TVD Live Shots: Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Exodus at City National Grove, 2/19

The OGs of thrash metal just took it to a new level on Sunday night at City National Grove in Anaheim. With support from Black Label Society and Exodus, Anthrax destroyed their 12-song set in front of another sold-out crowd for what arguably may have been their best live performance in years. Scott, Charlie, Frank, Joey, and Jon put on a clinic for Anthrax faithful, and by doing so reaffirmed their rightful spot atop the altar of metal.

I love myself a solid metal show. While there are many to choose from, few are able to deliver live in ways that leave fans literally unconscious after a full night of moshing. On Sunday night, Anthrax rolled into town in support of their 40th Anniversary Tour and did just that in front of a capacity crowd. Joined by the legendary Black Label Society and Exodus, the three bands tag teamed to provide a killer night of metal mayhem that won’t soon be forgotten.

First on the docket we’re none other than the Bay Area’s very own, Exodus. While drummer Tom Hunting is the only original member of the band (circa 1979), there is no dropoff in quality when surrounded by metal icons: guitarist Gary Holt, vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza, bassist Jack Gibson, and guitarist Lee Altus. These legends were straight fire, showcasing their ballistic wares with an abbreviated set including “Blood In, Blood Out,” “The Toxic Waltz,” and my favorite, “Strike of the Beast.” Taking a quick breather after this set, I was crushed by the power of Exodus and still to this moment have a ringing in my ears that won’t go away.

Next up was Black Label Society. While I’ve been fortunate to see them live on many an occasion, Zakk Wylde and Company took it to a new level on Sunday night in front of a hometown crowd. Opening with “Funeral Bell,” the band—John DeServio on bass, Dario Lorina on guitar, and Jeff Fabb on drums—was 100% dialed in and brought their “A” game to the entire 13-song set. While die-hards believed “Suicide Messiah” and “Still Born” were the best BLS tracks of the night, mine was once again, “In This River.” That song is deep, spiritual, and speaks to me on so many levels—so good. Regardless of one’s BLS proclivity, this show was spectacular and one I won’t soon forget. S.D.M.F.

And now on to the main attraction, the one, the only Anthrax. I started following this band when I was just a teen, and to this day believe they are one of the most unique and talented metal bands on the planet. The band—Scott Ian on guitar, Charlie Benante on drums, Frank Bello on bass, Joey Belladonna on vocals, and Jon Donais on guitar—were 100% on point Sunday with killer vocals, incredible musicianship, and a one-of-a-kind stage presence that is second to none. Anthrax opened with “Among the Living,” closed with “Indians,” and in between set the Grove ablaze with 10-more classics that didn’t disappoint even the pickiest of fans. When the dust settled, it was once again clear to me—and to the thousands of others in attendance—how badass this band is. Anthrax is truly one of a kind and simply the best to ever do it—period.




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