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Astoria, London 4 July 2003
Upon arriving at the Astoria, I was firstly rather surprised to have
been able to walk straight in rather than having to queue for ages
outside. The reason was soon apparent when I got inside the place
was half-empty and the upstairs section was completely closed. On
Stage, Manchester 4-piece Kill II This were trying to animate a
rather stubborn London audience. Only guitarist/leader Mark Mynett
remained from the same line-up which I saw a few years back at the
same venue and though the band were given plenty of
time, only one rather lengthy tune stood out amongst the dross. The
band were heavy and they featured an excellent rhythm section but the
hardcore-style screamer became rather wearing. Despite the efforts of
the lanky Mr Mynett, they failed to engage the audience and it was a
blessed relief when their set came to a close.
A good number of late arrivals entered the hall and the sense of
anticipation amongst the crowd certainly heightened during the break.
Fortunately, the venue management then saw fit to open the upstairs
section and sensing that the crowd was in a lively mood, I chose the
right time to make my move and to secure a good vantage point from
which to watch further proceedings. Cheers roared out as the Blues
Brothers intro tape kicked in
and a short time later the members of the band arrived on stage one
by one and launched into What Doesn't Die from the latest album We
Have Come For You All. It made for an excellent set-opener and
within seconds the ground floor section of the venue was a seething
mass of sweaty bodies.
There was no letting up in pace as they continued with Black Dahlia,
then Got The Time at which point the crowd went absolutely mental.
Despite this being the 3rd time that the band had played in the UK
during the last 12 months, they were certainly full of energy and
they played with great enthusiasm, which was certainly matched by the
energy displayed by the furious pit in front of the stage. Then after
a slightly punkier tune, the band allowed the crowd a breather in the
shape of the slower paced, Safe Home. This also gave frontman John
Bush an opportunity to show what a fine singer he is before it was
back to the fast and furious material once more.
After a quick survey of the audience, when Bush asked the audience
how many of them had seen the band 10 or more times, 5 or more times
etc, he introduced Antisocial. Once again this got the crowd bouncing
and singing along with the band, which continued throughout Madhouse.
After another slower tune, it was time to go right back in time to
1987 for(Cowboys and) Indians which only had the effect of making the
pit erupt into activity once more. The Astorias security team
certainly earnt their money as they were kept on their toes fending
off a constant stream of crowd-surfers. One enterprising gent,
wearing a headdress was about to
return to the crowd when he was seized by the shoulder by John Bush
who persuaded the security guys to allow him up onstage. He was
clearly delighted at the honour and proceeded to dance around the
stage and to sing along to the chorus with bassist Frank Bello,
returning to join his mates in the crowd at the end of the tune.
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) from Among the living, then Ole and a further
number closed out what appeared to be a rather short set, so it was no
great surprise when the band quickly returned and launched into a
series of encore beginning with Be All, End All. Then it was time to
pay homage to their heroes with an abridged cover of Iron Maidens
Number of the Beast and then to go Metal Thrashing Mad. By this stage
the heat and the moshing had taken its toll on the crowd and though
Bush made reference to the band appearing at Donnington, he couldnt
inspire the audience to mosh with the same energy to the final two
numbers of Bring The Noise and I am the Law.
Whilst never bearing particular favourites of mine, I certainly
enjoyed the gig and it was impossible to ignore the energy and
enthusiasm of the band and the delight of their hard-core followers
throughout the performance. They certainly appear to be a rejuvenated force.
For an alternative view Anthrax review at Live 4 Metal
Text © 2003 Jason Ritchie