When I glanced at the temperature in NYC today and found it to be about zero degrees according to the “real feel” aspect, I had determined that it would probably be a better idea to spend it inside and catch up on the CD and DVD releases as opposed to going anywhere out about the town. Of course tonight would also be the night of the Red Bull Snow Scraper event where a number of top ranked snowboarders would be competing, and the event would be closed out by the legendary Metal sounds of our city’s own Anthrax. Since I had braved the elements only a couple of evening’s previous to this to go to see The Answer at another venue, I felt that I could easily handle this nights adventures as well. That night found the city being hit with a pretty decent snowstorm and I felt that if I could get to that show then I could not let the mere brutal cold air be responsible for stopping me from checking out Anthrax. The night would also feature performances from Valient Thorr and Black Gold and sadly by the time I got down there the Valient guys had already finished their set and Black Gold was closing up on their own. I had about an hour to kill so I looked around the event and really loved the set up they did. They had a giant structure which seemed to be about ten stories high and this is where the heavy competing was to take place. It really seemed as though the fans of the sport were getting a great experience from this free event that was hosted by the popular energy drink makers. My goal was the music and while I would have enjoyed seeing Valient, I had to say that Black Gold was not doing it for me. I didn’t like what I was hearing and their sound came off as out of place between what I knew Valient was all about and what I was full aware of what Anthrax would do. Lucky the time grew close for the brief set of the legendary thrashers as 9:00pm was closing in on my watch.
Anthrax: Sadly, the 9pm start time came and went as the snowboarding continued to run and one couldn’t fault that since this was the basis for the event, but it was now even colder than I expected it to be. The event was down at the East River Park, and that’s right off of the river my friends so you got the extra bonus of wind blowing from down there as well. Hundreds of Metal fans and me waited with anticipation until just around 10pm when Anthrax finally hit the stage to the crushing riffs of “What Doesn’t Die”. The song was originally sung by John Bush so I was eager to hear how the bands newest front man Dan Nelson was going to do it. I gave him props as he delivered the goods and was getting everyone who was in the crowd into it. The band was very clearly freezing as well as we could see their breath during the tune and a couple of them were dressed warmer than the others. Guitarist Scott Ian was wisely bundled up and had a wool hat on while Nelson was sporting a N.Y. Rangers jersey. I felt that this was a nice homage to the team who had just retired the number of one of their greats the other night as Adam Graves had his own jersey lifted to the rafters of the hallowed arena.
Nelson continued the charge for the frozen fans as he led the band into “Madhouse” and this one had a lot of people singing along for the chorus. With the second number being one of the bands original staples, I was finding myself pleased with their choice of singer as he was proving to bring a lot to the table and capable of handing both the Belladonna and Bush years combined. I had to say that I almost didn’t realize that the guitarist was Rob Caggiano up there because the guitarist has let his hair and beard grow so much that he looked like a Wildman slinging that axe. The third song came as the surprise for it would be the bands cover of Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise” and while I had heard rumblings in the crowd that Rapper Chuck D. was going to come out and accompany Anthrax for it, I felt that such a number would be one of the closing show stoppers with so much more of the set to experience. I always was more of the casual fan of the guys doing this tune and admit that I would have rather heard them blast through another Metal classic more than revisit their Rap blending, but of course with Chuck D. on point the tune was going over really well and had a lot of people moving. That was a good thing because remember, we were dealing with a subzero temperature by this point. So my assumption about a longer set was not right because it seemed as though the band was just shut down before this tune even completed and I would later learn that there was a curfew being observed and the lateness of the snowboarding event had cost the group a healthy portion of their performance time. That definitely sucked for the assembled Metal faithful who had only braved the cold to see the band and while you know that Anthrax will do a full tour soon, it had to be embarrassing to them as well to be told ok that’s it before a song even completed. At the time of my writing this the band has already apologized to their fans about the abrupt ending as they wanted to deliver the full 45 minutes but were simply not allowed to do so. Despite the dramatics involved I was happy to be able to report that while I caught a little Anthrax, I did not catch pneumonia in the process. The band still sounds nice and tight and I cannot wait to see a full gig as they throttle us with new material from their forthcoming album “Worship Music” along with their time honored circle pit inspiring classics.
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Official Web Site: www.anthrax.com
Official Web Site: www.valientthorr.com
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