Anthrax Forum London 10-2-17

First up before the sold out crowd was The Raven Age who spent most of last year on the road with Iron Maiden across the globe and with their debut cd due out on the 17th of March big things are expected.

Mixing songs from their debut ep and a couple of new ones their stage craft has improved massively since the last time I saw them but for me the biggest problem was the quite appalling sound mix from where I was sat in the balcony.Strangely the vocals were audible with Michael Burroughs excelling with his melodic tones but the guitars were muted and Jai Patel on drums appeared to be pounding his kit superbly but sadly he was unheard.

The crowd response grew song by song and recent single Salem's Fate tried it's best to be heard from the mud and I look forward to the album next month and seeing them again and maybe hearing all of them too.

As the lights dipped for Anthrax the anticipation reached fever pitch and for me a reminisce at frighteningly 30 years since the release of the classic Among The Living cd and a show at Oxford Apollo with Testament in support that reduced the venue to ruins.

Split into 2 sets first up was a collection of older classics and then after a short break Among The Living in full.

Here is what they played

Set 1
Evil Twin
Blood Eagle Wings
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
Breathing Lightning
Be All, End All
Set 2 – Among the living
Among the Living
Caught in a Mosh
I Am the Law
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
A Skeleton in the Closet
One World
A.D.I. / Horror of It All
Imitation of Life
Thankfully the earlier sound gremlins had gone and with a superb light show and crowd set to nuts off we went and the bar was set at stunning from the word go with a fantastic 1-2 of A.I.R. and Madhouse to open.From my view on the balcony the pit started from the word go with security on double time I hope as a continual stream of crowd surfers kept them more than busy.Great to see the rapport with the band as security put the surfers to their feet time and again,Joey Belladonna on vocals met them with a high five or horns as they went back into the crowd and started again.
And that says a lot about the connection we all feel with Anthrax as the crowd's enjoyment is so important to the band and the word probably to describe it is tribal as its an event with the love for the band and reciprocated by them as we join in a union and love of thrash metal that is rarely seen.
Frankie Bello on bass is ever moving and gurning and some great backing vocals too and newish boy Jon Donais on guitar tends to be a little to the background but when required let's his fast fingers soloing speak for it's self.
Scott Ian is quite talkative and I love his comment before Imitation Of Life when he said it was written 30 years ago in a fucked up world and it still we all agreed he added when Piers Morgan is your prime minister you come back to us!!!
His riffing is up their with the very best and his stage movement er bounding is still as addictive as it was 30 years ago.Charlie Benante on drums is stunning with his double bass work and fast hands a blur and again he shows he is in the premier league of drummers.
Joey Belladonna on vocals is in fine form his melodic tones have always added to the Anthrax sound and with a wonderful stage craft and banter he is the perfect host.He throws guitar picks at every opportunity and is always picking out someone in the throng to talk to and also make sure all is ok in the frothing pit.
3 newies off last year's cd For All Kings all stood up to close attention with the classics with Breathing Lightning standing out.
Fight Em' Til You Can't was superb all taut riff and drumming stomp and the crowd in great voice on the chorus and first set closer Be All End All off State Of Euphoria was incredible.The crowd sang back the riff as the song started and the pit went mental as Belladonna implored more from them and the chorus was greeted with horns and fists as the security's work increased.
The short break gave the crowd a chance to re charge the batteries and as the lights dipped again the whole place went off and didn't dip at all.
Among The Living,Caught In A Mosh,i Am The Law I mean does any album start with a better 1-2-3.Singing,thrashing,moshing and crowd surfing all turned up to max and the band were amazing too.
N.F.L. and Skeletons In The Closet weren't singles back in the day but sit comfortably as classics and the crowd reaction showed that too with Scott Ian saying Skeletons was and still is his favourite track off the cd.
Indians will always be a moment in time.I remember an Academy show in Oxford on the hottest day of the year many moons ago and this song sees band and crowd unite and as Scott Ian yells Wardance the whole downstairs raged in as a seething pit of humanity having such fun.
As an encore the Trust classic Antisocial was a perfect end to a 2 hour celebration of a classic album made by one of the Big Four and who maybe don't get quite the credit they deserve.
The Glasgow show a couple of days after this was recorded for a DVD and I will be a first day buyer.
A very special evening.
Anthrax Thank You.

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