[editor’s note – we hope to have more photos soon. Unfortunately, some bastard stole Gavin, our photographer’s, jacket during the show and one of his memory cards was in the pocket… along with half the shots he’d taken…]
Whenever I’ve seen Anthrax previously, they’ve always been supporting someone. The first time I saw them was back in 2015 when they supported Slayer and then again last year at Bloodstock, supporting Slayer. Upon consulting with Mosh, he told me that they’d not done a headline UK tour for over 12 years. Add the fact that they were filming the show for a DVD and the excitement levels in the crowd were through the roof.
Unfortunately due to queues for both the doors and the merch, I missed about two thirds of the set from British metallers The Raven Age (7). Having seen them at Bloodstock though, I knew exactly what to expect. Playing songs from their upcoming debut album, the band delivered what was a rather enjoyable set. Unfortunately, they were marred by a myriad of sound issues that did cause some of the members to look a little uncomfortable on stage.
That being said, their bassist in particular looked like he was having the time of his life and between encouraging the rapidly growing crowd and also singing backup vocals, he could easily have been mistaken for being the frontman. No discredit to the singer though, but he didn’t exactly have the same amount or style of charisma that some of the other members had. Finishing their set with “Angel in Disgrace”, the band did a decent job of warming up the frozen crowd and probably gained a few new fans along the way. I look forward to seeing the band again in the future!
Second Opinion – Mosh
I got into the arena a little earlier than James, so only missed the first couple of songs. The lads played well, and George had admitted himself that they had a little trepidation at playing in front of a thrash audience. But then, they’ve played in front of a symphonic metal crowd (Delaine) before so they’ve got the chops to give anything a shot.
To me, the band had three front men and bassist Matt Cox definitely seemed to be having the time of his life. Singer Michael Burrough did well, and interacted with the crowd, definitely having something to do with the growing appreciation for them as their set progressed with George Harris being the third to really put on a performance.
One woman (middle, about six back from the front) must have spent the entire forty minutes with her hands in the air waving the horns. Good, solid performance to an initially lukewarm crowd, but they definitely won them over. I’d agree with James’ mark of 7.
It was then time, after a lengthy changeover, for the main event. As soon as the lights went down, one of the loudest cheers I’ve ever heard erupted from the, now being filmed, crowd that had gathered to witness Anthrax (9) play Among The Living in full. Coming on stage to “A.I.R” from Spreading The Disease, the band exploded onto stage and the crowd unleashed the mosh pits. Our very own editor in chief was present in said pits, however as your senior editor I made the decision to observe from the side-lines and retain some fresh air.
Whilst the band did say that the set would be ‘By Request’ in my opinion it wasn’t really. With the majority of the songs coming from the latest album For All Kings and Spreading The Disease, what was played didn’t really correlate with what was voted for. For example, “Got The Time” which was either the third or fourth most voted for song was not played. Yet, “Breathing Lightning”, either the thirteenth or fourteenth, was. I get that the show was being recorded for a DVD and that you needed to play songs that you’d play near perfectly, but come on.
After another ridiculously long change-over, “I Can’t Turn Loose” was piped through the PA system and the band eventually re-appeared for what was the main event of the night, the full performance of Among The Living. The crowd then exploded into life and many people literally found themselves “Caught In A Mosh”. The performance of the songs was near flawless and the crowd interaction between the band and audience was a textbook example of both skill and grace.
Rounding off with a single song encore of their version of “Antisocial” by Trust, they delivered an absolutely amazing performance which was only marred by their odd choice of songs for the first half. I eagerly await the DVD of the show and who knows… maybe you’ll see either Mosh or myself on it!
Second Opinion – Mosh
I remain the only person in the world who thinks that For All Kings is… well… kind of OK. As result, the first half of the set left me a little flat though there’s no harm in having a warm-up before the reason we’d all turned up. The sound was good, the atmosphere great, and the band in top form. Joey made sure the crowd was well looked after, handing out water and Monster Energy Drink (cans on stage, labels very much facing forward) during free moments. “Madhouse” and “Be All, End All” were definitely the highlights of the opening salvo.
The second half was a little long in coming, but in fairness they did re-arrange the stage a bit, adding in some ramps and the like. Even taking the break out, the band played pretty much two hours as they ran on past the usual 11:00 curfew. And, frankly, they could have played till 11:00 the next morning for all I cared. If only they could have blasted through complete renditions of State of Euphoria, Persistence of Time and Sound of White Noise but, hey.
Among the Living is quality in so many ways, but when played in full live you realise how damn good it actually is. “Horror of it All” was the only song that I felt even remotely “plodded”, but maybe I was just getting knackered by then. Certainly, I was battered after “Caught in a Mosh” and personal favourite “I Am The Law” which has been mysteriously missing from their setlist now and again in recent years (naughty Anthrax).
Enjoying a friendly chant of “Fuck Donald Trump” before the band launched into the final album track was also quite the treat, and Scott – I really hope we don’t end up with Piers Morgan in charge either… I wonder if that little exchange will make it onto the DVD?
Photos by Lowrey Photography