So it was Monday afternoon and I knew my week was going to be hectic with TESTAMENT on Tuesday and my podcast taping on...Tuesday! Shit! How was this going to work? Damn is the show really on the same night? To answer this question I quickly took to the Googler and lo and behold the concert was that night, Monday night! 'Fuck" is most likely the (ok – sidebar...I recently read that contrary to what one might believe people who curse more general have higher intelligence and are more honest and trustworthy. So with that I feel more comfortable throwing some F-bombs!) next word that came to mind. Fuck. Shit...That was probably the next word that came to mind after fuck. Do I blow it off? FUCK NO!!!! When TESTAMENT comes to your town you don't hide like some sort of spineless twit. In fact you are encouraged to get "Into the Pit!" Who are any of us to defy this direct order from Mr. Billy?
I wrapped up work, hit the gym, ran home for a shower and then it was on to the mean streets of Denver and in an almost endless quest for a parking space. After driving in circles for 20 minutes I found a street only 2 blocks away (in the direction opposite of where I had done most of my searching) with loads of parking. Score.
Look, by now I think we all know OVERKILL (one of my fave thrash bands EVER!) had to cancel due to Blitz getting pneumonia but if they hadn't I don't know how this show would have worked...Or was HAVOK added after the NJ thrashers had to withdraw? With a 6PM start time its hard for a working dude to make the opening credits and with that I have to expect that local heroes HAVOK had a killer set and that some folks were able to get down there in time to see them because as life would have it I did not...In fact I missed most of 4ARM's set.
OK, let's pause here for some reflection. I think 4ARM deserves some sort of award or at least shout out for having one of the most ridiculous names ever! It must be some sort of joke or Aussie thing, because I don't get it. Nor did anyone else that I commented on their name too. Regardless of their odd choice of band name the dudes brought the thrash. They were good, I wasn't blown away but they did a great job and I didn't really have any complaints.
FLOTSAM and JETSAM hit the stage with the impact and power of a tenured and seasoned group of professionals. I've seen F&J before a few times and on at least one of those occasions Eric AK looked like he had been picked up at rehab on the way to the gig. I saw them in a bar in Westminster back whenever and he looked like he might throw-up and keel over before going into convulsions as he detoxed...Let's just say he looked a lot better and he seems to have been taking good care of his hair. It was all silky and shiny in the stage lights and looked like it smelled nice. He kept making excuses for his voice but I thought he sounded great. He was hitting the notes and for an aging rocker he did a great job. I suppose if you were a huge F&J fan they probably kicked ass. But with little to no stage presence they seemed kind of boring to me. I can't comment on their set list really because after the first 2 albums I never really followed them. They played 'Hammerhead' but I don't think they played 'Doomsday for Deceiver'...Or did I somehow miss that? WTF?
With some lights and a drum riser shit goes to the next level and TESTAMENT rise to the occasion. They are truly masters of their craft and have not only played a heavy hand in keeping thrash alive they have kept it interesting and are at the top of their game. They fucking destroy and one cannot simply summarize into words the awesome intensity that they deliver. The English language lacks words filled with enough emotion and raw energy to accurately reflect the sheer aggression and POWER that a band like TESTAMENT projects. Alex is un-fucking-real to watch and is truly a God. Eric is a riff god and the backbone of the band. He is an exciting player to watch and seems to be having as much fun on stage, or even more for that matter, as the people in the audience. Greg Christian is a true badass and an inspiration to watch. His musicianship and stage swagger are another component of this bands performance level, They own that stage and work every square inch of it. And while we're throwing around accolades let's make sure we give the big-man himself, Chuck Billy, a huge round of applause. First off he is the only dude that can make flared out, bell-bottomed stretch jeans look cool. Maybe they don't but I'm not going to tell him, I think he would destroy me with his incinerating metal bark! Just kind of like scream my head off my shoulder like in the movie 'Scanners' or something. Oh, and some dude was playing around with the drums back there...Who was that? What was his name? Gene FUCKING Holglan mutherfuckers!!!! Shit yes! Only one of the greatest metal drummers to walk the planet. Fuck yeah! I wish he was a full time member as he is a perfect fit and seems to have had a good history with his Bay Area bros.
TESTAMENT never come up shy on the set list and with this tour in support of one of their best albums every they did a great job sprinkling tracks from it throughout the set list. They even opened with the fist-in-the-air headbanging ripper 'Rise Up'. Fuck yeah, that ruled! From there they jumped around their extensive catalog and delivered a very well balanced set. I would have liked to hear 'The Preacher' but there was certainly no room for complaint. A friend of mine who somehow in his 40+ years has managed to always miss TESTAMENT caught them for his first time and was in awe of his performance. He was really taken aback by the audience participation. He said he couldn't believe how much everyone was singing along and how into the show they were. This dude is no stranger to the live show but commented on seeing KREATOR and seeing TESTAMENT...TESTAMENT being the obvious winners. My response was that it was all about the song writing. The Oak-town heavyweights know how to be heavy and write a good hook. That's Eric Peterson, he's got the riffs and writes memorable songs. That's why these dudes fucking rule!
Moral of this story is that when TESTAMENT comes to your town you go.
Photos by Adam at Silver and Cold Photography
He's making that dude think of seeing TESTAMENT live!!!