Photos & Review by Max Stewart
Anthrax and Black Label Society proved to be a perfect one-two punch for any metalheads that have yearned to rock after the void of live music the last few years. With Hatebreed opening the show at Atlanta‘s Tabernacle, the night was a full dosage of all things metal and just what the rock doctor ordered. My neck still hurts from all the headbanging…. and man did I miss that feeling.
New York’s Anthrax started the show with a video tribute from a massive list of legends singing their praises that included Gene Simmons, Robert Trujillo, Henry Rollins, Slash, Phil Anselmo, Chuck D, and Brann Dailor of Atlanta’s Mastodon (who was actually in attendance). Anthrax could be viewed as an outlier in the metal community by some: fantastic musicians that actually have a good time on stage with no ego. As live performers, Anthrax are totally immersed in the evening and have never come close to phoning it in. They smile and interact with the crowd from the pit to the upper levels, throw mounds of guitar picks to fans, and jump around multiple levels of the stage. It is undoubtedly a full tilt experience for the fans.
Anthrax is celebrating their 40th Anniversary (!), and it is truly remarkable how they have not lost a step and seem to be heavier and tighter as a band than ever. This is insane for any band… but for a thrash metal band of their caliber to still be kicking this much ass is damn near impossible. They played a career-spanning set which included a heavy dose of Among the Living, starting the night with the title track “Among the Living” and “Caught in a Mosh.” The band then performed a fantastic version of “Madhouse,” which showcased why Scott Ian is one of the kings of the of the metal riffs. In a powerful moment, they dedicated “In the End” to some lost heroes in the rock community: Eddie Van Halen, Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul.
Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello, singer Joey Belladonna and guitarist Jonathan Donais are the perfect metal unit that interweave masterfully in concert. If you dig all things riff, you will be captivated for the full time. Ending the set with “Indians,” there is no sign that Anthrax will be slowing down anytime soon.
Zakk Wylde‘s Black Label Society headlined the Thursday night show down south, with droves of BLS fans in vests throughout the venue. Another fiery opener, “Funeral Bell” into “Destroy & Conquer” kept the energy of the crowd on high, with Wylde wearing a kilt in the middle of the stage with a mic stand stacked high with skulls. Is there a more badass look on stage? Doubt it.
The set was a testimony to Wylde’s out-of-this-world guitar prowess, which is why he has been playing guitar with Ozzy Osbourne since the Eighties. The other guitarist Dario Lorina showed his chops as well, especially during the epic guitar duel of “Fire It Up,” which began with tons of beach balls being thrown into the audience. Black Label Society also have a powerful presence on stage and keep it fun, with bassist John DeServio smiling and engaging with the crowd. The set ended with “Stillborn,” leaving fans with an injection of all things metal into their veins.
At the end of the night, my t-shirt was soaked with sweat and I was blasting riffs on my stereo the whole car ride home. A sign of a mighty good time, I’d say.
If the aliens invade and ask about heavy metal, let’s agree to just take them to see Anthrax and Black Label Society.