by Ian Storck
For an epic thrash metal tour, there’s nobody better than the legendary Anthrax, along with Black Label Society, and thrash icons Exodus making up the lineup for this second tour leg, hitting new markets and new cities.
Exodus kicks off the show in wicked fashion with “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)” and “A Lesson in Violence.” Lead singer Steve “Zetro” Souza’s vocals are on point, and he offers an energetic presence, hyping the crowd at every moment, and ripping through track after track.
With these established, long-running bands, the crowd is trending to be older than the average concert, but that doesn’t stop them from mixing it up in the circle pit, especially for “Bonded by Blood” and “Strike of the Beast.” Souza even manages to get a wall of death going after the crowd is warmed up.
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society brings the energy level down a bit for their lengthy co-headlining set, which sees the crowd stop their moshing and instead act as a sea of bobbing heads to the metal tracks that they offer up. The crowd is packed with fans wearing the leather biker jackets associated with BLS, with some actual motorcycle club members included in the mix. This section of the crowd doesn’t seem to be the moshing type, and simply looks like they want to have a beer with the boys and listen to some crunchy heavy metal tunes.
The highlights from their set include “In this River,” a tribute to Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, which sees things slow down a bit and features Zakk Wylde on the piano, and “Fire it Up,” ending with Wylde and guitarist Dario Lorina in a blazing solo duel. Lorina’s skills are a highlight throughout the show, and he matches Wylde as a guitarist, making a fantastic combination.
After a video from many other prominent artists discussing the legacy of the band, Anthrax hits the stage at full force for the final set of the night. They start things off by performing “Among the Living” bathed in red lights and strobes, as the band members tear up the stage. Singer Joey Belladonna seems to harness unlimited energy from the crowd, as he rushes around, hoists the mic stand, and points to the fans, all while unleashing his vocals. The whole band seems to be genuinely having fun performing, with smiles all around from the members.
It’s hard to fit so many years of music into one set, but they do a nice job of including their most popular tracks, like the iconic “I Am the Law” and “Caught in a Mosh,” but also their well-known covers, like Trust’s “Antisocial” or Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” featuring guitarist Scott Ian on vocals. What made me smile the most was seeing the age range of the crowd for their set, which is now ranging from late teens, upwards. There is a nonstop mosh pit for the entire set, and it’s nice to see the younger fans recognizing just how metal this group still is, 41 years later.
Follow Anthrax and see the rest of the tour dates here:
2 Portland, ME, Cross Insurance Arena
3 Uncasville, CT, Mohegan Sun Arena
4 Bethlehem, PA, Sands Bethlehem Event Center
5 Boston, MA, House of Blues
7 Corbin, KY, Corbin Arena
8 St. Louis, MO, The Factory at The District
10 San Antonio, TX, Tech Port Center + Arena
11 Houston, TX, Bayou Theater
13 Omaha, NE, The Admiral Theater
14 Oklahoma City, OK, The Criterion
15 Albuquerque, NM, Revel Entertainment Center
17 Riverside, CA, Riverside Municipal Auditorium
18 Oakland, CA, Fox Theater
19 The Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA