ANTHRAX/TESTAMENT TOUR FINAL WAS AWESOME!
Photos by Brian Schroeter
The guys of Anthrax soon go to south and southeast Asia for a week of shows with Hellyeah [Update: These dates have been postponed — ADF], but their current US run with Testament finished last week. Since the return of glory-era singer Joey Belladonna, the Anthrax world is a fishbowl to which I have pressed my face. So two Saturdays ago, it was time for me to tap on the glass and take notes. The questions: How does Belladonna sing and look? What’s the band body language? Do drummer Charlie Benante’s fills sound off? Has Scott Ian grown a better or worse beard? Can fans exhale a bit here with the firm knowledge that things are groovy for good in the land of Anthrax?
The answers: awesome and rad, good enough, yep, worse, and sure fuck it! The important thing is Anthrax sounded awesome. Chalk it up to final-show mania — the same that had Testament singer Chuck Billy performing “Disciples Of The Watch” while dismantling a drumkit — but whatever Anthrax was fucking juiced. I haven’t seen a crowd that wild in ages, and Anthrax was big. Remember how they crushed at the Big Four thing in Sofia? This was better!
It was also great to see Death Angel (right) with guitarist Rob Cavestany’s moves like a Black Dynamite villain and A+ perfect song “Seemingly Endless Time.” Later Testament started out like they’d do an old-school set (“The Preacher” “The New Order”) but ended up playing tons of 2k jamz (“The Persecuted Won’t Forget”) and a seldom-played mega-classic (“Envy Life” YES). It was weird though cuz Chuck Billy has a new lighted mini-mic stand thingy that’s like half-bicycle seat/half-sex toy. Lead guitarist Alex Skolnick had a dildo of his own and waggled it at center stage for every solo — every song. He did enough guitar faces that it seemed like he was rallying late in some secret competition with Vinnie Moore for most onstage wowgasms. Ahhh, last show of the tour.
Testament previewed no songs from the upcoming Gene Hoglan-powered The Dark Roots Of Earth, so the newest parts of their set are about the same age as Anthrax’s Worship Music. So the show transitioned awesomely to Anthrax’s first set; though it closed with three old jamz, six of the first eight were Worship Music hits I think. Again Belladonnawas amazing, and I stood there thinking during “I’m Alive” that the 2011 Anthrax concert vibe is way better now. People were going nuts, having fun. Bush was less of a showman, I concluded. But I really blew my own mind when it clicked that 2011 Anthrax there before me almost was fronted by someone whose name is Dan Nelson with all the neuroses that implies. Then I nudged my friend and said, “Close call!” but it was too loud to elaborate. Then I had to split. Awesome show!