You can't stand still at an Anthrax show. It's not that it isn't allowed; it's that it isn't possible. The floor shakes, your ears and chest pound in rhythm with the bass and percussion, and you're inevitably swept up into the heavy, fast-paced music as your head spins.
Depending on your state of mind, it can be one of the greatest feelings you've ever had, or it can be both nauseating and overwhelming. Aftermath fell into the former category, probably because we've been to enough shows that not much surprises us anymore, but by the end of the night, a number of fans had had to excuse themselves, first to the restroom then to their cars and all the way back home.
We, meanwhile, stood transfixed near the back of the crowd, watching as Anthrax and Testament drew the crowd into a frenzy for a few hours.
From the mosh pit in the front to the head bangers in the back, everyone in attendance seemed to have gotten what they came for: METAL!
At 10 p.m. Sunday night at Warehouse Live, the crowd began to chant, "Anthrax! Anthrax!" They screamed as the stagehands set up the drum kit, tuned the band's guitars and tweaked the volume levels of the microphone. Ten minutes later, once the volume was loud enough to shatter glass, Anthrax were onstage.
Thirty years and 10 albums later, they've still got it.
Antrhax have had quite the tumultuous few years, recording an entire album only to part ways with their lead singer, which forced them to find a new (errr... former) lead singer with whom they rerecorded some songs, rewrote others and even came up with a few from scratch.
With all that personal drama, it's surprising how good (and political, for that matter) the finished product turned out to be. But Anthrax knew their fans had been patient, which is why their first single "Fight 'Em Til You Can't" was available for a free download on the band's web site. And the band didn't disappoint with the rest of the album either, which has received positive critical reception. The fans Sunday night loved every minute of it, surfing above the heads of one another in an attempt to get closer to the rock stars onstage.
Testament, who performed just before Anthrax, put on a solid show as well. An interesting fact about them: The five-piece, which has been around since 1983, replaced its original lead singer in 1986 before recording and releasing their debut album. Given the band's success, we're guessing the original vocalist might have a few regrets.
While it wasn't quite as impressive as Anthrex's headlining set, fans seemed more than content with Testament's throwback to the '80s, when their music was best received. And though we weren't wearing a costume ourselves, we walked in pretending not to be fans of metal, and the rushing pace of these two acts warmed our hearts into a passionate appreciation of the genre.
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Happy Halloween, Houston.
Personal Bias: Our ear canals are all but destroyed already, so why not let them go out with a bang?
Overheard in the Crowd: "I lost my sandal in the pit! Don't judge me!"
Random Notebook Dump: For whatever reason, having a photo pass for Anthrax didn't mean that we could take photos of Testament. A few other photographers who had photo passes for Testament said they couldn't take photos of Anthrax. Weird, right? Anyway, that's why we don't have any photos of Testament. Sorry about that.