Asheville Stories and Tips

Anthrax/Testament/Death Angel in concert pt 1

Ted Photo, Asheville, North Carolina

Just in case you’re not familiar with these bands, let me give you a little history. Heavy metal is a genre of music that became popular during the 80’s. It features lighting speed riffs and the musicians generally have long hair and tattoos and often wore black leather and metal spikes. There are a number of divisions within the heavy metal genre and even more subcultures. Metal, glam metal, sleaze metal, thrash metal, speed metal, and death metal are just several of the labels of metal. These bands are known as thrash metal which kind of rebelled with the pretty boy hair bands of the day and have faster, pulse pounding riffs, and the singers often have more of a grunt than actual signing. Females are general fans of glam metal and all its subcultures while thrash metal and its divisions are often made up of males. Back in the day it wasn’t unusual for me to go to a thrash show and be the only girl there. I am pretty much a fan of most metal labels and have been a fan of all 3 bands for several decades now.

Anthrax.

Anthrax is one of the most well know of thrash bands and one of the most visible. They were one of the first thrash bands to gain national recognition and in 1985 they were the first thrash band to be signed to a major label and were signed by Island Records. They are considered to be one of the grandfathers of thrash along with Metallica and Megadeth though they never quite received the recognition the other two bands have had.

The band began in 1981 in New York with Scott Ian and Danny Liker and singer John Bush. In 1983 Joey Belladonna took over as vocalist for the band and the band became to gain national recognition. But Joey is generally recognized as the original singer of the band since he was the singer as the band was gaining recognition. This debate was brought up on a recent episode of That Metal Show where the topic was what singer did a great job talking over for another singer and Joey was mentioned. But was not added to the list since most fans think of John taking Joeys position several years ago.

In 1989 MTV featured a contest where the band would come to some lucky (or unlucky) fans house and play then trash it. In 1992 the TV show Married With Children featured an episode where Bud won such a contest and featured the band. The band has also been seen WWE Raw, News Radio, Cheers, and Ask Dr. Ruth. They have been a part of numerous video and movie soundtracks. They often work with rap musicians including Public Enemy and have worked with other artists as varied as DimeBag Darrel and Roger Daltry. The band did have one dark spot in their history. After the Anthrax breakouts near 9/11 the band had doubts if they should continue to use their name since the deaths that occurred from the disease, but decided not to let the bad guys win and kept their name.

Scott Ian and Charlie Benante are the only band members to be featured on all their albums. To date the band has released 10 albums, 20 singles, and an EP. And 2 years go the band toured as part of the Big 4 tour which included Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer selling out major venues all over the world. At one point their roadie, John Connelly took over the vocals and he would later join forces with original member Danny Liker and formed Nuclear Assault (another favorite band of mine). From 2007-to 2010 Joey Belladonna left the band, but much to fans happiness, he is back and touring with the band. Some of their most popular songs are Almost the Living, Into the Most Pit, Judge Dredd (and was featured in the movie of the Sylvester Stallone action movie of the same name) and Indians. Many of the bands have also worked on their own solo projects. Today the band consists of members Joey Belladonna, Scott Ian, Frank Bell, Charlie Benante and Rob Caggiano.

The band is always high energy and consistently put on a show for their thongs of fans. They are known to enjoy moshing and run around on the stage even though the members are now all middle aged. The band played fan favorites including the songs I had listed and newer materials. Joey’s voice is still as strong and as powerful as always and the members still sound as they did several decades when I first saw them. The fans still respond to the band and sing right along with their favorite songs. They played for over an hour to the sold out crowd and came back for 3 more songs for their encore. Today it is often a family affairs since they often have their families on the road with them and you can see their kids enjoying watching dad work!

The band does like to encourage their fans to get into the mosh pit. This is an open pit where generally male fans run around and ram into each other like batting rams. Never understood it and it looks really stupid for middle aged guys to do it. Also many clubs do not want mosh pits or at least have an area just for that so other fans don’t get hurt. So as much as I love the band I thought it was very stupid of them to encourage that and body suffering since those caught were promptly escorted out!

I had a great time at the show and loved signing right along with the band. And while Anthrax does have female fans, they are still mainly a male fan base. This show though, we had to watch the band from the side of the club. After Testament my bladder was yelling at me and I had to go to the ladies room. I knew as crowded as it was I would never get back to the front, so we just left and came back and enjoyed the show from the side. Now when I saw them in Charlotte I was right up front and got allot of attention from Joey who at one point even grabbed my camera from me and took my picture after taking plenty of him. Joey should stick with the day job of being a lead singer! But even though he has gotten a little older (and so have I) he is still absolutely gorgeous. This concert also featured the unexpected return of Scott Ian. Some weeks before he had been hospitalized for an infection and was due to be out longer, so fans were glad to see Scott back and in full force. Unfortunately Charlie was not at the show. His mother had become terminally ill and he left the tour for a while to be with here. Testament drummer Greg is on of the hardest working guys out there doing double duty with both Testament and Anthrax! And doing a great job with both.

Website: www.anthrax.com

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