As major touring season is coming to a close and a memorable year of concerts approaching to an end, The Washington Avenue Armory was graced by metal’s best bands: Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies, and main headliner Slayer, to a three thousand plus crowd on November 25. Before, during, and after the show, there lots of people screaming “Slayerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”
I was late arriving to the show after being stuck in traffic in Herkimer County, and the line to show was still massive when I arrived, so I wound up missing most of Exodus set, but managed to catch their last two songs “The Toxic Waltz” and “Strike Of The Beast.” Judging by the crowd, they definitely made an impact, they sounded loud, clean, and vital as ever. The recent arrival of vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza couldn’t have come at a better time for the band.
When Suicidal Tendencies hit the stage, they whipped the crowd clean across the floor. I have never seen any band perform they way they do. It was like they had five frontmen in the band because all five of them were all over the place. Vocalist Mike Muir at age 51 is going absolutely bananas on stage and performs better than any twenty-something person from what I can tell. They opened with my favorite song, “You Can’t Bring Me Down.” Although Mike Muir is the only original member left in S.T., this currently lineup has something special going on and S.T. is here to stay for a long time.
Suicidal Tendencies also did a great job doing a set list that contained songs that were more “thrashier” to really please the crowd. The second song they played was “Freedumb” before getting the crowd to participate in the classic “War Inside My Head.” After they played “Subliminal” the band took a break and Mike Muir addressed the crowd about the bands history and their love for skateboarding and played one of their trademark songs, “Possessed To Skate.” Then what was probably the highlight of their set, they played “I Saw Your Mommy” before ending their set with “Cyco Vision” and “Pledge Your Allegiance.” I was kind of surprised they didn’t pay tribute to Tim Williams who sadly passed away recently, but did have t-shirts of him over at the merch table. They didn’t play “Institutionalized” but they didn’t need to with such a good performance.
Finally, Slayer arrived on the stage to make everyone’s ears bleed. This time through, Slayer’s production was massive with four giant upside down crosses hanging above the stage and multiple backdrops throughout their set. They played for almost two hours, ripping through their set, going song after song taking very minimal breaks. Guitarist Gary Hoyt who is pulling a double duty on this tour with Exodus and Slayer, was on stage replacing the late Jeff Hanneman, and did a respectable job in playing Hanneman’s parts. Paul Bostaph was behind the kit, also doing a hell of a job. If you were blind, you would not even know it’s not the original lineup. Tom Araya sounds furious as he ever did, and Kerry King is still boss on guitar.
Now for me, I did see the original lineup five years ago and it was sad not to see Hannaman there, but it’s a damn shame things didn’t work out with Dave Lombardo, but if it was your first time seeing Slayer, you wouldn’t care because their performance was clutch and top notch. They opened with “World Painted Blood” and other highlights included “Chemical Warfare,” “War Ensemble,” “Hell Awaits,” and “Jesus Saves.” But the best part of the show was when they played “Seasons In The Abyss” because just about all of their set was heavy, up tempo songs, but when they switched it up and played “Seasons In The Abyss,” hearing a slower song seemed to stand out more, and the stage lights went from what was primarily red through the whole show to yellow. At the end of their set, they wrapped things up with their trademark “Raining Blood, Psychopathy Red” before finishing up with “South Of Heaven” (which sounded really fantastic before paying tribute to Hanneman for “Angel Of Death” with a backdrop dedicated to him on display. Even though Slayer at this point of their career it’s more about their business and keeping it going, it doesn’t stop them from giving a performance for their insane fans.
Overall a fantastic show, personally I thought Suicidal Tendencies owned the show, but obviously the crowd was there for their lords and saviors Slayer. I would imagine all three bands will be back in Albany sooner or later.