Anthrax - Bristol O2 Academy 11.02.17

John Pankhurst

 

Tonight the O2 Academy is sold out (2500) and we are all here to see New York’s finest sons perform “Among The Living” in its entirety. I saw them 5 times on the original “Among The Living” tour in ’87; I even managed to get my nose broken while stage diving at the Sheffield gig, so when these shows were announced, to say I was excited was a bit of an understatement, I think it’s fair to say that I love this band.

 

Opening with “A.I.R.” and “Madhouse”, both from “Spreading The Disease”, they were straight into their trademark furious riffs and the crowd went nuts. They smash their way through “Evil Twin”, from 2016’s “For All Kings”, and then hurtle headlong back to 1985 for “Medusa”. The band are looking like they are loving this tonight as they pause for breath after that frantic opening. Next up is the slower, brooding “Blood Eagle Wings”, a massive song live and sure to be a live favourite for many years to come. Then it’s time for some zombie killing as “Fight ‘Em ‘Till You Can’t” assaults the senses. The first part of the show comes to an end with “Be All, End All” and the brilliant “Breathing Lightning”, perfectly highlighting that Anthrax old and new can live harmoniously together.

 

A brief interlude follows to allow for the stage to be slightly rearranged and then the lights go out.

 

The familiar sound of “I Can’t Turn You Loose” fills the air and then that massive riff to “Among The Living” kicks in. Holy crap, I’m 18 again. “Caught In A Mosh” is next up and those on the floor certainly are, it’s insane with bodies getting dragged out left, right and centre. “I Am The Law” stomps all over everyone with its enormous chugging riff and chorus, while “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” and “A Skeleton In The Closet” are effortlessly dispatched to the delight of the assembled throng. “Indians”, a staple of any Anthrax show, allows the floor to create another huge pit ready for Scott Ian’s mid song battle cry of “War Dance!”. “One World” closely follows and then gives way to a brief spotlight solo from new guitarist Jon Donais which flows seamlessly into “A.D.I. / Horror Of It All” and then “Imitation Of Life”, a song which Scott states pretty much summed up mid 80’s Anthrax. The band wrap up the night with a rousing, all be it, shortened rendition of “Antisocial” and it’s all over.

 

“Among The Living” is 30 years old but this is an album that has more than stood the test of time. It’s instantly recognisable riffs are quite simply enormous live and they have not lost any of their intensity and ferocity over the years. Anthrax may be nearly 40 years into their career but they still put on a fantastic show and produce great songs and they remain as relevant and as popular as ever. 

 

 

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