ANTHRAX – 30 Year Infection: Philadelphians Among The Living
April 8, 2017, a year ago
Getting wise in old age, as these legacy acts take younger bands (not just their contemporaries) out on the road, luring a crowd that predominately wasn't even born when Anthrax began! Quite the dichotomy in the crowd, young kids pushed up against the barricade, many just getting their initial concert experience, while the gray-haired veterans arrived late, little interest in the openers, just wanting to reconnect with THEIR youth, witnessing Scott Ian & Co. of the Big 4 (and maybe the Top 10 global thrashers, apart from Death Angel) Anthrax give the best (only?) live PERFORMANCE. Registering in ergs, horsepower or whatever units work can be measured in), Scott Ian alone (with his repetitive circular paths) generates more energy than the rest of the youngsters on this bill, to say nothing of the frenetic bassist Frank Bello and frontman Joey Belladonna, the singer wearing a t-shirt hawking the band's new Wardance beer.
Strange spring night, coming into the Electric Factory in shorts, but needing a jacket by the time we left. The opening old school trio: "Among The Living", "Caught In A Mosh" and "Madhouse" were met with a frenzy of activity, both sides of the barricade. Purple and white lights swept the stage. Ian seemed much more animated than usual (check out the shouts and facial expressions in the photo gallery), venturing center stage and up the slanted gangplank (one either side of the stage) to visit drummer Charlie Benante. Bello used these as makeshift ramps for the apparently invisible skateboard from which he continuously launched himself. When not flinging his body around precariously, the bassist often had one foot perched upon the wedge monitors at the stage front.
The rest of the all too short (75 minutes, twelve song) set seemingly alternated between classic and newer material. The guitarist gave his respects to the balcony (over age bar), before strobe flashing "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" (have there ever been more apostrophes in one song title?), which gave way to the Belladonna introduced, and crowd sung, "I Am The Law". 'Breathing Lightning" was the first of three For All Kings tracks peppered through the second half of the set, along with "Evil Twin" and moody, purple and magenta lit proper set closer "Blood Eagle Wings", which gives Ian a brief chance to live out his ‘70s stadium rock god fantasy (alone onstage, start & finish, mildly strumming the guitar).
"N.F.L." sees Belladonna offer the first verse a cappella, before the band joins him onstage and blinding green lights flood the stage. As the riffing intensifies, pulses of white lights streak across the stage, like wayward tracer fire. Never a huge fan of "Antisocial", it's almost requisite to start the encore, begun with Bello and Ian facing Benante, back to the crowd. Eventually they all line up, four across the front. Walking like a hunchback chimp, Belladonna (Anthrax toque pulled down to the bridge of his nose) appeared from the shadows as multi-directional spotlights shone on Benante, who kicks off evening ending "Indians". The singer succeeded in getting a circle pit going, as four plumbs of smoke shot up behind the band.
Sure a few kids learned something tonight, like you're never too old to rock and Dad's music might just kick your ass!