2016’s most brutal tour built to a crushing climax on Friday night at the Hollywood Palladium, as Texas thrashers Power Trip joined jam metal sensation Deafheaven supporting the legendary Anthrax and absolute masters of all that is heavy, motherf*cking Lamb of God from Richmond motherf*cking Virginia.
The sold-out final show only had a few hundred fans on the floor when Power Trip took the stage, but the band quickly won over the crowd with a ferocious set of blistering punk metal. Boasting flashy solos and beastly drumming, it quickly became obvious why Power Trip was invited on this tour; they kick ass!
Up next was Deafheaven, who crushed through several long, slow and intense metal jams. With low lighting and a muted stage presence, the band let their riffs speak for themselves. They were also joined for a surprise finish by Randy Blythe for the song Dream House, bolstered by Randy’s bowel-shaking roars.
Anthrax was the night’s first headliner, and the boys from the Bronx absolutely owned the crowd. Opening with Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t, Joey, Scott, Frank, Charlie and new lead guitarist Jon Donais flew across the stage in a frenzy of headbanging and guitar shredding. The group blasted through Caught In A Mosh and Got The Time while fans bounced around and crowdsurfed across the Palladium floor.
With only a 50 minute set, Anthrax had to cram in every song they could (read my January interview with Frank here for his thoughts on choosing set songs) and they cranked out one more favorite in Antisocial before new songs Evil Twin and Breathing Lightning. But the end of the set was reserved for crowd thriller Indians, and with a pit raging on the center of the floor Joey, Frank and Scott whipped the fans into a frenzy for one final war dance before calling it a night.
As good as Anthrax was, and they were head-bangingly fantastic, it was still Lamb of God who owned the night. LoG teased Los Angeles over the summer with a free five song set at Jimmy Kimmel Live (read about it here), but we’ve been overdue for the real thing. Randy’s lanky strides onto the stage generated massive roars from the crowd, backed by crushing guitars from Mark and Willie and dramatic video clips of imploding buildings.
Lamb of God opened the night with a brutal triple hit of Desolation, new song 512, and old school track Walk With Me In Hell. Randy’s howling vocals kept the packed house moving down below, while fans up on the Palladium’s second floor headbanged over the edge for all they were worth.
For another solid hour, Randy & Co thrashed and smashed their way through some of their most violent tracks, hitting classics like The Faded Line and Now You’ve Got Something To Die For, which was dedicated to soldiers overseas. They also premiered new songs like Still Echoes and surprisingly, Overlord, the very first LoG track to feature some melodic singing before crunching into Randy’s usual roars.
Overlord was a pleasant treat into something different from Lamb of God’s usual scorched Earth style of live shows, but lest anyone think they were going soft, the band wrapped up the night with Vigil, Laid To Rest, and fan favorite Redneck, which saw the Palladium pit open to nearly the entire width of the floor for one final beer-soaked circle rampage, including one particularly brave metalhead on crutches who nonetheless moshed for all he was worth.
In an end-of-tour surprise finish, Randy then invited Scott and Charlie out for a Stormtrooper of Death cover of United Forces, which also saw the guys from Power Trip and Deafheaven run out on stage to rock out in a heartwarming moment of heavy metal camaraderie.
Thus ended Lamb of God’s 2016 winter tour, and damn did it feel good.. Exiting into the warm SoCal air at midnight to the smells of street hotdogs and the sight of short-skirted girls stumbling out of Hollywood clubs, metalheads high fived and compared scars and bruises from the pit as t-shirt hawkers displayed their goods. Fans will return to the Palladium in a few short weeks for Megadeth’s already-sold out show (also featuring Lamb of God’s Chris Adler), and in the meantime, with ears still ringing from Friday night, we once again have something to die for.