Last night, as the titans of groove metal Lamb Of God and thrash legends Anthrax wrapped up their recent tour at The Hollywood Palladium, the walls of the venue, which packs about 4000 people, witnessed something outrageously amazing. If you happened to be anywhere near Sunset Boulevard yesterday, you probably were not questioning yourself about the category of the show the crowds were lined up for – most of the fans were males between the ages of 20 and 45. So much for heavy metal music becoming outdated. When you see primarily a grey-haired crowd in front of the venue, then you definitely know the band is probably from before your time, but that’s never the case when it comes to Anthrax, or Lamb Of God, for that matter.
Upon walking into the venue and going through a thorough security check (it is a heavy metal show after all) you realize that this much testosterone might be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are a female. However, everyone listens and reacts to this genre of music differently. And while majority of the younger crowd was headed to the general admission floor to engage into the typical heavy metal concert activity – moshing, you could certainly see a few females going up to the balcony where the action was not going to be too damaging.
By the time Anthrax finally took the stage, the audience had already been pumped up and ready to mosh – two opening bands, Powertrip and Deafheaven, no less impressive then the main acts, took care of getting the audience prepared. Shortly after 9 p.m. the lights dimmed down and as the familiar intro blasted from the speakers and Charlie Benante took his seat behind the massive Tama drum kit, the ecstatic screams of the crowd welcomed the rest of the band to the staged.
If you have never been to an Anthrax show, then you probably don’t know that this band doesn’t take its time to build up the heat among the audience. They just get straight to the point – moshing, crowdsurfing, and flying objects are all observed at the very first notes of the first song. It was no different last night. Kicking off the show with “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” and “Caught In A Mosh” Anthrax made sure that anyone on the floor not participating in moshing activities were involved – voluntarily or not, but that was the requirement. Those dedicated Anthrax fans, who followed the band through the years, were, without doubt, thrilled to hear tunes like “Antisocial” or “Got The Time.” The newer material, however, fit just right in; “Evil Twin” and “Breathing Lightning” are the proof that nothing has changed – Anthrax, even after a few decades of “thrashing” the scene, is still going strong. Of course, a nice sentimental touch – a tribute to late Ronnie James Dio and Panera’s Dimebag Darrell – was another reminder for everyone in attendance why we were still doing it. Wrapping up the riveting performance with all-time favorite “Indians”, the band took a bow and thanked the fans.
Surely, hundreds of sweaty fans poured back into the lobby to take a breather before another set of moshing. Now, Lamb Of God can not be simply described as a heavy metal band. It has become an animal of a different size, shape, and class. It’s probably safe to say that Lamb Of God is no longer considered just a member of New Wave of American Heavy Metal. The band has significantly influenced a huge number of newer metal acts; it is also extremely difficult to repeat what LoG is doing. The sense of groove and excitement they project in each live performance is impossible to imitate.
The performance started off with “Desolation” followed by the new material “512” and “Still Echoes.” A little throwback is always bound to happen when the main act is of this caliber, so when Randy Blythe invites you to ‘walk with him in hell’, you don’t refuse this offer. And it certainly was a worthy walk.
Halfway through the set, one probably couldn’t help but think if those crystal chandeliers, decorating the ceiling of the Palladium, were going to hold or were going to come down – the walls of venue kept on rumbling as the mosh pit on the general admission floor grew. Whoever you were: young or old, big or small, blind or crippled, you were sucked into a colossal action happening on the floor.
Blythe, in his undeniable stage presence, once more proved that screaming could sound extremely appealing. The ranges his voice is capable of achieving is perhaps a dream for many new hardcore/ metal singers. The amount of emotion he expresses with each word is almost too much. But if that’s what it takes to make someone actually feel, then the mission is truly accomplished.
In the end, it’d be a shame to walk out off Anthrax/LoG show without experiencing any pain in your neck or other part of your body from all the headbanging or crowdsurfing you did last night at The Hollywood Palladium. And if you didn’t engage in any of those activities, you can still safely say that getting ‘caught in a mosh’ while ‘walking in hell’ was definitely one of the most memorable metal events of the season.