It isn’t often that top tier metal acts playAsheville, but the Peel’s crowded venue was a strong indicator that the genre is well and alive in a town better known for blue grass and jam music. Opening for Anthrax were Death Angel and Testament. The show was what you’d expect; loud, aggressive, and very heavy.
Anthrax was formed inNew York30 years ago and they have put out 10 studio albums. In it’s current lineup there is founder and guitarist Scott Ian, perhaps the bands best known member, seen often as a talking head for metal documentaries such as “Lemmy” and “Anvil! The Story of Anvil.”
After an almost twenty year reprieve (aside from a couple of touring stints) Joey Belladonna is back as their lead singer. Considered as part of the classic lineup there is drummer Charlie Benante and bassist Frank Bello. Rob Caggiano who first joined Anthrax in 2001 is the band’s lead guitarist.
I missed opener Death Angel but heard from others that they were great.
Testament; another beloved thrash metal band played to the enthusiastic crowd for over an hour. They’ve also gone through several lineup changes, but original member’s bassist Greg Christian and guitarist Alex Skolnick remain. I encourage fans to check out Skolnick’s blog http://skolnotes.blogspot.com/ for some interesting posts on food, tour experiences, and of course guitar playing.
At the Monday night show Testament drummer Gene Hoglan worked double duty filling in for Charlie Benante on drums. Charlie is currently on hiatus so he can attend to his terminally ill mother.
Fans were happy to see Scott Ian back up on stage after he had had to miss some shows due to a bad viral infection. Scott showed no signs of having been sick and hospitalized only a couple of days prior. He was energetic throughout the show and addressed the crowd several times, encouraging them to rock hard.
And the audience was definitely rocking hard. Everyone was having a great time with a couple of small mosh pits opening up here and there and quite a bit of crowd surfing. Anthrax played many fan favorites such as “Caught in a Mosh,” “I am the Law,” and the Joe Jackson cover “Got the Time.”
The crowd banged their heads, sang along, and cheered throughout the show. There was no doubt that the metal genre is greatly loved and appreciated in the area. Here’s to hoping that metal artists continue to come to town and that fans continue to support this sometimes underappreciated genre of music.