Fans drove through a barrage of rain Wednesday evening to descend on The Factory in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield to soak up more than three hours of the thrash/heavy metal sounds of Anthrax, Black Label Society and Exodus that poured over on them.
Exodus kicked off night 17 of the 25-city tour off with a fast-paced 45-minute set of the thrash metal they’ve honed since 1979. Heck, they were pounding out this music before it was even a genre. The current lineup is guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus, bassist Jack Gibson, lead vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza, and original band member and drummer Tom Hunting. The sheer volume consumed the venue and, for a while, seemed to even drown out Zetro, however, it became noticeable it was a glitch in the sound equipment zeroing out his vocals off and on. No matter, as the fans belted out the words for him.
Playing to the crowd, Zetro made note of past times performing in St. Louis, including the long-missed Mississippi Nights. “Every time we come through, and we weren’t sure we would again, you guys come out in full force,” Zetro told the crowd.
With a lovely, slightly devious chuckle, Zetro asked, “Are you ready to rock?,” as they continued to grind out hits such as “Bonded by Blood” and “The Toxic Waltz.”
With a sheet draped across the front of the stage, Black Sabbath’s “Whole Lotta Love” piped in, riling the crowd up for the entrance of co-headliner Black Label Society. The next 70-minutes was a wicked blur of furious, masterful guitar work by kilt-wearing, vein-popping frontman Zakk Wylde and Dario Lorina while bassist John “J.D.” DeServio and drummer Jeff Fabb kept the rhythm pumping high throughout beaming their broad smiles. Their set, which included “Heart of Darkness,” “In This River,” and “Set You Free” showcased the fierce, adrenaline-fueled southern/groove-tinged metal that BLS has been releasing on the world since 1998.
Prior to Anthrax’s set, a 5-plus minute video played highlighting their 40 years (now 41) as a band rife with accolades from dozens of musicians of all genres including Lady Gaga, Robert Trujillo, Rob Zombie, Gene Simmons, Henry Rollins, and comedian Brian Posehn.
Lead vocalist Joey Belladonna joked early on, “Hey, St. Louis. It’s been a minute. Look at this nice venue they built just for us.”
The six-time Grammy-nominated Anthrax unleashed a 70-minute set of aggressive, hard-core, balls-out thrash on the packed crowd. Rhythm guitarist Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello, drummer Charlie Benante, guitarist Jonathan Donais and Belladonna appeared more energized in this up-close setting than they do on a massive stage.
Songs included “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “Caught in a Mosh,” and “Keep It in the Family,” which Belladonna dedicated to all their fans but, “especially for the new people in the house.”
Belladonna was on fire, interacting all night with the crowd. “Thank you all for making us feel fucking awesome. It’s inspirational,” he said at one point.
And it was. The entire night. Inspirational metal at its finest.
Find more photos: https://bit.ly/AnthraxBLS23cz
Anthrax setlist https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/anthrax/2023/the-factory-chesterfield-mo-23bd70db.html
Black Label Society setlist https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/black-label-society/2023/the-factory-chesterfield-mo-2bbd70da.html
Exodus setlist https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/exodus/2023/the-factory-chesterfield-mo-33bd70d9.html
In my work life, I help nonprofits and small businesses with media and public relations. In my what I love to do life, you can typically find me photographing either wild horses or concerts.