Down Leads a Southern-Metal Feast at Warehouse Live
Phil Anselmo (right) looked a little fatigued Sunday, but his bandmates and Down and a supportive crowd put him over the hump.
Photos by Violeta Alvarez
Down, Orange Goblin, Marzi Montazeri Warehouse Live December 21, 2014
Regardless of age, sometimes fatigue can simply get you. It appeared to take hold of Phil Anselmo Sunday night, when his sludge-metal supergroup Down closed out the three-day End of the World Fest III at Warehouse Live. Band members from other Southern-metal groups Eyehategod, Honky, Corrosion of Conformity, Pantera and Crowbar plowed through one dozen songs from Down's catalog lasting nearly two hours.
Before "Eyes of the South" got into a full groove, Anselmo walked to the side of the stage where a large group of people were standing and gave Marzi Montazeri, Houston favorite and his bandmate from the Illegals, a huge hug.
Fatigue notwithstanding, Anselmo still had the crowd stoked.
Anselmo had a different energy from almost exactly a year earlier than the start of the tour with his other project the Illegals. He was not lethargic, but needed more assistance from the crowd and was easily distracted between songs. However, the supporting band members lifted the performance to a quality show and gave fans what they wanted. Pepper Kennan's guitar solos are crisp and blasted the eardrums of the metalheads packed the venue, and replacement guitarist Bobby Landgraf performed as if he had been a founding member of the group, not one who had just taken over Kurt Windstein's role several months ago.
Judging by the crowd's chanting the lyrics in unison, "Witchtripper" is easily the favorite of Down's newest material. Soon after, Anselmo dedicated the song "Lifer" to late former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, as the song's guitar crunching really got the fans churning.
When the crew finished their regular set, the older audience initially gave a weak call for an encore, but eventually surged and began clapping and screaming in unison for Down's return. After returning to the stage but before Down started in again, Anselmo had the crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to bassist Patrick Brudders. Then Jimmy "Bower Power" came out from behind his drum kit and started chanting, "Let's get weird! Let's get weird! Let's get weird!" as Anselmo hopped up on the drum riser and started beating the drums for a bit.
What pure Southern-metal power looks like.
"Stone the Crow" was the by far the fan favorite of the night, as the crowd performed most of the singalong for the worn-out vocalist. Anselmo initially had to the start the song over after muffing up the first verse.
But "Bury Me In Smoke," the final song of the show, was insanely epic. The crowd screamed in unison beforehand, and the crew onstage jammed for at least 25 minutes. Pure mayhem began as members from all of Sunday's bands took turns playing together, celebrating the tour's last stop with huge smiles and laughter by hugging each other and sharing drinks and smokes onstage.
Overall, the fans seemed to be more into watching the band perform than to be slamming into each other in a huge sweaty mosh pit. Every person in the venue appeared to thoroughly enjoy the performance.
Story continues on the next page.
Houston shredder Marzi Montazeri received a hero's welcome during his opening set.
Personal Bias: I've was first introduced to Down by Mr. Plow bassist Greg Green in 2001. They've been on my playlist since that day.
So, How About the Openers? Hometown favorite Marzi Montazeri opened the show with his band Heavy as Texas. Houston metal fans showed their appreciated to Montazeri by arriving early and cheering him on while he shredded through his short set. Grindcore Aussies King Parrot came out in full force by calling people out wearing Pantera and Corrosion of Conformity shirts to quit standing around and prove themselves by getting in the pit. Lead singer Matt Young ventured out to the middle of the floor and instigated a massive mosh pit taking up nearly a quarter of the warehouse floor.
Orange Goblin's Ben Ward is 6'5" and easily the tallest stage performer I've ever seen, reminiscent of the Hound from Game of Thrones; his band's clean guitar riffs and wicked bass lines could be compared to Black Sabbath any day. It could just be "bandspeak," but both opening groups stated that Houston was the best stop of the tour.
The Crowd: Slightly older and most everyone in black, except for a couple a few in blue plaid. Tons of people in Anselmo-related shirts - Mostly Down sprinkled with Housecore Productions, Pantera, the Illegals and his other bandmates' gear.
Overheard In the Crowd: "At least this time I kept my bra and panties on this time" -- I have no idea what the context of this statement was.
All hail Southern sludge.
DOWN SET LIST
Eyes of the South We Knew Him Well Witchtripper Lifer Hail the Leaf Pillars of Eternity Ghosts Along the Mississippi Suffer Temptations Wings Conjure Stone the Crow Bury Me in Smoke
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