Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
Radius Chicago - Sunday - January 29, 2023
Have to say, even on a chilly Sunday night with two NFL Conference Title games being played, that didn't stop the devoted fans of Anthrax to line up nice and early at the front doors of Radius. Saw a lot of Black Label Society jackets as well.
Two bands that know to bring fun to a party, let alone openers Exodus.
A one/ two/ three punch of wallop to get the blood going, that's for sure.
And your fair share of bodysurfers throughout the night, for all three bands.
Not that that should go unnoticed- especially a girl in a Gumby costume from head to toe, even down to the green gloves, and she body surfed the night away to all three bands.
Yep- bodysurfers of all shapes and sizes.
And also the mosh throughout, especially for Anthrax.
At one point two different moshes occurred- the established in real estate mosh, around 20 to 30 yards back from the stage, and then another mosh about three rows deep form the stage, depending on the volatility of whichever song, which in my opinion, are too many to count.
That setlist, was a setlist for the diehards, 12 up the ante songs of punishing might and punishing fury.
Such a devoted fanbase, the Anthrax clan.
They even shout during the the mini doc before the band goes on, lights down, hearing the faithful explain why they dig Anthrax so much- such as Joe Duplantier of Gojira, followed by Lady Gaga, Tom Morello, Brian Posehn, or how about Corey Taylor chiming in, saying in excitement- "what the fuck is this?" - as in I want more! Or Gene Simmons making it known that you better not have Anthrax open up for you- they'll blow you off the stage. Or Rick Nielsen, equally in awe of the crowd as to the band, the heavy mosh and push and pull of excitement at what's going on the main floor. Or Robert Trujillo, happy to chat about Anthrax, while grinning big from ear to ear.
Not that I want to give away anything, but I'm grinning ear to ear in writing this, feeling good at the who's who of the music scene, all genres of music, stating their enduring love of all things Anthrax. It goes on, with brief 5 to 6 second snippets of Anthrax blazing away live, then back guys like Chuck D, Vernon Reid, Phil Anselmo, Dave Mustaine, Rob Zombie, Dee Snider John 5, Kerry King, and even John Carpenter.
How cool is that? John Carpenter digging Anthrax.
Was watching all this side stage, curtain up and the band prepping before curtain goes down. And the boys in Anthrax really amping each other up, with fist bumps, some jumping jacks, and of course a few jovial laughs.
This says lots too, in my opinion, even before they play a single note.
They still dig each other, this tight knit band from New York City. They still have each other's backs. They still don't know the term "dial it in".
They still lead by example- pistons at the drag race with a trail blaze of lit up fuel and scorch marks on the stage to prove they played there (name whichever venue).
The only hiccup is Charlie Benante, poor guy, still I assume battling off and on his carpal tunnel syndrome, and harsh repetitive drumming like the kind he plays can take a toll on nerves and physical movement on hands and wrists.
Hope things get better for him, through treatments and such.
Derek Roddy fit in nicely behind the kit, smiling in assurance to the roadies stage left, giving thumbs up throughout the night.
Outside of that- no complaints whatsoever.
This is a show folks.
Opening to heavy hitters - "Among the Living", into "Caught in a Mosh", into "Madhouse".
It's like they reverse the script intentionally, playing the heavy hitters right off the bat, pushing way beyond eleven, seeing themselves urging each other on, how far can you go, all the while I've got your back sorta vibe.
And things didn't let up- "Metal Thrashing Mad", "Keep It in the Family", all the way to the end with "Bring the Noise", a Public Enemy cover, and closing mightily to "Indians".
So yes, 40 years in , and tonight is a night to celebrate, to celebrate the thrash kings of New York, in all their goofball glory, with showmanship front and center, all done with a nod and a wink.
Damn if these guys just don't know how to let up, god bless 'em, whittling through anthem after anthem after anthem, showing yet again how they ascend to the peak of the thrash community, on their terms- no one else's. Yes- I have no problem stating one more time that these guys are the fun loving titans of metal, successful in their own own niche, that being the niche of metal thrashing magic, where from recording to live performance- all of it damn well matters.
And the same goes for Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society, who knows a thing or two about performance, especially metal performance.
He's a Mack Truck of force and might, intimidating as all get out- down to the quilt he wears, the boots he has on, and the wounds of whatever clearly visible on his lower left leg, maybe from barbells and weights that crash-landed from whatever- who knows.
Clearly nothing stops this guy- just patch him up- ready to go.
Zakk brings the heat throughout his set as well, with "Funeral Bell', into "The Beginning...At Last", into "Destroy and Conquer". Let's just say he destroyed- and conquered. Some 13 songs total, surrounded by a band that keeps up the might equal to Zakk, in John DeServio, Dario Lorina and Jeff Fabb. This band fits the bill nice and neatly, clearly making the room at Radius a sweaty mess even before Anthrax takes the stage. So refreshing to hear all the stomping numbers from Zakk and his band, the fans reciprocating in kind throughout their set.
Same goes for the mighty Exodus, opening to the refrain from Queen in "We Will Rock You", and ending with the refrain from Queen with "We Are the Champions". Some 9 songs total, opening with the punishing "The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)", and the heavy hitter "A Lesson in Violence", with the guttural yowl from Steve Souza on vocals- who like Joey Belladonna of Anthrax- hasn't skipped a beat. All lung power with Steve is in use- nothing wasted. Same goes for master punisher Gary Holt, holding his own stage left, brandishing fireworks at a moments notice guitar slinger wise, relishing in still performing to the present day, not looking back, looking forward.
So there you have it- uppercuts, followed by sidewinders, and ending with haymakers. All equally punishing when struck in the right place, cranium rattling, but all well and good and satisfying from opening note to the last note.
Daamn that was fun, a great way to start off a new year with music music music.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Anthrax, Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society, Exodus, JBTV Music Television, Bobby Talamine, Fiza Javid