▣House of Blues | Boston, MA ▣Sunday, May 7th 2017
Trash Metal Gods’ Anthrax and Massachusetts Metalcore Kings, Killswitch Engage collided at House of Blues Boston during the Killthrax Tour final stop Sunday night, with special guests The Devil Wears Prada and Code Orange. The Killthrax tour destroyed Boston on a sold out night that was packed with electrifying performances.
We caught the Killthrax tour last Sunday at the House of Blues Boston. The line-up ran early that night and the first band up was The Devil Wears Prada. The christian metal-core band out of Dayton Ohio continues to have a strong following since their debut in 2006. On their biggest stage of their career, this tour would help them broaden their audience. Although their name has come up in the scene, I’ve never actually had a chance to listen to them. For many of us here tonight, it would be our first time seeing them live.
When I finally made it to the pit area, the Devil Wears Prada had just started their second song. Mike Hranica’s vocals carried through the venue. The rest of the band consists of Kyle Sipress (lead guitar, backing vocals), Jeremy DePoyster (rhythm guitar, vocals), and Andy Trick (bass). The band seemed a bit unpolished to me. Their songs are filled with great guitar riffs and heavy drums, the vocals from Hranica are mostly screamo type of singing with very little chorus involved. Their sound was raw and energetic, but for me personally, I thought that the band lacked in their performance.
Looking around tonight, it was quite evident who people were here to see. The venue was filled with Anthrax and KSE t-shirts. Here in Boston, it would be KSE that would close the the last show of the tour. But, it was now Anthrax’s turn to mix things up and bring the crowds energy to a new level. This wouldn’t be the first time seeing the band, but would be my first time really watching them perform. My first Anthrax show, I spent a good amount of my time in the mosh-pit. In the pit, you miss a lot of things that happen on stage because you are not really watching the performance, you are listening to it. This time around, it would be a completely different experience. When the lights finally went out, my excitement was at a high waiting for their performance to begin.
The Blues Brothers song was the first to come on, followed by clips from Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast and I Can’t Turn You Loose by Otis Redding. Finally, the first member to enter the stage was Scott Ian (rhythm guitar) and the rest of the band followed during a great welcome from their Boston fans. They would begin their set with the first song from their 1987 release, Among the Living. Fists were up in the air from the start as Joey Belladonna (vocals) pumped up tonight’s crowd. Frank Bello (bass) and Charlie Benante (drums), were electrifying. And, Jonathan Donais (lead guitar), was just as exciting to watch as the rest of the guys. They would continue their set with Caught in a Mosh and Madhouse, two other fan favorites. The mosh-pit went hard all night, but especially when Belladonna demanded it. Ian was a non-stop dancing and guitar playing machine. His facial expression gave notice to how hard he was playing and singing, and he would top it with every song they played. Bello not only playing bass, sang backup vocals as well. They are such a force, it is incredible to watch. They provide a certain rawness to their performance.
Belladonna let the crowd know that, this was his first time playing at the House of Blues Boston. He thanked the crowd, and dedicated I Am the Law to all the marijuana freaks in the audience. Belladonna is such a powerful frontman, his voice could easily be heard for miles. So charismatic and talented, it is no wonder he has been a force to be reckoned with for so long. Anthrax set list consisted of 12 hard hitting songs. Some might say, only 12?! But those 12 songs seemed to go on for 10 minutes each. They were filled with long riffs by Ian and chords by Belladonna that would go on forever. They blew away everyone in the audience. They sang along with them and threw horns up in the air. Their performance was filled with hit after hit and favorites like Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t, Efilnikufesin (NFL) and Medusa.
Anthrax was phenomenal and by the time that they went into the last three songs of the night, the crowd was going insane, and doing just what Belladonna asked of them… ‘To have the best fucking time ever’. They would go on to close their set with my favorite song from their latest release, For All Kings, Blood Eagle Wings. Followed by the Trust cover of Antisocial and finally closing their set with their hit Indians, from the Among The Living release. Anthrax was nothing short of magical. Their passion and perseverance are the reasons why they have been going strong for over 35 years. They didn’t seem like they are slowing down any time soon, and we couldn’t be happier.
Now, it was time for the hometown heroes to take the stage. And when their large banner went down, loud cheers filled the venue. When they finally came out, Killswitch Engage would received an incredible welcome back. Adam Dutkiewicz (guitarist) walked out first sporting a t-shirt that read ‘Impeach Goodel’ and a sweatband that said ‘Trash Metal’. He made sure everyone could see what he was wearing, as he paraded it back and forth on stage. Loud cheers filled the venue when the rest of the KSE members hit the stage. Jesse Leach (vocals), Joel Stroetzel (guitarist), Mike D’Antonio (bass) and Justin Foley (drums) were all smiles as they waved to the crowd. The guys would open their set with Hate By Design from their latest album, Incarnate. They would immediately follow with the first song from their debut album Killswitch Engage, Temple from Within, the first installment from the band that featured Jesse Leach on vocals. It was their third song that really brought the crowd’s energy to a new level- a fan favorite, My Last Serenade.
The mosh-pit was intense, driven by the intensity that KSE brings, especially in their hometown of Massachusetts. Bodies were flying, as the crowd surfers tried to reach the front of the stage to get a chance to shake the hands of their metal hometown heroes. Although I have seen Killswitch Engage before, this would be my first time seeing them with Leach on vocals. I had a feeling the transition would be hard, as I had grown to love Howard Jones on vocals. But Leach brought a different kind of energy to their performance. I am not saying one is better than the other, they are just different. Leach was exciting to watch, and the guy can wail. Everyone’s energy was impressive, especially Dutkiewicz and D’Antonio who jumped around pretty much throughout their entire set. Dutkiewicz not only an incredible guitarist, but he also has the matching vocals to cater to Leach. Foley, was a drumming machine, the guy did an amazing job at matching their energy. The more laid back of the group is Stroetzel, who stood there and nailed some amazing riffs.
KSE played 17 songs for their fans here tonight. The most memorable moments for me were when they played Life To Lifeless, had some of the most intense mosh-pits that I’ve ever witnessed. During A Bid Farewell, one of their friends went up on stage, did two backflips and dove headfirst back into the crowd, clearing a 7-8 ft space where the photographers stand. It was insane! The same energy was felt during The End of Heartache and Rose of Sharyn. Bodies where flying, people were moshing and singing every word. The band closed their set with My Curse, as the crowd embraced and sang along. Followed by In Due time- the only other song other than End of Heartache to be nominated for Best Metal Performance by the Grammy Awards Association. For their last one of the night, the guys had a special surprise- they brought out Joey Belladonna to sing Holy Diver from their 2006 release of As Daylight Dies.
Leach thanked his hometown fans, as sticks flew and picks were flicked into the crowd. Dutkiewicz would take his socks and sneakers off, tossing them into the audience before exiting the stage. What a performance by the boys from Mass, just incredible! A tour that would go down as one of the most memorable, especially here in the city of Boston. It was the perfect combination of bands, proven to be a match made in heaven…or hell- I’ll let you decide.
Review & Photos: Carlos Londono
Check out the bands websites for more info!
The Devil Wears Prada