, CA - Oakland Coliseum
Sep. 09 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Pozo Saloon Amphitheatre
Sep. 10 - San Bernardino, CA - Hyundai Pavilion
Sep. 12 - Las Vegas, NV - TBA
Sep. 13 – Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theatre
Sep. 15 - Salt Lake City, UT - USANA
Sep. 16 – Englewood, CO - Coors Amphitheatre
Sep. 17 – Albuquerque, NM - Journal Pavilion
Sep. 19 - TBD
Sep. 21 – Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom
Sep. 22 – Chicago, IL - Congress Theatre
Sep. 23 – Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena
Sep. 24 – Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Amphitheatre
Sep. 25 – Toronto, ONT - Molson Amphitheatre
Sep. 27 – Montreal, QUE - Bell Centre
Sep. 28 – Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum
Sep. 29 - TBD
Sep. 30 – Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Center
Oct. 01 - TBD
Oct. 03 - TBD
Oct. 05 - TBD
Oct. 06 – Tampa, FL - St Pete Times Forum
Oct. 07 – Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live
Oct. 08 – Sunrise, FL - Bank Atlantic Forum

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