Venue: Arcada Theatre – St. Charles, Illinois
Special guests: Sworn Enemy
Date: Friday, March 31, 2017
Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
Special Thank You to David Monnich
I have always been a huge fan of Anthrax since the beginning with them but I haven’t seen them live for over 30 years since their Among The Living album and tour. I was keen to see how they’ve changed in their live show since way back then, so when I heard they were coming to St. Charles’ Arcada Theatre I knew I had to review the show for Horror Patch. I felt the Arcada Theatre was an odd choice of venue for them since they normally play larger venues – for the record, the Arcada Theatre seats 900 people and it was completely sold out on this night.
First up and in support was a band out of New York called Sworn Enemy. They are a hardcore crossover/thrash band. It sounded to me as if they mainly lean more towards thrash now than they might have in their early days.
They were full of aggression and energy from the get-go. The theater wasn’t quite full yet as many people opt to skip opening bands and show up when the headliner hits the stage. But they still got the crowd riled up and into the show. For a band that has been around for 20 years, they have the live act down pat and their level of musicianship is very high.
Kudos to long-time frontman Sal Lococo as he has a high energy, growling vocal style that propelled many in the crowd to thrash where they stood.
Sworn Enemy had a great sound and was extremely heavy. They played for about 50 minutes, which is a little longer than a typical opening act gets. I must say they really shined and played awesome, solid thrash metal to a level that many bands can’t achieve.
4 out of 5 Pentagrams!
Now up was the mighty Anthrax, one of the Big Four of thrash metal and the completely sold out venue erupted into a deafening scream from the crowd. The band entered to the theme from The Blues Brothers I assume because this was the Chicagoland area.
For the next 90 minutes, Anthrax played to the frenzy of the crowd and never have sounded better. Their songs were a sampling of their storied history from their first album all the way up to the current For All Kings songs. There was something for everyone here. If you weren’t a fan of an album they were sure to play a song from something you did like.
Lead singer Joey Belladonna had so much energy on stage I don’t know how does it show after show. He really knew how to keep an audience up and into the show. His vocals were flawless and sounded every bit as good as he does on their albums.
Guitarists Scott Ian and Frank Bello ruled the stage with their playing and antics. They too kept the crowd into the show with their impressive skills and Charlie Benante on the drums was a force of nature leading the group with a thunderous menace.
The set list for the show is as follows:
- Among the Living
Caught in a Mosh
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
I Am the Law
March of the S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death cover)
Blood Eagle Wings
The last time I saw Anthrax live was 30 years ago when they were on the Among The Living tour and I must say they sounded better at this show. I’m sure it’s due to their level of experience now compared to then when they were relatively new. The hit every note and didn’t miss a beat the entire show.
Another comment I would like to make is that I have never in all my years of going to concerts seen a crowd as loud and raucous as the one for this Anthrax show. Everyone was singing to most of the songs – usually louder than Anthrax was playing. The roar of the crowd was indeed deafening and Anthrax was very appreciative of this as they commented on how great the crowd was several times. They truly seemed to be blown away at the level of enthusiasm emitted from the audience on this night.
To wrap things up here, Anthrax showed why they are true giants of heavy metal here and put on a show better than almost any other. Their almost 40-year career worth of experience really shines when these guys hit the stage. You can tell they wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than doing what they love and getting the same love back from the crowd. Although no one is perfect, the only detraction I should comment on is they only played for 90 minutes and with the cost of a ticket, I expected them to play longer and give the audience their money worth, but that’s just me, I guess I’m too old school these days.
Final word: If Anthrax is anywhere near where you live, don’t miss an opportunity to see their show, you won’t regret it!
4 1/2 out of 5 Pentagrams!
*All images in slideshows copyright by Michael Juvinall