Slayer/Exodus/Suicidal Tendencies - The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA 11/14
By: Phillip and Leslie Elder Rogers
The night began with Exodus bringing ambition and power to the stage. The band has had a long run so far with their formation in 1980. Gary Holt played his ass off from beginning to end tonight. Their set was a minimal but was dominant in the bands’ ability to entertain. Though the room had not completely filled by the time Exodus came on, it quickly became all about the band on stage as soon as the first chord was struck and the first note was sung. The band played and sang their heart out and had sweat slinging from the tip of every strand of hair to prove it. They introduced many in the crowd, for the first time to their new music off of the 2014 album “Blood in Blood Out” with the songs “Black 13” and “Blood in Blood Out”. They also incorporated the music that has stood the test of time such as “Blacklist”, “Bonded by Blood”, and “The Toxic Waltz”. Their set ended with “Strike of the Beast” from their 1985 album, “Bonded by Blood”, and it was grand in their deliverance.
Suicidal Tendencies came on with a bang and kept the attention and momentum going without a hitch. This band has truly seen its’ share of band members come and go for sure. Singer Mike Muir, who is the founding and only original member, came on stage in his normal psychotic manner with his “dance moves”, if we can call the swinging of his arms in the same motion back and forth, spastically, dance moves at all. It was clear at this moment, that the crowd included a huge Suicidal following based on the loud squeals and screams that overcame the venue. The band kept pace on stage proving they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Mike Muir came to put on a show. With his energy level, his constant running back and forth and his relentless raging, almost convulsive motions, I couldn’t keep up with him. He’s like a lunatic on stage, but in a good way. Their setlist included some of their best music, including “War Inside My “Subliminal” and “Cyco Vision”, but my favorite of the night was the extended and crowd involved version of “I Saw Your Mommy and Your Mommy’s Dead”. Though I was disappointed that “Institutionalized”, my favorite ST song, was not part of the set tonight, I was extremely satisfied with the show that was given tonight. They ended their set with the ST chant that is “Pledge Your Allegiance” and as beer was thrown from every direction possible in the crowd, you could hear and see the pure ecstasy on the faces of all in attendance.
For the main event, the band of the night, the band that everyone came here to see, Slayer was up next and the waiting between sets was cruel. They are considered to be one of the “Big Four” Thrash Metal bands. Slayer has had a troublesome but wild ride over their many years together as a band. Since they formed in 1981, they have seen their share of heartache and malice but through it all, they overcame and are still going strong today. Though the past few years haven’t been as productive in the new music aspect, it has in no way stopped them from reigning as one of the top Thrash Metal bands known. People come from afar just to see the iconic band play. This night was no different; the venue was packed, elbow to elbow. The age group of the fan base in attendance ranged tremendously from extremely young, probably learned the appreciation of Slayer from their parents to moderately older, been Slayer fans since they first came about. There is no denying that Slayer has made their mark and they are not going to let it fade or tarnish. Even if you don’t like Slayer, you still know exactly who they kick ass up and down the stage and this night was further proof of their unfaltering ability to entertain the masses even when a lack of enthusiasm may exist.
Their appearance on stage began behind a white curtain with only the Slayer name and logo projected onto it, teasing the crowd ever so viciously. As the logo faded a dim light shined on the curtain and you could see the band’s silhouettes lurking behind, just waiting to reveal themselves as the crowd screamed and cried for them to appear. The angst in the room was much like that moment you are about to get your finger pricked at the doctor’s office, the anticipation of that sharp, quick blade to pierce the outer layer of your skin; the waiting and the torment. Finally, the curtain dropped and the band appeared. The crowd immediately went wild. Behind me, crowd surfers were already being tossed forward by the fierce power of the raging fans. They began their set with “World Painted Blood” from their 2009 album. As the night progressed, we found that the concert was geared toward many of their older albums but maintained excitement and vigor even so. The fans are die-hard so it didn’t seem to matter much that Tom Araya lingered basically in his one spot, at the center of the stage at his microphone, most of the night. I overheard one fan classify his seemingly subdued stage presence as “slightly creepy”, while another said ‘He is the Tom Araya and even if he wanted to sing with his back turned all night, you wouldn’t fuck with that”. Clearly, the fans appreciate everything that is Slayer. Gary Holt, who had to be feeling some fatigue since he was on stage earlier with Exodus was showing no signs of exhaustion. He and Kerry King both threw down on stage with their ability to control it and dynamically hype up the crowd without any hesitation between songs. The fans were completely absorbed in the sound emerging from the guitars and drums. Every move and every guitar riff ignited new life in Kerry and Gary and further intensified the desire of the crowd. The night was consistent and each song followed with more power and rage than the previous one. What shocked me most is that from where I ended up in the crowd, I didn’t see the number of thrashers aggressively pushing or thrusting each other that I expected to see in a crowd of this magnitude for the concert that we were attending. SLAYER, this is THE THRASH METAL CONCERT, why in the hell were people not THRASHING???
The set list consisted of 21 of the songs that have made Slayer who they are today. It included many of their most popular songs such as “Chemical Warfare”, “Mandatory Suicide”, “Hell Awaits”, Disciple”, “Raining Blood”, and “South of Heaven” and had a variety of their other tremendous tracks as well. They finished their set with what I would consider the best Slayer song ever written or played, “Angel of Death”. The Slayer backdrop was lowered to reveal the “Angel of Death-Hanneman 1964-2013 Still Reigning” backdrop. Ending the evening with a testimony to the memory of such an important part of the band and their popularity definitely was a true high point of the night for me.
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