Anthrax + Living Color – 13/03/89 – Hammersmith Odeon

Another visit to the Hammy O for another of my favourite metal bands, this time Anthrax, touring their recently released State Of Euphoria album. I was a big fan of this album, not quite as good as Among The Living, but had half a dozen excellent tracks nevertheless. This gig was first for me in that I was downstairs in the Odeon, fairly central and only a dozen or so rows from the front. Another first, in that the support act were actually pretty good. I don’t think I’d heard of Living Color at the time, but they made an impression because I’d never come across funk metal before. They were pushing the ‘Vivid’ album, and ‘Cult of personality’ was the obvious standout. Vernon Reid is an excellent guitarist, and was doing things I’d not seen a guitarist do before. It was certainly a much bolder choice of support than the previous gigs I’d seen.

Anthrax ticket Mar 1989

Nevertheless, I had come to see Anthrax, and great though they were, the warm up act was just a warm up act.

The first track was the album opener Be All End All, and after the soft strings intro, they ran on stage like mental hairy skaters and proceeded to arse about for 90 minutes, not being very metal at all. Much less serious on stage than Metallica or Maiden, these guys really looked like they were having a great time. This was the height of the big surf shorts craze and they really brought something different to ‘traditional’ metal – not a stitch of lycra, denim or leather in sight, and Scotty Ian didn’t even have proper long hair! They were really ‘pushing the envelope’ for me and metal. They played some kickass heavy metal anthems though, despite the fact that Joey Belladonna wore a wig (allegedly) and thought he was a native American Indian. I think you were allowed to call them Red Indians in them days. The standout tracks were definitely Antisocial (not one of theirs) and Frigging In The Rigging (not theirs either), closely followed by Caught In A Mosh (theirs) and I’m the Man.

Of all the drummers I had seen thus far in my live music career, Charlie Benante was the most mentalist, a pretty good impression of Animal. He did however expose me to the horror of ‘the drum solo’ for the first time. I knew even then, that ‘the drum solo’ was the epitome of rock music self-indulgence, and it would very soon become my cue to go for that piss I’d been holding in since two minutes before the start, or as I got older, the bar. I can’t sit through one even now (Neil Peart excepted) without mentally plotting a route to the nearest exit. That said, Anthrax are another very good live act, and Joey Belladonna has a great live voice. They covered most of Among The Living and State of Euphoria, as well as a decent delve into Spreading the Disease. I wasn’t au fait with their earlier stuff, but I don’t remember being bored or turned off by it either.

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