Chris Loomis

Exodus @ House of Blues San Diego – 07/18/2019

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Bay Area thrash masters Exodus played their first show of 2019 on Thursday night July 18 at House of Blues in San Diego dubbed “Bonded by Con”, the show sponsored by Nuclear Blast was in conjunction with the beginning of the 2019 San Diego Comic Con. Southern California thrashers Nukem and Exmortus opened the show for Exodus making for a classic Lesson In Violence from start to finish.

Exodus took the stage at 9:20pm after their standard Def Leppard intro of “Let it Go” and wasted no time getting started as they kicked off a 14 song set with the first three songs off their first album –  “Bonded by Blood”, “Exodus” and “And Then there were None”. A BRUTAL way to start the night and the circle pit opened up immediately and never let up throughout the show.

The first thing you noticed when the band took the stage was the absence of guitarist Gary Holt . . . if you are an Exodus die-hard you know that Kragen Lum (Heathen) has been filling in for Holt on guitar for live shows while he is touring with Slayer and even thought Holt had just returned home a few days prior to this show from a month-long European festival tour with Slayer, he sat this one out. Now on one hand it was a bummer Holt was not there but on the other hand Lum is more than worthy of this spot in Holt’s absence and does a remarkable job with every note and nailing all solos. Lee Altus also a member of Heathen traded off solos effortlessly with Lum as the two worked their magic and at times harmonizing their blistering riffs. Altus is without a doubt one of the most underrated guitar players in the thrash genre as he and (on this night) Lum and ultimately he and Holt are one of the premier guitar duos in thrash metal.

Now in his 5th year in his third tenure with Exodus, Steve “Zetro” Souza commands the stage as he belts out his unique raspy vocals like a freight train coming at you at 100 mph. Zetro’s voice is as strong as ever as he carries the band through the Paul Baloff classics, a few Rob Dukes era songs and of course his own songs such as the classic “Toxic Waltz” and a few soon to be classics off their 2014 album Blood In, Blood Out. Zetro promised a new Exodus album would see the light of day and be released sometime in 2020 as he said with a smile that “somebody” (meaning Holt of course) has been busy out on a final tour (as the band kicked into the first few notes of “Raining Blood”).

Drummer Tom Hunting is one of the original members of the band and is undeniably one of the pioneers and innovators in thrash metal drumming. His break neck drumming is the anchor of the band along with bassist Jack Gibson as they keep the tempo fast and furious. The late set version of “A Lesson in Violence” had the circle pit bigger and more violent then ever as did “The Toxic Waltz”. The band ended this show with a ferocious version of “Strike of the Beast”. Well this may have been their first show since December 2018, but you would never know it, Exodus delivered a healthy dose of some good, friendly, violent fun in San Diego.

Both Nukem and Exmortus were a perfect fit to open this show, each delivering their own bit of thrash that had the early birds in attendance moving in the pit.

Exodus Set List:

Bonded by Blood | Exodus | And Then There Were None | Blood In, Blood Out | Children of a Worthless God | Iconoclasm | Fabulous Disaster | Metal Command | Body Harvest | War Is My Shepherd | A Lesson in Violence | Blacklist | The Toxic Waltz | Strike of the Beast

Exodus Photo Gallery:

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