London Astoria

March 14 2003

Maybe it's a sign of old age for me, maybe it's reflection on current music, but I've seen very few gigs of late (last 6 - 8 months) as nothing's grabbed my attention. And that's where I live. It takes a band from my youth to get me excited again, want to go to a gig again, even travel down to london. And the band at the moment is Anthrax. The new album is a bit of ok, nestling in nicely with the new Voivod. Time to see what the old timers can do live.

The place is heaving when I get in, just as Breed 77 finish (as I said, a lot of the current music just does nothing for me whatsoever, a few years ago I thought Breed had potential, tonight, the song and a half I hear just does nothing. They're not as important they're not as current as Anthrax, even though they're more current than Anthrax. You know what I mean) and I've bumped into Mr Pike as I walk through the door - go all the way to London and the first person you see is someone you know, can be strange. As the gear is changed over, you get a little tinge of excitement. Like the old days. Ah.

Finally they come on and start up, the old Blues Brothers intro, ah, I've missed it, and then they hit the stage, all clad in black shirts with a pentagram like from the album cover, with their name and a number on the back - the cynic may say that the uniformity of the image has a touch of the modern band about it (saying no names), but luckily there's no cynic at home today. All that dies, and then Black Dhalia, with it's blast beat and Paul Nocte like vocal contribution from Scott Ian fire things up, and then it's time for old classics. Got The Time, Caught in a Mosh, ah, banging metal, fun with a message. It's a shame that the new guy on guitar doesn't go for the old Spitz solos (maybe he can't do them, maybe the band just don't want to do them), they sound a little different, a little slower it feels and the chug isn't quite the chug it was, modernized and updated perhaps. Safe Home is showing some class, Frank Bello demostrating a fair pair of lungs providing backup vocals, ah, Bello, one of the those old bass heroes of mine. Playing bass and enjoying himself like it should be done, careering round the stage, having fun, always pushing the crowd a little more, and not prepared to play second fiddle to those guitarist people. There's not enough Frank Bellos playing bass these days.

In My World, it's a few weeks since the gig as I write this, did they play NFL, I think they did, hard to remember, Madhouse, Only (SOWN should have been their Black album, cos, well, it was better than the black album), Black Lodge, I'm The Law. You could say all the classics were there but it would be a lie. They have so many classics they were never going to play them all, so I can pick holes in the set - no Potters Field, 1000 points of hate, gung ho, Medusa, AIR, Indians, Among The Living etc etc. Bush has a few technical problems during the set with microphones, and looks to be loosing it at one point, a look of disgust on his voice as the mike doesn't work again. He gives a speech about them just being a band, and that bands don't know much about politics what with all the current climate. There's mention of it being 20 years for the band now, 20 years, sheesh, and how they've been away 5 years (and they were missed, at least by me). Scott Ian gives talk about 20 years as well, likens this to their first London gig, goes on about the first album "when Michael Jackson was still black, Halford was still in the closet - not that there's anything wrong with that, and I still had a fucking perm, do you remember the cover for the first album, that fist of metal" and it's Metal Thrashing Mad. Acknowledging that they were doing the rap metal thing before it was really dragged through the gutter, we get I'm the Man fitted in with Bring Da Noize, and all in all it's a great gig. It probably could've been better, but only because they're a quality band that have a legacy and realistically, they're not going to be able to do everything in the 90mins. Ah, but thems the days. We need more of them again.