Slayer Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 18, 2014
Whew! What a whirlwind it’s been the last month with all of the shows and there’s no sign of it slowing down yet! Last night was not slow. Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer were in town to play a sold out show at the Moody Theater (aka ACL Live). I still can’t believe a show like this got booked at such a classy venue, but I’m glad it did and hope that it opens the door for more metal there. Let’s get right into this…
Exodus hit the stage promptly at 7:30PM with Black 13 and Blood In, Blood out from their latest release of the same name. They were fast, tight and Steve Souza sounded great. They only got 30 minutes for their set which is by far too short for a band with such a back catalog. They rolled right into Blacklist from Tempo of the Damned then gave the crowd what they wanted in the form of Bonded By Blood, Toxic Waltz and Strike of the Beast. I’m in the minority when I say I don’t like the Bonded By Blood album. I’ve bought it several times over the years and it just never caught on to me. However, I do love Fabulous Disaster and Pleasures of the Flesh. Gary Holt is doing double duty with Exodus and Slayer and he and the whole band sounded great. Tom Hunting is always the highlight for me in seeing Exodus live. He’s got such a unique style and watching him play last night was certainly a treat.
I’m not the biggest Suicidal Tendencies fan but do love that late 80s pre-funk ST stuff. Last night I became a bigger fan, at least in a live setting. Mike Muir hit the stage looking healthy and just sounded clear and coherent all night. The show I saw a few years back was pretty awful. The backing band last night was totally kickass too. Especially the drummer. Holy shit that guy was a beast. They opened with an extended version of You Can’t Bring Me Down and went right into Freedumb from their 1999 release of the same name. They mixed the set up with songs from Join the Army, the self-titled LP, Lights Camera Revolution, How Will I Laugh and 13. The crowd was completely into it and there was a decent pit most of the time they were playing. Highlights for me were War Inside My Head and How Will I Laugh Tomorrow . Again, Suicidal brought their best game last night and blew me away.
Up next…SLAYER! I’ve been a big fan since Reign In Blood, main reason being Dave Lombardo’s drumming. Well, Dave’s not in the band anymore and it’s completely obvious, at least to me it is. More on that later. Slayer opened up with World Painted Blood and flowed right into Post Mortem. They only played 5 post -Seasons era songs and that was fine by me. They sounded great early in the set but it seemed to deteriorate ever so slightly as the set progressed. They are an intense band and I can’t imagine playing night after night with that intensity, but if it was my job, I’m sure I’d make it work. Araya’s voice sounded great and was actually better than when I saw the Seasons anniversary tour. For me what was brought the show down a notch or two was the lack of Lombardo behind the kit. He brings a certain intensity (I know I’m using that word a lot but it fits) to Slayer and it was missing last night. This is no slight to Paul Bostaph who is a damn fine drummer in his own right, but he’s no Lombardo. Few are. Slayer is like the Rush of thrash metal. Rush fans want to hear all of Peart’s fills and Slayer fans, especially yours truly, wants to hear Lombardo’s stuff played properly. Bostaph did a good job and that’s why he’s in the band. But there were just some little things that made it hard for me to totally enjoy him and the band last night. His double bass work in some songs wasn’t very consistent. Maybe he was having an off night, I don’t know. I remember when I was gigging regularly as a drummer that off nights happen. Sometimes you’re just not in “the pocket.” None of this is to say Slayer put on a bad show, I’m not sure that they could, I’m just saying that I miss Dave behind the kit and the band just seemed out of sorts last night. I went so far as to rename them “Slower”, but that’s probably not too fair. I do need to mention that Kerry King was as solid as ever and I loved his Raiders/Biletnikoff jersey. Gary Holt did fine playing Hanneman’s parts. Holt is a good guitarist all the way around.
In the unlikely even that he comes back to the band again, last night was probably my last Slayer show (that I’d pay for). The setlist was good and I’m really glad I got to hear At Dawn They Sleep, Chemical Warfare, Hell Awaits and Die By The Sword.
Long live Slayer and RIP Jeff Hannemann. It was a good night.
Written by The Metal Files
November 19, 2014 at 9:19 am