Thrash Attack: 40 Years of Anthrax

Review by Lisa Burke – Photos by Chris Loomis

Heavy Metal is still very much alive in the year 2022 even if the younger generational types aren’t aware of it. One specific genre of live Heavy Metal that always brings a hefty crowd to the party is Thrash genre. On Friday July 29th at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, one of the founders of Thrash Metal/Speed Metal – Anthrax, headlined their 40th anniversary tour, with support by Black Label Society and Hatebreed. The tour was postponed a year due to Covid, so while in reality it’s their 41st anniversary. Last year didn’t really count anyway, and it can still be the 40th to all those concerned. 

The Hollywood Palladium always starts their shows around the seven o’ clock hour, plus they like to change their rules and regulations on a dime. While the large size of the venue is quite adequate, and it serves as a unique set up as far as Los Angeles venues go, there are some struggles to be had as well. This occasion had the sound booming appropriately, and patrons could drink in all the parts of the theater, so that was definitely a plus. Last time I attended the venue there were no drinks allowed on the main floor, or in the pit area. This time you couldn’t take a large purse or wallet chain, etc, but you could check them and get a plastic bag for $10 at the “coat check” area. This venue always pulls through the misery of being a slave to the metal attire with one aspect or another, so no complaints in the end really. 

At ten passed seven the stage filled with metalcore/hardcore punk band Hatebreed, and the crowd was already filling up to capacity. By the end of the set there was wall to wall people on the main floor, as well as the upstairs balcony. Raging through “Destroy Everything” with a shout of “Empty Promises,” and “Perseverance,” ending with “Looking Down The Barrel Of Today,” Jamey Jasta and friends celebrated the night in their usual aggressively energetic way. This is a band that could be a great headliner on another night, but since this was Anthrax’s special evening the tables were turned. Still, it’s great to have three very strong bands on the bill with no local openers. 

Taking over the middle performance of the evening was Zakk Wylde with his band Black Label Society which can range in tempo depending on whether he is in the mood for a somber piano tribute or not. Of course, on this night he dove into “In This River” midway through the set which is his sweet song dedicated to brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul from Pantera. Opening the set he went with the tune “Funeral Bell,” and for the epic guitar solo fun he chose “Fire It Up.” Ending it all with “Stillborn”. The band in its entirety proved that they get better and better every show with the choreographed parlor tricks that can not be accomplished without the proper skill level to begin with. This band is not a dime a dozen, and even after seeing them perform countless times over the years, there is still something special about every show.

A bit after 10:00pm,  Anthrax began their set with a video screen in front of the stage that featured a very nostalgic tribute to the band with brief cameos from so many who they have either influenced or toured with including Phil Anselmo, Dave Mustaine, Dee Snider, Gene Simmons, Cristina Scabbia, and many, many more. It was a really great presentation that got the crowd excited for the real deal. With Joey Belladonna taking the reigns on vocals and as always Scott Ian on the rhythm guitar and backing vocals, with drummer Charlie Benante, Frank Bello on bass, and newest member Jon Donais on guitar, the show took off running headfirst into the hearts of the audience.

This was definitely one of the best shows they have played in the last 10 years in Los Angeles, and with the most nostalgic vibes from the early days. They started off the set with “Among The Living,” and then scrambled into “Caught In A Mosh.” The packed crowd was making a circle pit around the people in the very center who just didn’t give a fuck about moving. It was a beautiful site of metalhead sweat and tears from the balcony above. It was also actually a pleasant time to be intermixed with the sweaty crowd as well because there was a bit of space to have one’s own metaphorical bubble.

At the midway mark they played a favorite “Keep It In The Family,” and then a bit after went into “I Am The Law.” One of the highlights of the set was the John Bush era song “Only” played for the first time in several years and maybe the first time with Joey on vocals. An additional highlight was Public Enemy’s Chuck D taking over lead vocals on “Bring the Noise”. For the final tune it was the majority vote, fan favorite tune “Indians” which ended their set just around 11:30.

That’s a long set for a thrash band, and the crowd was blown away by all of it. The set took the audience back in time and not just to the real 40th anniversary year, but to the late 80’s and early 90’s when this band was having the time of their life. After the current American leg of the tour, they will be headed to Europe with Municipal Waste so do not miss this if you get the chance to see it. Thrash lives on!

Anthrax Set List:

Among the Living | Caught in a Mosh | Madhouse | Metal Thrashing Mad | The Devil You Know | Keep It in the Family | Antisocial (Trust cover) | I Am the Law | In the End | Only | Bring the Noise (Public Enemy cover) | Indians


Black Label Society