Anthrax & Testament: Summit Music Hall 10.19.11

The classic Anthrax line-up was Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante and Dan Spitz, and with the exception of Sptiz (replaced by Rob Caggiano), this is the line-up that performed at Summit Music Hall last night. The Anthrax we grew up with, performing the songs we grew up on. They might have kicked things off with a few cuts from this year’s Worship Music, but it wasn’t long before we were “Caught in a Mosh” in a “Madhouse”. Belladonna didn’t have to convince us with “I’m Alive”, but recent tracks like that only reinforce how strong this line-up still is. Never a band to cave to the latest fashion or trend (we can all forgive the rap-metal missteps of the late 80’s, right?), the new material sounds like Anthrax and it stacks up against their classic material. Celebrating 30 years in rock ‘n roll, Belladonna is the only member of the band that looks his age (51), but he still has the energy of those half that number. Scott Ian, on the other hand, has found a way to stop time — dude seriously looks the same as he did when I saw the John Bush-fronted Anthrax back in ’95. This timelessness had a way of rubbing off on this Gen X crowd. Like zombies under the control of Bello’s bass, we walked fearlessly into the pit, only to get slammed back into the waking world in time for “Indians”. “Die for the Indians!” I can’t remember the last time I was at a show where the drums were so loud they literally created a lump in my throat. Benante demanded your attention! There would be no standing still while he was up there working his ass off!

The set was a good mixture of Worship Music and Among The Living, but “Antisocial” from State of Euphoria — “remember, the yellow one?” — was a real highlight of my night. They wrapped it up with the only John Bush song, “Only”, before leaving the stage to setup the encore. An extensive encore that ended with “I Am The Law”, proving once again that sticking with what you know and what you love, no matter how unpopular or uncool it may become, really does pay off. Last night Anthrax brought fans old and new out in sweaty masses to help them celebrate 30 years as a band — this morning Metallica started streaming an hour of absolute garbage they recorded with Lou Reed. Makes you think…

Speaking of sticking with what you know, Testament have also been around for almost 30 years, and they are only a drummer short of their classic line-up. Also pushing 50 years old, these veterans of the grind might have more stamina than Anthrax and Metallica put together. They don’t get to play stadiums — they arn’t part of the Big 4.  they don’t have the clout those bands do — yet here they are, killing it night after night with material that never sounds dated. Another man that wears the ‘timeless’ label well, the ultimate air guitarist, Chuck Billy, led the crowd and conducted the pit with over an hour’s worth of Testament classics. Leaning heavily on The New Order and The Formation of Damnation, Billy promised to be back soon with new material. Not that anyone was disappointed with the old stuff. “Into The Pit”, “Over The Wall”, “D.N.R.”, “The New Order”, “Souls of Black”…all represented in true Testament fashion. This might have been the only opening act I’ve seen that was actually louder than the headliner.

Unfortunately we missed Death Angel. We weren’t the only ones. Their quick set was over before everyone was able to get into the venue. The doors were supposed to be opened at 7pm, but come 8:15pm there was still quite a line wrapped around the venue.

Anthrax Setlist:
Earth on Hell
Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
Caught in a Mosh
I’m Alive
The Devil You Know
Hymn 1
In the End

Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Metal Thrashing Mad
I Am The Law

Testament Setlist:
The Preacher
The New Order
The Persecuted Won’t Forget
Envy Life
Over the Wall
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Electric Crown
Henchmen Ride
More Than Meets the Eye

D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch