Anthrax -- Los Angeles, CA -- October 22nd, 2011
Awesome show, all the bands were phenomenal- I'll have a review soon. This is gonna be on Blabbermouth real soon I bet, but Joey was attacked and tackled by some nutjob during Metal Thrashing Mad. Frankie jumped in to help out Joey while the rest of the band stopped the song and there was a big pileup going on with security, Joey, Frankie and the aforementioned crazy dude. After the guy was taken away (with security holding a ridiculously angry Frankie back to prevent him from royally kicking dude's ass), the band just kind of hung out for a couple minutes to let Joey recuperate, but then played I Am the Law as planned. The band was absolutely professional about the whole deal, and both Frankie and Joey were great during I Am the Law. In the end, all the audience lost was about a minute of Metal Thrashing Mad.
Edit: My review that'll be on MetalAssault.com if anyone cares.
Anthrax, Testament and Death Angel- these three acts have long been considered “baby brother” bands of much more popular groups such as Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. After last night in Los Angeles, I felt this notion could still apply today. All three groups gave performances with the energy of bands half their age, and provided Los Angeles with a superb thrash metal experience.
Death Angel began the show with a taut 30 minute set that highlighted their newest album, “Relentless Retribution.” After seeing the band twice on their headlining tour six months ago, I knew that Los Angeles was in for a treat. The band delivered; vocalist Mark Osegueda unleashed his road-worn howl as if every word was his last, and the rest of the band followed suit. Guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar frequently traded positions on stage, while bassist Damien Sisson provided a few very cool wah-wah breaks. The tracks from “Relentless Retribution,” which made up half of the six-song set, received a deservingly strong reception from the crowd. “Claws In So Deep” in particular drew a massive applause, likely because of its frenetic pace throughout. The classic “Evil Priest” had the audience in the pit jumping along with Mark, and triggered the first of many circle pits throughout the night. The band capped off their short but powerful set with the intro to “The Ultra-Violence” followed by “Thrown To The Wolves.” It was a great way to combine new and old, and ended a fantastic set full of adrenaline and aggression. In the late 1980s, the members of Death Angel were noted for their youth; the ever-cited example being that original drummer Andy Galeon was only fourteen when the group recorded their legendary debut “The Ultra-Violence.” Last night, it was as if Death Angel had never grown up.
Testament then took the stage and proceeded to throw the crowd into a frenzy of headbanging, moshing and horn-raising. From the opening notes of “The Preacher,” Testament immediately had the crowd in the palms of their hands. The setlist was a perfect balance of old and new, with staples like “Over the Wall” and “The New Order” countering newer tracks such as “Henchmen Ride” and “3 Days Of Darkness.” Lead guitarist Alex Skolnick aptly demonstrated why he is considered one of thrash metal’s greatest talents. His solos sounded distinctively his own, being balancing minor scales with exotic modes and many atonal pinch harmonics. Alex’s axe-wielding partner, Eric Peterson, held his own with perfect rhythm guitar playing and even occasional dueling solos with his counterpart. An immense highlight of their set was “Into the Pit,” for which the crowd erupted into a sea of violence and shouts of the song’s anthemic chorus. The entire set had the crowd moving and the band was in top form throughout.
John Tempesta, filling in for sidelined drummer Paul Bostaph, gave the band a tight metronomic precision that only he could offer. His fills matched those recorded by the past drummers of Testament (of which there are very many) to perfection. It is worth noting that the drum mix during Testament’s set was perhaps the best I’ve ever heard at a thrash metal concert. John’s toms boomed loud and clear, while every cymbal was well defined and his snare gave a sharp, yet thunderous crack every time they were hit. Original drummer Louie Clemente’s iconic drum performance on “Disciples of the Watch” perhaps never sounded greater than last night in the able hands of John Tempesta and Testament’s sound tech. Bassist Greg Christian was no slouch as well, providing a virtuosic performance. Unlike far too many metal concerts he was easily audible, exhibiting a metallic clanking tone not dissimilar to Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris.
Then there was of course, one of thrash metal’s greatest frontmen, Chuck Billy. If last night was representative of the tour as a whole, his voice has vastly improved since the band’s last couple of go-rounds. Every word he belted was clearly enunciated, unlike prior performances where lines would be slurred. Chuck was always engaging the audience throughout, and constantly moving about and interacting with his fellow bandmates. Even his signature half-size mic-stand was given an overhaul, now glowing in the dark to perfectly complement his (surprisingly and hilariously on time) air guitar playing. Chuck didn’t waste too much time talking to the audience; as a result the band jammed 13 absolutely killer tunes into one hour. The band gave a phenomenal performance, and left the audience hungry for more. As a cool way of showing their love for their fans, Testament brought a member of the audience onstage to give him a free guitar for crowd-surfing over the barrier more times than anyone else throughout the set. It was a nice gesture on the band’s part, and a neat ending to a fantastic set from a band that has never delivered anything less.
