Anthrax brought the noise to Manchester

Posted on 17 February 2017
By Frank Ralph
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Anthrax rolled back the years with a thrashtastic double headline set.

First up though was hotly tipped The Raven Age from London. They have been causing a stir with support slots for Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Gojira and Ghost to name a few. Their twin guitar led, meaty, epic, melodic metal is a promising combination.

In all honesty they struggled slightly to properly connect and engage with an audience who were primarily there to turn back the years in the Anthrax Time Machine. As a band they have a lot going for them and with their melodic metal they could go far. Finishing with Angel In Disgrace which erupted on a bed of brain crushing drums you could instantly see their potential. With an album on its way they could, with the right crowd, gather some real steam.

With the anticipation built to a crescendo the legendary Anthrax took to the stage for the first of two sets for the night. A collection of classics and deep cuts before they took the audience back three decades and played the classic Among The Living in full to celebrate its 1987 release.

Unarguably the underdogs of the Big 4 bands, but in my opinion by far the best, Anthrax have always stayed true to themselves and you could sense that through the first set with a range of tracks from From All Kings and Worship Music sitting perfectly with their older cousins from State Of Euphoria and Spreading The Disease. A.I.R. and Madhouse sounded incredible and the newer Fight Them Til You Can’t is a beast of a track.

They seemed to leave the stage after no time at all, but that was just the appetiser for what was going to be a meaty and thoroughly enjoyable main course.

After a short break for the crew to adjust the stage and assemble the original Among The Living stage production with ramps and risers, they were back, gliding onto the stage to a Blues Brothers intro.

All night Joey’s voice was as impressive as ever and his interactions with the audience were a joy to watch. Frank Bello is the original ADHD Kid and never stayed still all night stalking every inch of the set up and bringing a psyche ward personality to the stage. Scott Ian is such a captivating presence on stage and is the heart of the band, tearing around the Among The Living stage like it was still 1987 and showing not only pure aggression in his guitar but subtlety and style as well. Perched several storeys up on a towering drum riser Charlie Benante provides the backbone for the band and did so effortlessly.

Caught In A Mosh and I Am The Law were incredible, as was Indians, which proved to be a terrific amalgamation of band and crowd in perfect harmony and is always a memorable feature of an Anthrax set. Scott’s favourite track Skeleton In The Closet was also a highlight as was An Imitation of Life, which dealt with the subject of having an actor as a President 30 years ago and still rings true with today’s situation. As Scott said, we could have saved ourselves this disaster of a President if more people had listened to the lyrics of Imitation 30 years ago.

It was only Anti Social that could have ended this night perfectly, after two awesome sets and it didn’t disappoint.

Having been, by a long way, the best band of last year’s Bloodstock Festival it was great to see Anthrax back for their first headline tour of 10 years. The Glasgow date of this tour was filmed for a future DVD release so you can all witness the ‘thrax at their finest.

Personally, my fingers are crossed for a joint headline tour with Public Enemy in the not too distant future.