Anthrax & Killswitch Engage @ The Wiltern Theatre – 04/22/2017
Saturday night April 22 had was an epic night at The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles as two metal giants, Anthrax and Killswitch Engage, each at the top of their respective musical sub-genres played to a SOLD OUT crowd as part of their co-headlining KILLTHRAX tour. In the direct opener slot is The Devil Wears Prada and for this leg of the tour Code Orange is kicking off the night. Being a co-headline tour, both Killswitch Engage and Anthrax are rotating each night as to who plays first and who closes the show. Fittingly this night had Anthrax playing last being somewhat of a hometown shown for some of the band members.
With doors opening at 6:00pm the line to get inside The Wiltern was wrapped around two sides of the building area. Code Orange hit the stage at 6:30pm and unfortunately many still inline waiting to get in did not have the opportunity see this great new band including SoCalMusicToday. The early start times had The Devil Wears Prada hit the stage at 7:10pm which again was still a bit early for a Saturday night show but the band succeeded in putting on a high energy kickass show and was well received by the combination new-metal heads and the old school thrash fans.
At approximately 8:10pm the lights went dark and “Fight for your Right to Party” blasted over the venue PA as the Killswitch Engage took the stage and began 75 minutes of beautiful brutality with their unique blend of aggressive, heavy riffs mixed with slower breakdowns and clean vocals. “Hate by Design” was the perfect way to get the night started as the capacity crowd wasted no time in turning the Wiltern into a mosh pit. Vocalist Jesse Leach is one of the premier frontmen in metal today as he belted out his vocals as he moved about the stage.
Killswitch Engage is one of the most active live bands as guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz takes every opportunity to run around the stage in between riffs and backup vocals. Dutkiewicz remains one of the kings of funny guitar faces as he plays his guitar. Bandmate and bass player Mike Mike D’Antonio gives Dutkiewicz a run for his money on stage as he is constantly headbanging and pointing to the crowd. Slightly more reserved, guitarist Joel Stroetzel is pretty static onstage and focuses on his killer riffs while drummer Justin Foley delivers a thundering boom throughout the set.
The band played a great mix of old and new with the old being a blend Jesse Leach songs and Howard Jones songs. Leach was joined by Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna to end the set with a cover of DIO’s “Holy Diver” which sounded amazing as Belladonna has one of the most versatile vocal styles that allows him to nail just about any cover song. Killswitch Engage certainly set the bar quite high for Anthrax . . .
After about a 30 minute set change (which is just too long between bands as it kills the momentum and vibe in the building), Siruis XM’s Jose Mangin took the stage to introduce the band and the house lights went black and Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” played in its entirety (a bit of a long intro but most of the crowd was definitely into it) and then Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” as sung by The Blues Brothers was played, then finally the band hit the stage with the intro to “Among the Living” and the chaos began as Anthrax gave Los Angeles a thrash-tastic 75 minutes of music.
The elaborate stage set had drummer Charlie Benante high up on his drum riser with platforms on each side across the stage with ramps and stairs down to the actual stage level. The entire background was a huge Anthrax ”A” logo in the theme of the cover of “For All Kings”. Guitarist Scott Ian obviously the face of the band led the assault with his thrashy rhythm picking as he stomped around the stage while fellow guitarist Jonathan Donais shined with his fast fingered soloing while headbanging in unison to the music. Bass player Frank Bello would fit right in with Killswitch Engage as he is as active onstage as they come . . . headbanging, yelling, fist pumping, all while delivering that thumping bass and backup vocals.
The band featured five songs from the Among the Living album with a few older gems thrown in that included “March of the S.O.D.” which just happens to be the ultimate soundtrack for heavy music as well as the early thrasher “Madhouse”. Along with Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach (as mentioned earlier), singer Joey Belladonna is without a doubt one of the most charismatic and energetic frontmen in metal. Belladonna’s vocals are spot on as he interacts with the crowd throughout the entire show. At one point, he even was leaning down into the crowd taking selfies with those in the front row giving some fans the ultimate souvenir.
For the first time played live, Anthrax gave Los Angeles a surprise with their cover of the KANSAS classic “Carry On Wayward Son” with famed session musician Fred Mandel on keyboards. This song is another killer Anthrax cover song and sounded amazing live. The band ended their killer set with “Indians” which had the mosh pits circling in full gear as Scott Ian belted out WARDANCE . . .
The KILLTHRAX tour has something for everyone and features two of extreme music’s heavyweights with code Orange and The Devil Wears Prada as perfect bands to prime those in attendance for the ferocity of Killswitch Engage and Anthrax.
Killswitch Engage Setlist
Hate by Design | My Last Serenade | Alone I Stand | The End of Heartache | This Fire | Rose of Sharyn | This Is Absolution | Beyond the Flames | My Curse | In Due Time | Strength of the Mind | Holy Diver (DIO cover with Joey Belladonna)
Among the Living | Caught in a Mosh | Madhouse | Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t | I Am the Law | Breathing Lightning | Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) | March of the S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death cover) | Blood Eagle Wings | Antisocial (Trust cover) | Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas cover with Fred Mandel) | Indians
Anthrax Photo Gallery
Killswitch Engage Photo Gallery