Anthrax @ Gagarin205, Athens (GRE)

ANTHRAX / EXARSIS

Date: 28th July, 2013
Venue: Gagarin205 Club
Ticket: €26 ($34) / €31 ($41) (day of show)
Promoter: n/a


It was the first time I was going to see ANTHRAX performing as headliners after three decades of career; talking ‘bout the Greek reality... Anyway, the anticipation was high and so was the temperature while heading to Gagarin205 club on a sweaty Sunday afternoon. Would the American part-of-the-Big-Four outfit fulfill our expectations for a ‘moshpit crazy’ recital consisting of a greatest hits set? The answer was to be given some time later while walking out with a relatively nice smile in our faces.

Athenian Thrashers EXARSIS was the supporting act and as soon as they had hit the stage, it was evident they would not let the chance of showing their teeth pass by. I had seen this five-piece act a lot of times in the past in underground gigs and every time they were marvelous, but supporting a big band was a completely different situation. Truth is they hit the lights like a big band in the beginning and their friends already gathered in the front rows raised the flag high with pleasant moshpits and fun crowd-surfing. The band enjoyed their appearance and performed songs from both their full-length CDs so far and my only objection would be that the solos were not performed adequately well I’m afraid. The piercing vocals of frontman Alex are a love-or-hate situation but the general Bay Area Thrash done by EXARSIS that evening was executed generally well with good friendly violently fun.

Some more than 800 faces were eagerly waiting for the New Yorkers to grab them by the balls and as soon as the first notes of “Among The Living” started coming out from the speakers it was time for some Thrash mania to electrify the atmosphere. The band stormed in a fine mood and so was the crowd with mainly young thrashers doing their thing moshing and surfing while the older generation was seated in the back rows equally enjoying the show. Scott Ian and Co. did not find it difficult at all to raise hell in their first debut headlining show in Greece and with a setlist full of mainly golden hits it was only a matter of personal craftsmanship to see if the gig would be certified as a monumental one; and this is an ace in ANTHRAX’s sleeve.

Joey Belladonna is a charismatic frontman and his constant big smile guaranteed a pleasant stay for the band’s music. He communicated with the audience rather vividly and seemed to be shocked by their reaction in some moments of the show. Scott was the humorous side of the band even if he – at some time – got a little bit angry against fans throwing water at him (“...how am I supposed to play the solo of “Got The Time”?...” he mumbled) but in general his smile was the positive energy of ANTHRAX throughout the whole set. The Bello / Jon Dette (filling in for Benante) rhythm section was the living proof of groovy Thrash mania with never letting down the energy of the songs while Jonathan Donais (a touring member for the US band) was sharp and precise in his solo work but staying off the spotlight for the entire concert. Truth is the main attraction here was the setlist anyway, consisting of golden oldies, a couple of new numbers from the “Worship Music” CD plus the infamous ‘covers’ part and a dedication section to Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag Darrell.

In general, it was a ‘well done!’ gig with full energy from ANTHRAX and some nice reaction by the crowd. The setlist could have been a little bit longer I think but – on the other hand – it’s not that easy to perform this kind of music for e.g. two hours in a row when you’re in your fifties now, right? The merchandise prices were extremely high, don’t forget, but the money spent on this show was worth every cent on the other hand. Scott promised the band will visit again Greece for a headlining show soon and we have to do is wait and see. Till then, let’s not forget this evening where we were endlessly caught in a mosh.

ANTHRAX setlist:

01. “Among The Living”
02. “Caught In A Mosh”
03. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”
04. “In The End”
05. “Deathrider”
06. “TNT”
07. “The Devil You Know”
08. “Indians”
09. “Medusa”
10. “Got The Time”
11. “Fight ‘Em ‘Till You Can’t”
12. “I Am The Law”
13. “Madhouse”
14. “Antisocial”