by Jeff Niesel
When thrash rockers Anthrax came through town last summer on Mayhem festival, they reportedly insisted that they play the side stage and not the main stage. It was a wise decision. Unlike, say, Metallica, Anthrax is best suited to a more intimate setting, even if it’s just the Blossom parking lot. The band’s high-energy set at last year's stop at Blossom was truly rousing and a mosh pit even broke out.
Last night before a capacity crowd at House of Blues, the band again delivered the musical goods. Mid-set, goateed guitarist Scott Ian made a vague reference to the Blossom show (he wasn't entirely sure the band had played there) and alluded to the fact that the last year has been a bit of a blur. But that didn’t mean the band wasn’t focused. Headliners on a multi-band bill dubbed the Metal Alliance Tour, Anthrax opened the two-hour show with songs from the first side of its 1987 album Among the Living. Tracks such as “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” and “A Skeleton in the Closet” became bonafide anthems and were delivered in all their thrash metal glory as the band relied on blinding strobe lights to accentuate the heavy guitars and vocal acrobatics.
The guys took a brief break from Among the Living to cover AC/DC’s “TNT,” a track found on its new EP Anthems. Ian introduced the EP as a collection of “songs we wish we wrote” and singer Joey Belladonna handled the vocals perfectly. The group then returned to side two of Among the Living and reveled in performing “Indians,” a tune Belladonna introduced by saying he was ready for a “wardance.” On a more serious note, he introduced “One World” with what he called a “moment of rage.” “I don’t understand why people always have a moment of silence,” he said in reference to the bombing at the Boston Marathon. “Let’s have a moment of rage in honor of everyone who lost their life in that heinous act of violence.” The band closed the set with its cover of the Joe Jackson hit “Got the Time,” a tune it sped up to the point that it was hardly recognizable but still rocked hard and instantly had patrons pumping their fists in the air. Not bad for a band that’s over three decades old.