Testament in New York

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 @ 5:45 AM

At The Crazy Donkey in Farming

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By: Greg Dalkine

The ticket I got online from the Crazy Donkey website said that Doors open at 6:00. I took the train to Farmingdale from Penn Station, NYC to arrive at about 6:15 or so. Glad I didn't take the one an hour early cause they didn't let people in till like seven. Now I must say, the security guards were a total hassle in patting us down and searching us. I guess, it's warranted after the Dimebag shooting. It was my first time in here, and the place looked really clean, and really nice…much better than most rock venues. For a Long Island venue, it is the shit. Good atmosphere, just horrible people that work there under strict policy. There was a little kitchen churning out burgers and stuff, which seemed odd, especially since I expected a mosh pit right in front of it. Moving on.

The club filled up pretty fast, I grabbed a Corona, and listened to the shitty house music before the 1st band came on. Their name was Point Blank, and I caught like half their set. They were just annoying, and their brand of hardcore meets nu-metal didn't fit the show at all…they were a nuisance. Some people seemed to like them, but actually most of the crowd was outside in the yard and patio just chilling and drinking their booze while smoking. I was happy when they were done. I just can never understand why clubs can get such shitty bands to open for awesome acts?

The second band deserves a mention. They were Devils Island. They came onstage to a lot of cheers, and handled everything professionally despite their youthful look. They played a mix of thrash and power metal, and got the crowd riled up. The singer reminded me of a cross between Michael Kiske (Helloween), Matt Barlow (Iced Earth), and James Hetfield (Metallica) in style. Their stage presence was amazing…beyond anything I've ever seen in a local band, and they had leads all over the place, even on bass. The drummer was incredibly fast, and together they sounded like a well-oiled metal machine. You could definitely hear the Megadeth thrash influences, but also some Iced Earth and power metal mixed in. I found the guys on MySpace, and they are at www.myspace.com/devilsisland. I hope to see more of them in the future as more good shows come to the venue (Deicide is today, as I write this, on the 17th).

Between them, and the next band I walked over to this heavily tattooed chick in a denim jacket who seemed to have way too much fun banging her head to some metalcore shit. Jesus lady, you're 50 years old and like shadows fall? Enough ranting. Actually I took some fries off that grill thing and relaxed with another Corona.

On next, a band called Magus Beast who were a bunch of huge guys playing old school metal. Nothing special. Ok stage performance, but their leads were sick as hell. Their singer reminded me of Rob Halford (Judas Priest)/Bobby Blitz Ellsworth (Overkill) and hit these insanely high notes all the time. The crowd unfortunately didn't seem to dig it as much as I did, but good set nonetheless. Found them on MySpace at www.myspace.com/magusbeast.

Next up was Constricted, who were Long Island natives. Now again, to open up for Testament, you need to be something remotely metal. They reminded me of nu-metal meets Tool, and I just couldn't figure out what they were doing on right before the metal gods. Whatever. The crowd didn't care much.

Before Testament came on, I pushed a tad to the front and was about 4th row, center stage. They played these awesome horror movie clips that made us all laugh like hell. We waited, the smoke came out, and the mighty Testament took the stage.

The show was fucking banging, and immediately Chuck Billy took control of the crowd. To my surprise they started playing stuff from The Gathering early on. I couldn't believe it since they recorded that with James Murphy (Testament guitarist circa 1994, member of Death, Obituary, Cancer ), not the reunited classic lineup what was touring now. Alex Skolnick was ripping up leads and playing the guitar like a maniac, but was a bit low in the beginning and had to turn it up. Good!!! Better for us. He seemed a bit weird though with his guitar up so high, and headbanging like a hipster. Not once did I see him bend his knees. Chuck Billy seemed in fine vocal shape as he did everything from singing, to growling, to his fast paced thrash talk. Greg Christian absolutely amazed me. As a bassist he is another Steve Harris (Iron Maiden). Jumping around like a maniac, he commanded the floor, rolled his eyes scary, and made me wonder if he was possessed. Eric Peterson was solid. Hell, this guy IS the band. Main songwriter, and original member, he had some fans in his corner as well. The drummer from Sadus (John Allen) was filling in for the tour because Louis Clemente has ailments or something and can't handle the physical stress. This guy seemed to be tired, but held down the rhythm well. The sound was very good, and I could hear all the instruments clearly from where I stood. I wish there was a little more reverb or something to make the guitars a little wetter, and more gain on the bass. But hey, when do you ever get perfect sound from a band or a venue? The show was loud, and that's what we were all there for.

The highlights for me were when Chuck mentioned their new album they've been writing. I hope it comes out in the coming year so I can see ‘em live again. He promised next year, but we'll see what happens. Highlights of the night for me were Electric Crown and The Legacy. I just couldn't believe that they played The Legacy. It's one of my favorite Testament songs, and Electric Crown was just like on CD. It showed off Billy's vocals to the max in the pre-chorus and chorus. I thought they'd close with Over The Wall, but that went through early on and got a huge applause from the crowd during the harmony parts, and people went absolutely insane for the choruses. I've never seen so many fists in the air in a small club like that before. Chuck dedicated True Believer to all the true believers in metal that attended the night. For their encore, they did The Preacher and Alone in The Dark. At this point I was drunk (I forgot to mention the constant trips to the bar), and when he made us all sing along I yelled at the top of my lungs into some poor guys ears who just ran away into the bathroom. Scary sight that was. Funny enough, there pretty much was no pit, but a lame one, and no one really got hurt. Toward the end of their set, Chuck announced that they'll want to smoke some herb, so if anyone had any, they had to go to them after the show. I said screw it cause I wanted to get home in Brooklyn as I had work at 8:00 the next day. However many people spilled out into the lot to wait for the band. I caught a fast cab to the train and was soon out of there. This was their last gig on this recent tour, and I wait for them next year. I can't wait to fucking see Testament again. Hopefully next time I won't have to travel so far out.

Set List (As best I recall, in no particular order)

  • Eerie Inhabitants
  • New Order
  • The Haunting
  • The Legacy
  • Over the wall
  • True Believer
  • Disciples of the Watch
  • Electric Crown
  • Into the Pit
  • DNR
  • 3 Days of Darkness

  • The Preacher
  • Alone in the Dark

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