This was an odd night that just sort of came out of the blue, in and of itself dispelling a set of personal blues whilst alternately being a replacement for the blues I couldn’t see, which was my initial intention, but due to means far beyond my control, could not.
First, my apologies to KILLMAMA for not being able to make the performance. I don’t know how far down 10th Street the protest went, but the area was “quarantined” *(for lack of a better word) for blocks around where I was. I do though hope the show was a success. *(So much for the blues I was supposed to see and hear).
However, as fate would have it in this strange world in which I exist, a phone call from an old and recently reconnected with friend, and offer of an extra ticket to see the infamous thrash/speed metal pioneers EXODUS & TESTAMENT, was something I just couldn’t resist. I was already supposed to go anyway. It seemed the perfect cure to chase away those personal blues, and fell together like a winning pro-round of Tetris.
Pulling into Philadelphia and having one last smoke before entering the ancient, legendary Trocadero, or “The Troc” as it has collectively been come to be known over the years, we hung out and caught up a bit, discussed various memories of the venue from ages ago. At various points throughout the establishments illustrious existence it has been a burlesque house, brothel, movie theater, etc., until finally, many, many moons ago, finally becoming the *(much different than when I first started going at 17 – – – saw my first GWAR show there in August of 1991, with WEEN opening) rock house *(it has so many times been remodelled and transmogrified into) that it is today.
But while having that final smoke outside, a weird vibe was palpable within the air of the city itself, which included seeing twelve cops on horseback, in full guns-n-gear, two in-place hovering helicopters, and a triangulating Drone plane just overhead. *(These were apparently the “precautionary measures” for the protest that was to be running just down the block, that no one had any idea was going to occur – – – and They wonder . . . )
Anyway, onto the show. After a quick pat down and being told NO MOSHING *(really? at this? HAHAHAHHA!), we entered in enough time to catch the last half of SHATTERED SUN’s set. For me, personally, and my one cohort Justin (of THE MOIDALIZERS), they were generic and standard, definitely with an AT THE GATES/IN FLAMES-type sound. Not terrible, nothing special, they were routine opening fair. However, our friend Lisa really seemed to dig them.
A that point came another pleasant surprise, friend of almost thirty years (and a gent many times before mentioned here amongst the Rosetta Bones, from its beginnings, in fact), Bill, as well as his brother Russ, whom I’ve not seen in even longer. *(I knew he’d be there – – – odd thing, I usually do, and sat where I knew he’d see us). It was truly a splendid time as EXODUS hit their simplistic, bare-bones stage set, their background piece being the zombied figures to the cover of their most recent album *(reviewed here several months ago, quite favorably I might add) reaching out at them, much like the fans in the pit, amongst the effective flashes of their just-as-raw light show.
After a potent, classic, old school set, that ended with none other than EXODUS’ all-time classic “Toxic Waltz,” TESTAMENT finally took the stage, with a power and fury I’d not seen from them before, in some of the larger venues I’ve seen them play at. And their stage set was incredible, their background looking almost like Castle Grayskull, with pentagram-med and leering skeletal demon faces perched high on either side, their glowing red eyes leering over all doomed souls in the pit, and various ancient skeletal-like remains placed all about the stage. It looked like they were playing in the lower levels of hell – – – it was beautiful. As was their light show, a perfect blend of purples and greens, transitioning to explosive bursts of hellfire reds and oranges, of varying shades aplenty, as Chuck Billy came shadowing from the purple fogs like some leering, gargantuan demon himself, and this was HIS lair.
The NO MOSHING & NO CROWD SURFING rule was out the door, which I think the bouncers were quite well-aware was going to happen, and were in fact quite cool about it. The pit was filled with old guys like me, and in fact I was dragged down to the edges by Lisa *(as we were in the balcony, and no one else wanted to go down) so she could get some amazing pics. Also, the sound quality was damn near perfect down there, something I’m not used to from The Troc, having been going there for some 20+ years now, and seeing more bands there than may be possible for me to recall. It was also nice to see fathers my age trying in vein to get their kids to dig this amazing, one-of-a-kind retrospective time period show, exposing them to the raw and bare roots that eventually begat the metalcore crap their kids dig now – – – metal before its balls were cut off, and all vocalists sounded like shrieking fukking eunuchs.
It was great night, and an amazing show. I was thrilled to no end to catch this with the people I did – – – it was a truly grand, old-school experience for us old school assed kids at heart. I believe this was one of the final shows of the tour, and these classic bands still had the power that once made them like metal Messiah’s when I was 14 – – – and now at 41 it seems some of the same shivers can still flow down these same *(admittedly) jaded spinal remains.
Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org