House Of Metal - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Anthrax was the headliner of the first day of House Of Metal, and they were without a doubt the biggest international name the festival had to offer.
As if this wasn’t special enough, this was part of a special tour for Anthrax, an anniversary tour for their Among The Living album. This meant that they were playing the entire album through and through, plus some extras. Now, my personal history with Anthrax doesn’t go this far back, but I imagine it was a wet dream deal for the old-school fans, and I can certainly get behind this type of one-off novelty where we get something different than the usual gig. But how was it?

The first impression is always the visual one, and it felt strange to me that Anthrax didn’t go all in on their concept. They had a special stage build, with platforms and stairs, which you can see in the photos, and it was all very nice, but it was decorated with For All Kings cloths. Why not make Among The Living covers, to make it all come together?
That’s not all there is to it though, and as soon as the intros were over, and the band opened the show with the title track, we could feel that they were all in at least. Frank Bello was an overenthusiastic energizer bunny, running, headbanging, pulling faces, and whatnot. No one could of course be his equal, we knew that, but Joey Belladonna gave him a run for his money. The latter had a good connection with the crowd, he was constantly in motion, and equal to Bello, his energy never seemed to let up.
The rest of the gang took it a little easier, which probably was a good thing, or I believe we would have had utter chaos on our hands, but Scott Ian also had a good connection going with the crowd, and was the primary spokesperson for the band between songs. Sometimes Belladonna would have something to say as well, but it was Ian, well trained from his spoken words tours I suspect, who held the lengthier anecdotes about the band and the album at hand. Among other things, he told us his favourite song back in the day was A Skeleton In The Closet, because “it’s fucking relentless and never lets up”, and in fact, this was still his favourite song to play from the album.
Jonathan Donais moved around a bit as well, and nodded his head, but failed to leave much of an expression. His biggest claim to fame was the solo he delivered, but the most uplifting thing I can say about it, is that at least it wasn’t very long. Sure, it was fast enough to make any speed-freak soil himself, but there was nothing interesting or inviting about it, and given that Anthrax is a band which delivers equally on hardness and humour, this completely missed the point.

“In 1986, we thought America was a very strange place to be. We had an actor as a president! Now, in 2017, 1986 is looking like the good old days.”
- Scott Ian (guitar)

Anthrax, being the main band of the day and all, had the largest crowd I had yet seen gathered in the same place at this festival. Yet, once again, it wasn’t as wild as I would have thought it to be. Not from the start at least.
Sure, shouting and applauding was going well, but it wasn’t, as far as I could see, until One World that a moshpit broke out. Then again, there it really broke out! For a while, and then it was back to some easy headbanging or nodding, and raising your fist at selected points.
Now, it wasn’t bad on the floor. These people, present party included, were obviously having a good time, even if I had guessed it to be a bit wilder. The people sitting down were another story all together. Ian noticed, made hand gestures indicating that it looked like the seated people were asleep, and urged all to get up. There was good and loud response to this, but no one got up.
When it was time for the encore set, shortened from their original tour set since this was a festival, Anthrax opened with Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t, an excellent speedy pick-me-up made for live performances. At this point though, the crowd had pretty much packed it in for the night. I don’t mean that they had left, or at least not very many, but the energy was all gone, and we were now mostly just standing back and taking it easy for the remainder of the set. Madhouse and Antisocial got some nice sing-along moments in, but weren’t enough to lift the whole thing on their own.

So, what can I say? Well, it was nice to see that in some strange way, we managed to see almost the entire show, missing only about half the first song. Yes, I believe I have mentioned that the shows here overlapped each other.
It was also nice to see Anthrax again, playing as well as we expect them to. They’re almost always on point, and are a treat to watch. It would have been good if the crowd lived up to the same level, but hey, we were nearing the end of the evening, so I guess some level of fatigue is to be expected. Good thing we had another Anthrax gig in front of us, as soon as we got home to Denmark again.


Among The Living set:
Mob Rules (Black Sabbath song)
I Can’t Turn You Loose (Blues Brothers song)

Among The Living
Caught In A Mosh
One World
I Am The Law
A Skeleton In The Closet
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Solo (Donais)
A.D.I. / Horror Of It All
Imitation Of Life
Bonus set:
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t
Antisocial (Trust cover)
Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll (Rainbow song)

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