Anthrax & Killswitch Engage @ House of Blues Anaheim – 02/14/2017 -

Anthrax & Killswitch Engage @ House of Blues Anaheim – 02/14/2017


Anthrax @ House of Blues Anaheim - 02/14/2018The saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” . . . Thrash veterans Anthrax along with Metalcore masters Killswitch Engage co-headlined the Killthrax tour in early 2017 and due to the overwhelming success of that tour are currently playing together again on the Killthrax 2 tour hitting markets they missed the first time around. On Wednesday February 14 on Valentine’s Day, the Killthrax 2 tour hit The House of Blues in Anaheim along with modern day thrash masters Havok in the opening slot.

Is there a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than at a metal show with the one you love . . . I think not, and this show was destined to become one of the top shows of the year based on the previous year’s show in Los Angeles. Lots of couples were in attendance to celebrate their love of each other and metal together.

Colorado’s thrash attack, Havok opened the show at 7:00pm and gave the early attendees a lesson in breakneck thrash with an abundance of galloping beats and killer vocals and plenty to head bang too. A perfect opening band for this tour and a band that will certainly carry the torch for thrash music for years to come.

Killswitch Enagage hit the stage and delivered the perfect 17 song set that opened with “Rose of Sharyn” then into “Strength of the Mind”. Vocalist Jesse Leach was flawless for the entire performance as he belted out his vocal screams and shrieks with extreme emotion and passion. Wearing a red jean vest, Leach was all over the stage and was constantly interacting with the front of the crowd. Meanwhile metal’s biggest goof-ball Adam Dutkiewicz was shredding on his pizza guitar until he broke a few strings at which time he stated to the crowd that his excessive masturbation has built up his forearms so much that anything he touches breaks. Always a spectacle on stage with his goofy faces and karate kicks, Dutkiewicz also adds some killer backing vocals.

Bassist Mike D’Antonio is also very active onstage often leaning the neck of his bass over the crowd. His rhythm partner Justin Foley is a monster on drums and guitarist Joel Stroetzel, seemingly the most laid back of the bunch just blazes his solos. Highlights of the set included “As Daylight Dies”, Hate By Design”, “My Last Serenade” and of course “End of Heartache” that Leach dedicated to the metal-heads with a heart. The set ended with a cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver” where Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna came out and joined Leach on vocals – an epic ending to an epic performance.

Killswitch Engage @ House of Blues Anaheim - 02/14/2018This is a true co-headline tour as Anthrax and Killswitch Engage rotate the closing spot and on this night in Anaheim, Anthrax had that honor. As the lights dimmed the first chords of “Among the Living” rang out as Scott Ian and the band took the stage and blasted through the title track of their ground-breaking 1986 landmark album. The chaos ensued immediately as a giant circle pit erupted along with waves of crowd surfers. After almost 37 years, these East Coast thrashers show no sign of slowing down. Vocalist Joey Belladonna still has the same long black hair and impressively his voice sounds as strong as ever and he definitely is not short on energy. Scott Ian’s goatee may be a bit whiter but his rhythm chops and stage moshing while ripping his guitar can be put up against any young guitarist and Ian would always win! One of the most iconic images in metal, Ian is the posterchild for everything rock n roll and his stage presence is larger than life.

The rhythm section of this band is royalty as drummer Charlie Benante is one of the original thrash drummers putting break-neck skin bashing on the map as proven by the early Anthrax albums as well as the amazing Stormtroopers of Death project back in the day. His partner in crime Frank Bello makes the Energizer Bunny look lazy . . . his constant thrashing while thumping the bass tires you out just watching him. Rounding out the band is guitarist Jonathan Donias who’s sizzling finger work round out the band making Anthrax a force to be reckoned with.

Belladonna addressed the crowd stating how cool it was to be playing the new House of Blues Anaheim for the first time and that they didn’t have to deal with any rules like at the old venue (referencing the previous location being under restrictions of Disney). The energy of the building between that of the fans and that produced by the band was electrifying throughout the night. A few highlights were the early thrasher “Madhouse” as well as the more recent “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” which showcased Ian’s barking backup vocals.

Like many other old-school thrash bands (Overkill, Testament, Slayer, Exodus, etc) Anthrax has gotten better and more powerful with age. The band continues to put out some of the best music they have made this late in their career as proven by a killer live rendition of “Breathing Lightning” off 2016’s For All Kings album.

The night ended with one last war-dance during the ultra-killer tune “Indians”. The House of Blues just witnessed what will no doubt be the most insane, intense and powerful show it will see this year. Anthrax will join forces with Testament, Lamb of God, Behemoth for Slayers last tour this summer. Do not miss your opportunity to see Anthrax live – if you are already a fan you know what to expect but will still be blown away, if you are not a fan you will leave the show with a new favorite band!

Killswitch Engage Setlist

Rose of Sharyn | Strength of the Mind | Self Revolution | My Curse | This Fire | New Awakening | A Bid Farewell | As Daylight Dies | Fixation on the Darkness | Hate by Design | Vid Infra | Always | My Last Serenade | Embrace the Journey . . . Upraised | Beyond the Flames | The End of Heartache | In Due Time | Holy Diver

Killswitch Engage Photo Gallery

Anthrax Setlist

Among the Living | Caught in a Mosh | Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover) | Madhouse | Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t | Breathing Lightning | Medusa | I Am the Law | Be All, End All | Antisocial (Trust cover) | Indians

Anthrax Photo Gallery