ANTHRAX / TESTAMENT
February 7, 2012
I have to start this review like this: TESTAMENT must have a curse when it comes to playing THIS venue because the last time Testament played Ram's Head Live in Baltimore they were opening for Megadeth and a beer was spilled on the soundboard & that resulted in the show being cancelled 3 songs into Megadeth's set! At this show there was a beverage spilled on the soundboard BUT the show went on thanks to a sound guy who knew how to run the ENTIRE show through an ipad! Literally, the entire show was ran through an ipad & other than a random pop or crackle here & there the sound was good & the only glitch in the night was when Joey's mic cut out during "Got the Time".
Death Angel were the opening act but I arrived too late to catch their set...the first band I caught this night were thrash metal icons Testament & the last time they played Ram's Head Live Alex Skolnick was on tour with his jazz trio so he was not with Testament...this time around though Skolnick WAS there & the only non-original member was Gene on drums!
Skolnick's hair was actually verging on an afro with a crazy amount of frizz & the funny thing is Joe Perry & Steven Tyler have that same streak of white hair in the front that Skolnick has been sporting for the past few years...what I wonder at times though is IF playing in Testament is still a thrill to Skolnick because he left the band for a good number of years because he wanted to play other stlyes of music and then he came back but still continues to make his jazz trio his #1 priority so I secretly wonder if Testament is still making Skolnick content as a player.
Testament played a set that featured mostly older songs with just a few newer ones mixed in..."Trial By Fire" was not played & that was a bit of a bummer since that was the bands first single to get MTV airplay back in the day.
It's also funny to see Chuck Billy singing into his mini mic stands that double as an air guitar/light saber & Billy has 2 different mic sabers that he uses onstage...both light up; one is red & the other is blue.
Testament's set for the night was:
The New Order
Over The Wall
Souls of Black
Into The Pit
More Than Meets
3 Days in Darkness
Formation of Dam
The last thing I'll say about Testament is that Chuck Billy used to always come off as a big, tough guy...he was like the Charles Bronson of Thrash Metal, BUT when you see him onstage he's smiling, throwing out a zillion guitar pics, high fiving fans, playing air guitar & Chuck is honestly enjoying EVERY moment up there....watching him have such a good time blows the tough guy act because you can see past the gutteral screams & the large carcass...Chuck is a big Thrash metal teddy bear!
Anthrax Set list:
Caught In A Mosh
The Devil You Know
In The End
Got The Time
Among The Living
Metal Thrashing Mad
I Am The Law
This show featured only 2 core members of Anthrax....Joey Belladonna on vocals & Scott "The Hebrew Hammer" Ian on guitar.
The setlist was decent but sadly they skipped "I'm The Man" because Charlie & Frankie were key to that song & those 2 were off the tour; they were taking care of family matters at home.
Joey Vera from Armored Saint did a GREAT job on bass...he was smaller than what I expected....I remember seeing the pics of Armored Saint as a kid & for some reason I always thought they were big guys but Joey was actually small is stature & bald...he ran about the stage adding energy & enthusiasm to the Anthrax live show while Gene was hidden behind the drum kit & after the show Gene spilled the beans backstage to a fan that he learned the entire Anthrax set from a soundboard recording of Charlie's drumming on the recent tour & he noted that Charlie's drumming changing nightly while Gene did his best to re-create the soundboard performance he was given.
Joey Belladonna still has it both vocally & performance wise...Joey gave fans guitar pics, redbulls, beers & if you watch his facial expressions the man makes some of craziest faces which also adds to just how animated he is onstage!
During "Indians" Joey didn't sport the Indian Headress BUT Chuck Billy from Testament took the stage for the beginning of the song with a beer in hand & at first I didn't even realize it was Chuck when he took the stage because he was wearing sweats & a baseball cap...out of his "rocker" clothes Chuck blends in very well.
Scott Ian didn't have the multi colored beard this time around....instead he had a touch o' gray in it & after the show I saw Scott wearing glasses which kinda made me chuckle a bit because he looked so mild mannered & old compared to the guy he tries to be onstage!
During "Got The Time" Joey's mic cut out for a line or 2 but I doubt most of the crowd even realized it because this show ran horribly late due to the soundboard problem & the show was over close to 12:30 which was far later than scheduled. To all the bands on this bill, they did a kick ass job in making a bad situation work & I will admit I had my hesitations seeing Anthrax without Charlie on drums & Frankie on bass BUT what this show really ended up being was a rare experience to see Anthrax with different members that you'll probably never see again & Gene did a killer job pulling double duty as drummer for Anthrax & Testament. Scott commented that Gene was clearly the most metal person on that tour because he played drums with both Testament & Anthrax!
This show was a GREAT night for old school thrash metal & by the time the show had ended I think EVERYONE: audience, crew, band members, etc., were exhausted & glad to see this night end triumphantly because this show almost didn't happen due to the soundboard issue!
As an added bonus I am including a blurb about the Wayne Static that took place the night after the Anthrax show!
February 8, 2012
Wayne Static & his wife Yoko Static played Towson, Maryland on February 8, 2012 & what can I say about the show...do you want me to be BRUTALLY honest or sugar coat it?
If I'm being brutally honest here, the backing band Wayne has on tour with him are top notch, they play hard, look cool & are a great backing band, BUT, Wayne Static is NOT Rob Zombie...Wayne tried to go solo from Static X and my complaint with his "Solo" show is that he only performs a few songs off his solo record...I'd say 4 solo songs tops, then the rest of his set is ALL Static X covers...The Static X covers sound just like Static X did & it's because Wayne plays along to a track...the basic songs are already there & the band members play live instruments over the track so technically a group o' trained monkeys could really be his backing band & I don't mean that as a jab to Wayne's backing band, just sayin' that playing along to a track is sorta like cheating BUT it's what many bands do these days so....
Wayne Static made one HUGE cardinal mistake as far as I'm concerned with his solo outing...making his porn star wife part of the show was simply retarded & I'll explain it like this:
When you go to see a band you like in concert you wanna see the BAND play, NOT see some dude's wife onstage topless trying to overshadow the band.....if Wayne felt the need to have his wife onstage with him & she wanted to sing or be taken seriously as an artist I'd be fine with her singing or playing or doing something "musically" onstage...all Wayne's wife was good for was showing her fake tits while either handing the band members shots, making out with another chick or waving glow sticks around....her "job" onstage was basically stripper/barmaid & I'm sorry BUT if I wanted to see that I'd go to a strip club....when I go to see a rock show, big shocker, I wanna see the band play & NOT some porn star who's trying to take the attention away from the band I paid to see!
Wayne's wife didn't just get onstage for one song, she was up there for most of the night & I'm sorry BUT it's NOT about her....it's being billed as "Wayne Static" therefore people wanna see Wayne & not Yoko!
I will point out that I've seen Static X many times over the years & I do enjoy their music, BUT, without Tony on bass it's just a rip off of what Static X was & Wayne's wife onstage cheapens his performance & takes away from the band 100%...it honestly makes a joke of it all & I heard a guy saying what I was thinking while Wayne was playing his solo material:
"Even with naked chicks onstage these songs still suck!"
I found the show to be a bit embarrassing for Wayne & all I can say is, if he's happy with it, more power to him, BUT, it's not about strippers, there's NOTHING sexy about the music Wayne plays, it's angry nu-metal & it would be like having strippers onstage with Testament...what's the point? I mean the only thing I would have laughed at was if Wayne's wife took a shit onstage ala G.G. Allin when Wayne played "Love Dump".