Anthrax and Death Angel Live in Tempe

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Tuesday, June 10, 2003 @ 2:37 PM

Anthrax and Death Angel Live a

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REVIEW BY: Kurt Storm

I think it's time to move out of the Phoenix area. Anthrax, the hardest-rockin' band in the land, comes to the area but gets no respect.

First, there's nothing about the show on the local radio stations. Even "K-PUD" doesn't have the balls to put their new album/single into heavy rotation -- probably because they're too busy getting off on the upcoming release of some old San Francisco band. Then, the show gets relocated -- don't know why, but who cares. Enough ranting, on to the show.

It's around 7:40 in the evening and a balmy 103 degrees in the valley. Despite the heat, long hair and black t-shirts abound. I only have the latter, a KNAC 105.5 FM "unfknblvbl" shirt -- talk about strapping on my old school! As I walk in, some local band is grinding away. Didn't know who they were, but they believed in the "louder-is-better" theory, which doesn't always work. Thankfully, they wrap things up with an amateurish attempt at covering "Creeping Death."

The first of two opening acts takes the stage, a band searching for an opportunity, Motive. They're a 20-something, nu-metal, rap/rock, wannabe band. The crowd, which was still a bit thin, was more interested in the beer at this point. By the last song, "Brick by Brick," they were starting to grow on me, however.

Next, the stage was set for the real opening act, Death Angel. These guys, from SF, got the crowd moving with a freight-train sound that never let up. They've been around for years and you could tell. Not from the receding hairlines, but from the tight riffs and energetic stage presence. The crowd was ready to "Kill as one!" (sing the chorus, that is) when Death Angel wrapped up their 2 fast & 2 furious set.

Finally the huge drum set, which previous bands used as a backdrop, was unveiled. I jockeyed for position to get a good look at the double-bass monster, with its pentAgram logos and mobile of gleaming cymbals. Scott, John, Frank, Rob & Charlie strode on stage accompanied by the strains of the new album's opener "Contact." Dressed in numbered pentAgram jerseys, Anthrax leapt right on cue into "What Doesn't Die." From the get-go, Frank was whipping his hair and his bass into a frenzy. Bush worked the crowd, pacing across the small stage like a caged animal -- even climbing up the speaker scaffolds at times.

As hard as the show was, there was a bit of comedy. During one of their "water breaks," John was talking to the crowd, gearing up for the next song. But, just as he was about to start singing, Scott (with help from the audience) pointed out that they had no drummer behind them! Charlie was, er, draining the lizard, or taking a... chair.

I was on the fringe of the "mosh pit" -- sadly, just a dozen or so guys and a couple "girls" who were probably hitting harder! Because my attention was split, I don't recall the song order, but they managed to perform at least one song from every major album: “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “Madhouse” (does Bush ever do Armored Saint's "Mad House" with these guys?), “Caught In A Mosh,” “N.F.L.,” “Indians,” “Antisocial,” “Bring The Noise,” “Got The Time,” “Only,” “Fueled,” “Inside Out,” and two more from the new album (besides What Doesn't Die), “Safe Home” and “Black Dahlia.”

In lieu of an "encore," Scott Ian stayed on stage. He said that Anthrax isn't one of those bands that walks off stage, waiting for the crowd to chant their name (but we were anyway)! He was right, as they ended with "Metal Thrashing Mad" & "Bring the Noise." Then, the concert became a "reality" show, as we got to choose the final song. Scott teased us with the first few notes of "I Am The Law," while Charlie banged out the intro to "Indians." Charlie won, not that it mattered, because it was a win-win situation for us.

Well, it was worth the wait, to finally see them in concert and hear their new album. Now, if only I could move back to my old stomping grounds in New Jersey and escape this desert... if only.

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