Philip Anselmo &The Illegals @ HOB, Chicago (US)

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PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS / WARBEAST / AUTHOR & PUNISHER

Date: 04th August, 2013
Venue: House Of Blues Chicago
Ticket: $41(€31)
Promoter: n/a


DimK: This was a really cool Sunday evening and it was about to become a little bit steamy since PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS would play for the first time in Chicago. Along with them, they had their friends and label mates WARBEAST, a name that should be familiar to you due to Bruce Corbitt’s RIGOR MORTIS past and – what’s most important – is because they nailed it live.

So, after having confirmed that this show would be hosted at House Of Blues in Chicago, we arrived at the venue 10 minutes before the billing opener. Apparently the schedule had been pushed back a little, so by the time we were inside the venue, AUTHOR & PUNISHER was playing his last song. The reason for putting these words in italics is that AUTHOR & PUNISHER is actually an one-man band based on keyboards, electronic sounds and heavily distorted vocals. Honestly this could have been a really tough steak for me to bite, so in the end I was happy I missed his set, so I have nothing to write about.

I was expecting to see more people inside the venue but I guess the late-for-a-Sunday start and the age restriction had already taken their toll. Still, no matter the day or the time a metalhead should go to a show, although I have to admit getting to House Of Blues can be a really pricey experience, especially if you're driving there. Anyway, by the time the lights had been dimmed, the arena did not look that bad as the intro of the brand new WARBEAST album entitled “Cryogenic Thawout” was warming us up with an awesome sound. Having toured for quite a while, WARBEAST have gained a lot of confidence points despite the fact in this tour they were using a stepping drummer. Anyway, after the nice warm-up that woke up the audience, Bruce appeared onstage and kicked-off the solid Thrash setlist with “Nightmares In The Sky”. Well, this could have been better if his mic was properly working but fortunately it did not take too much time to get fixed. So, “Egotistical Bastard” hit us hard with the massive sound and the mid-tempo start that slowly builds up the tension guided by the killer guitar leads and the solid rhythm section. By the way, Case Orr looks extremely comfortable behind the bass and I guess he did not want too many shows to fit to the band from Texas (after all, he has been a bandmate with Bruce in RIGOR MORTIS).

Sure, the majority of the audience had come to see Philip so it was kind of expected to see a slow start. But this is exactly the situation for a band to shine; I mean if you have an already pumped-up crowd, then you don’t have to work hard for it. So, WARBEAST wore their best face and stormed the setlist like they were playing in packed venue. And man, that eventually paid out! The amazing riff of “Nobody” and the staccato “Warbeast” fired up the front lines and soon enough the Thrash vibe had affected most of the people in the arena. “I wanna see a mosh-pit Chicago, so this is your time” said Bruce during “Birth Of A Psycho” and so a bunch of guys got right into it. Yeah, this is the Thrash I like to watch and listen and the duet from the band’s debut “Scorched Earth Policy” and “Krush The Enemy” dropped the curtain for a set that I have to admit seemed kind of short - it stopped the moment everyone was getting really warmed up. I am sure we will get another chance to enjoy more Thrash from WARBEAST in the not so distant future.

WARBEAST setlist:

01. Cryogenic Thawout
02. Nightmares In The Sky
03. Egotistical Bastard
04. Nobody
05. Warbeast
06. Blood Moon
07. War Of The Worlds
08. Birth Of A Psycho
09. Scorched Earth Policy
10. Krush The Enemy

WARBEAST

Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Warbeast @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)


MariaV: I’m not a f***ing music critic, I’m just a fan, so every time I have to deal with a Metal fan onstage, the resulting sign of the equation is always positive. I have been following Philip H. Anselmo from his PANTERA days (who hasn’t?) and I was stocked when the PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS tour was announced (are these dudes really illegals?! Or wannabe?), to spread some ass-kicking Metal across the US. It’s almost a year ago since Philip’s last visit in Chicago (yup, last September’s DOWN show was quite memorable to say the least) and there I was waiting for the crew to get everything ready after the WARBEAST old-school Thrash invasion while I was wondering where the heck had all those metalheads who were present at the sold-out DOWN show back then. Of course, I can understand the frustration having a show on a Sunday night while the legendary ‘Lollapalooza’ fest was happening a few blocks away, but again, to me this is not an excuse for a half-empty venue when Philip is coming to town.

