Tonight was a gig I'd been looking forward to since it was announced - Anthrax playing a small venue like the Oxford Academy. Judging by the fact that tickets sold out quickly then plenty of other people were looking forward to tonight as well. There were large queues outside the venue before the doors opened with people wanting to get a good spot near the front.
By the time the first band came on the venue was probably two-thirds full - almost unheard of at such an early time. The first band were Manchester band Obsesssive Compulsive who have been opening for Anthrax on the whole of the tour and who seem totally unfazed by the large crowd. Obsessive Compulsive have a heavy grunge rock/metal sound and seem to go down very well with the crowd here tonight. They certainly impressed me enough for me to head to the merchandise stand later in the evening to pick up a copy of their album.
Next up were Chicago thrashers Diamond Plate. For many people tonight they were an unknown - nobody I spoke to had heard anything by them before they came on stage. The band quickly made a good impression with the crowd though - their heavy thrash went down very well with these Anthrax fans and I'm sure they'll have made some new fans tonight.
Tonight though people were here to hear one band in particular - the mighty Anthrax. Apart from festival appearances they havent played much in the UK in recent years so this tour was always going to attract a lot of fans. Before they came on stage the venue was so packed it was hard to move and fighting my way through the crowd to the photo pit was hard work.
They came on stage to the sounds of "Worship" from their latest album, Worship Music, before launching into two songs from the album - "Earth on hell" and "Fight em till you can't". The crowd were loving it, and why not - the new album is great, and Anthrax are clearly on killer form tonight. For the third song though the crowd goes crazy - its "Caught in a mosh" and unsurprisingly a mosh pit opened up. The setlist tonight is split between new songs (four from the current album) and classics and all go down really well. For Indians Joey Belladonna gets quite a few people doing the wardance. On stage the band are a blur of energy - Joey Belladonna spends the entire show charging around the stage and Scott Ian also spends a large part of the show striding around. The main set ends with "Among the living" and the crowd are left cheering for more. Anthrax respond by coming back and playing Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) before launching into a blistering version of one my my favourite Anthrax songs - Madhouse. We then get "Metal Thrashing mad" before the band start playing "I'm the man" - a song I've never heard them play live. Sadly we just get a short piece of this before they move into the final song of the night - "I am the law". What a great end to a fantastic set and a great night of music.
Obsessive compulsive setlist:
Spit the medicine
Earth on Hell
Fight 'Em Till You Can't
Caught in a Mosh
The Devil You Know
In the End
Got the Time
Among the Living
Metal Thrashing Mad
I'm the Man (short piece leading into I am the law)
I Am the Law