Anthrax, the world famous classic rock thrasher band that took over the 1980s have returned to Manchester for their 40th anniversary tour. (Well, 41st Anniversary technically) You can’t walk into Manchester Academy, without seeing a battle jacket. The doors opened at 7pm and the queue for entry already went down towards The Manchester Museum.
To kick off the show were Sworn Enemy from New York. A cross over trash band who had are weirdly groove driven and even though their set began fifteen minutes after the doors opened, they were worth turning up early for. The only downside to their set, was that many of the crowd were still waiting outside in the queue to get into the venue, so half of the room was still empty.
Next were Municipal Waste. Another crossover thrash act, who honestly I had never heard off before until this night. And oh my god, they had the mix of relentless old school trash but they were insanely fun to watch and be a part of. The crowd at this point had full energy thanks to the intro from Sworn Enemy, and the crowd was going bat shit crazy to the incredible trash metal tracks. They are a fist pumping, horns raising band that are without a doubt a must see for all of you. They’re on my recommended list for sure.
Finally it’s Anthrax’s time to take to the stage, a white sheet is put up in front of the barrier displaying the band’s logo. The lights go down and the logo disappears before a compilation video of the world’s greatest rock legends are displayed, showing their love and admiration for Anthrax and their 40 years in the industry. Legends including, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash and many, many more.
It might have been too long of an intro video but personally I loved every second it made me feel all warm inside seeing the appreciation that people have for this band, however the entire crowd cheered at every famous face that graced the sheet, before they threw themselves into an insane 14 track set list, that for any Anthrax fan was pretty much perfect. The biggest surprise of the set was that they included Only from the Sound of White Noise album. This entire show had so many incredible highlights such as the entire room screaming “ONLY” as if their lives depended on it, but the insane circle pits throughout the show, that sent some people flying. (but of course the metal heads help everyone back up).
Throughout the night, chugging 80’s riff, combined with rasping licks makes the crowds fists rise into the air and all you see is fists, and a sea of long hair all over the place going nuts. Joey Belladonna stretches his vocal chords with amazing effect and ease.
As soon as the cry of Wardance began, a vast majority of the crowd were thrown deep into an insane moshpit that covered most of Manchester Academy’s floor. As someone who loves going into moshpits, and can’t help throwing themselves in there, the temptation was extremely real.
This is 41 years of Anthrax, and you wouldn’t think anything has changed from then to now. Joey has more energy than most musicians in their 20s, honestly the man has a stage presence like no other. Scott still slays it on guitar and can give anyone a run for their money. Nothing can stop this band, Antisocial andI Am The Law are thrown into the mix and the crowd are going in sane. “This is about a judge, who’s also the jury, and the executioner” Manchester Academy jump into the mix screaming “I AM THE LAW” It’s another feeling to see the many different generations in the room tonight, and everyone comes together as one because metal heads are some of the nicest and soundest people on the planet, and seeing this crowd come together the way they do is a feeling like no other.
It’s time for the 2011 release “Worship Music” which offers the next track In the End the room is sent into darkness, and the bells begin and the tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell and Ronnie James Dio has started. The crowd nod in unison, its dark its deep and its fitting. A beautiful and powerful tribute to a couple of rock legends. Nothing could have suited this better.
Anthrax completed their night with Got The Time. I was in the pit and I can say that the band was loud and insane, but oh my god did the crowd give them a run for their money. Everyone without a doubt left Manchester Academy with sore throats, aching joints and the worst muscle pain known to man, but it would cement an insane night that no one in that room will ever forget.
As the band leave the stage, a backing track of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock n’ Roll is played; to end what is an incredible night at Manchester Academy. Anthrax are inspirations to many, many bands across the globe, and many of those bands have played in this venue before and so many will afterwards.
For me especially, someone who is 24 years old and was raised on music like this, this is an incredible band to finally tick off my bucket list of bands to see live.
Among the Living
Caught in a Mosh
Metal Thrashing Mad
Keep It in the Family
I Am the Law
In the End
Bring the Noise
Got the Time
Words & images: Lauren Allard