Anthrax – yes that’s Anthrax – you know, one of the Big Four thrash bands, one of the best metal bands in the world, and one who lets be honest about this, is having something of a renaissance, are going to come out right before the old stagers tonight.
RTM saw the New Yorker’s stunning show in Oxford in March, thus hopes were high for this slot at a venue that seems to lend itself to magnificent concerts. However large expectations were, though, they don’t quite prepare us for what actually did take place.
Quite simply, Anthrax were, this evening, unstoppable. The setlist they chose for their 50-minute jaunt? How about one that starts with “Caught In A Mosh” then moves into “Fight Em Till You Can’t,” takes in “Indians,” “Time” and a few other classics before tearing Wolves to pieces with “I Am The Law”? Not too shabby huh? In short, Anthrax were phenomenal and they – and moreover the assembled gathering – know it.
In fact, so good were Scott Ian and his mates, that even a Motorhead that was seriously on top of its game would have struggled to live with them. The fact is that on this particular evening Motorhead were not as good as ever.
That is not to say they were bad by any means, merely that this is the first date of the tour and it is clear that there are some teething problems to iron out.
It starts well enough “No Regrets,” “Damage Case” and “I Know How To Die” would grace any show, but some essential spark is missing. The synchronised dancing of “Metropolis” and a rollicking “One Night Stand” are fantastic as always, but there is a rather tetchy undercurrent throughout. Things come to a head in Mickey Dee’s drum solo during “One To Sing The Blues.” The sticksman had been upset with his kit at the start of the song, and at the end of it he leaps off his stool and argues with his technician.
The encore is another rather odd affair, the band play “Orgasmatron” bathed in green light before the usual strobe filled ending in “Bomber” although pointedly and perhaps in keeping with a rather low-key beginning, there is no making the balcony stand for this track this time, as has been the case in previous years.
So, what to make of this evening? Well Motorhead are and will always remain one of the greatest bands this country has produced. It was just that this evening saw one band give a slightly off colour show, while another absolutely ripped the place apart.