Finally, Anthrax came on to the sounds of “Worship,” the intro to their newest album, “Worship Music.” The band kicked things off with “Earth On Hell,” which started the set strong. Singer Joey Belladonna (possibly one of the few thrash metal vocalists who truly deserve the adjective) was in fine voice throughout the night, singing every song as if it were 1985 again. Even though he now sings in a lower register, his voice has lost no power or range. Every high note was hit with ease, and he still managed to work the stage well. As if the lyrics prompted it more than the music itself, “Caught In A Mosh” summoned a massive circle pit after Charlie’s legendary drum fill before the first verse. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring moment of the entire night was the sheer explosion of violence during “Indians” upon Scott’s cry to mosh, his infamous “war dance” shout. The audience sang along to every word of the classic tracks, and gave plenty of applause to the new tracks from “Worship Music.” Ending the set with “Only,” my personal favorite Anthrax song, was a classy way to acknowledge former vocalist John Bush’s time in the band. Joey sang the track wonderfully, even though John will always be the definitive singer for any material he recorded and wrote with the band.
There was of course bassist Frankie Bello, who seemed to have an endless amount of stamina. The man always had a giant smile on his face, and worked to provide a visual spectacle for the crowd throughout the entire set. When he wasn’t leaping about the stage, he was headbanging, making goofy faces or providing high vocal harmonies to help out Joey. Even though Frankie would often stop playing to use his arms to interact with the audience, it ultimately served the show for the better and helped the band’s overall stage presence and gave the band a youthful vibe missing from many groups these days. The other band members, while nowhere near as active as Frankie and Joey, held their weight well enough. Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano provided the band with classy, melodic leads and solos and gave an overall professional performance Even though he lacked the sheer technical wizardry of Testament’s Alex Skolnick, Rob turned in a more than respectable performance. Rhythm guitarist Scott Ian could be seen headbanging frequently and providing gruff backing vocals to complement Frankie and Joey’s melodic singing. Drummer extraordinaire Charlie Benante turned in an expectedly powerful performance. Last night, he proved why he’s known as one of thrash metal’s most technically proficient percussionists.
The set, while highly enjoyable throughout, seemed purposefully stretched to a length longer than it should have been. This included an extended intro and outro to “Antisocial,” and long addresses to the audience from Joey and rhythm guitarist Scott Ian. While Testament had packed thirteen songs into one hour, Anthrax somehow made fourteen songs last about eighty minutes. The set was heavily stacked with tracks from “Worship Music” and “Among the Living,” with the band’s other classic albums barely being represented. Considering the short set length, it’s hard to see why the band simply couldn’t include more tracks to both lengthen and diversify the setlist. On a positive note, the tracks from “Worship Music” sounded phenomenal live; the band would be stupid not to play “In the End” at every show they do from this tour onwards. Overall, the set was still perfectly performed and absolutely enjoyable; it’s simply a shame that it suffered from unwarranted flaws.
Throughout Death Angel and Testament’s sets, the sound was wonderful. According to a note by the soundboard, there was a decibel limit, which I feel helped the sound immensely since far too many shows suffer from being too loud. The bass was audible, guitar solos cut through, and the vocals were completely clear. As mentioned before, the drum sound during Testament’s set was one of the best I’ve ever heard. Despite prior reports, Anthrax’s sound was for the most part fine, although Frankie’s bass was reduced to a low rumble and Joey’s vocals were a tad too low in the mix. Charlie’s drums were clear and audible, but his bass drums were dominated by weak trigger sounds. It seemed to only show off Charlie’s speed rather than serve the songs.
For those who do not know, Joey was tackled by the venue’s security during “Metal Thrashing Mad” when a fan jumped on stage and approached him. In short, there was a small pileup, Frankie got involved and ultimately “Metal Thrashing Mad” was cut short from only the guitar solo onwards. All the audience lost was a minute or two of “Metal Thrashing Mad.” Joey was given a minute to recover, the band graciously apologized for the incident and finished the set as planned. Anthrax was extremely professional about the entire episode, and their behavior is a model for other bands to follow in similar situation.
Overall, this was an astounding show with a terrific lineup. Every band played as if their lives depended on it, and Anthrax’s perseverance and dedication to their fans was a truly admirable act to witness. Every one of the three groups may not have the sales or notoriety of some bigger acts, but they are the ones keeping thrash metal truly alive and well. For the time being anyway, I and everyone else in the audience last night will continue to worship their music.
1. I Chose the Sky
2. Evil Priest
3. Claws In So Deep
4. Relentless Revolution
5. Seemingly Endless Time
6. The Ultra-Violence/Thrown To The Wolves
1. The Preacher
2. The New Order
3. The Persecuted Won't Forget
4. Envy Life
5. Over the Wall
6. Souls of Black
7. Into The Pit
8. Electric Crown
9. Henchmen Ride
10. More Than Meets The Eye
11. D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
12. 3 Days In Darkness
13. Disciples of the Watch
1. Earth On Hell
2. Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't
3. Caught In A Mosh
6. I'm Alive
7. The Devil You Know
9. In The End
10. Got The Time
12. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
13. Metal Thrashing Mad (band stopped after Joey was tackled during the guitar solo)
14. Refuse Resist/I Am the Law
Last edited by Onioner; 10-24-2011 at 12:56 AM.