Almost ten minutes before 10pm, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS finally stepped onstage and spreading waves of enthusiasm after the rather strange intro. “How many of you have listened to our album?” Philip asked and saw the majority of hands inside the cozy House Of Blues (yup, it was, since you could easily walk among the attendees that night) in the air proving that these Chicagoans weren’t there only just to boast “I was there too”, but were genuine fans like me who came to have one more unforgettable night with Mr. Anselmo, no matter the moniker of the band he plays under. The first notes of “Music Media Is My Whore” filled the venue, and man, this one sounded a lot better live than on the record. And yes, I was impressed by Philip’s screams that sounded so strong despite the fact he has long-passed his 20s. Marzi and Stephen were powerful 'partners in crime' (aka the illegals) pounding the guitar and bass respectively, while Joey seemed to enjoy every moment sweating behind the drum kit like a beast, making us missing him even more from the WARBEAST set.

Philip is also known for his straightforward interaction with the crowd (one more element that makes him so loveable to the Metal fans out there), and that night was not an exception. He was definitely in a good mood, talking to the audience who had clearly a fiery thirst for some PANTERA tracks (ok, those didn’t take long to come anyway). “Battalion Of Zero”, “Betrayed” and “Usurper’s Bastard Rant” hit us like there was no tomorrow and it was quite impressive how fast the crowd got moving. Right after the “Walk Through Exits Only” / “Conflict” double attack, it was PANTERA time, and everybody went bananas listening to the first notes of “Death Rattle”; the sound was superb, the band was tight as hell and in the middle of this genuine-Metal storm, there was Philip spitting the lyrics with the most natural way as he does for 25+ years now.

“Here is something from the ARSON ANTHEM thing I had with EYEHATEGOD’s Mike Williams and the reason I’m doing this is for the new kids to pass the word around and don’t forget this”, Philip said seconds before “Wrecked Like Clockwork” hit our necks and I have to admit it was sight for sore eyes watching the audience’s response to the most underground stuff. “Bedroom Destroyer” (which was dedicated by Anselmo to all the ladies at the venue that night who are putting up with us) and “Bedridden” passed the baton to the first track Philip and THE ILLEGALS wrote together, “Family, Friends And Associates” and it didn’t take long for one more circle-pit to appear, right in the middle of HOB – during which it was really cool watching WARBEAST’s beast-guitarist Scott Shelby participating in the violent festivities. One more highlight was the band’s attempt to cover LED ZEPPELIN’s “Dazed And Confused” – at least till the first refrain, which sounded beautifully out-of-the-ordinary. I’d love to listen to the entire cover...

“Irrelevant Walls And Computer Screens” (dedicated by Philip to all the people hidden behind a keyboard during these awkward internet days) marked the end of PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS’ regular set, but the band didn’t seem to be tired at all. In fact, they got back onstage pretty quick (I don’t know if there was a time-restriction issue), offering more PANTERA goods (and yes, I’m pretty sure I detected the super-groovy guitar intro of “Walk” right in the beginning of the “Domination” / “Hollow” medley). The band maintained the energy surge and topped the setlist off with “Primal Concrete Sledge” after thanking each and everyone present for the constant support. The last 90 minutes belonged already to the Metal-live-concert history and all the fans seemed extremely happy (including me) with what they have been treated. Let’s not forget that the band did not really leave the stage, and stayed to sign whatever the fans were passing to them. That is a sincere ‘thank you’ for all their support, right? Don’t miss this tour!

PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS setlist:

01. “Black Houses” (intro)
02. “Music Media Is My Whore”
03. “Battalion Of Zero”
04. “Betrayed”
05. “Usurper’s Bastard Rant”
06. “Walk Through Exits Only”
07. “Conflict”
08. “Death Rattle” (PANTERA cover)
09. “Fuck Your Enemy” (SUPERJOINT RITUAL cover)
10. “Wrecked Like Clockwork” (ARSON ANTHEM cover)
11. “Bedroom Destroyer”
12. Guitar Solo
13. “Bedridden”
14. “Family, Friends And Associates” / “Dazed And Confused” (LED ZEPPELIN excerpt)
15. “Irrelevant Walls And Computer Screens”
16. Guitar Solo
17. “Domination” / “Hollow” (PANTERA cover)
18. “Primal Concrete Sledge”

PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS

Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals @ House Of Blues, Chicago (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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