Over the years I have been to some amazing shows in the Academy 3 in Manchester, with the small venue often being turned into a swirling mass of bodies as pits and stage-divers come from all angles always making for a quality atmosphere. Tonight’s show promises to be up with the best of them as thrash legends Exodus come to town.
Exxxekutioner were up first and even though I hadn’t heard too much from these guys, what I had heard certainly made for an exciting prospect, and they more than lived up to that. The Salford-based band played a short but excellent set of old school thrash that got some early pits fired up in the impressive crowd. On what was already one of the hottest days of the year, the young band turned up the temperature a few more degrees and gave the two veteran bands following a lot to live up to.
Up next was the punk/thrash crossover of the English Dogs. With a new album to promote, the band threw in a few new tracks alongside material from throughout their long career. With a former member coming back into the fold for these shows as cover, the band upped the ante slightly from the impressive openers. A few more pits opening up and vocalist Adie taking the opportunity to get onto the barriers to get up close and personal to the crowd, as they clawed and clamoured for more. Perfectly at home with a more metal line-up, the crowd was suitably warmed up (in the increasingly hot venue) for the main act.
What is there to say about the headliners that hasn’t been said over the past 30 years? One of the old school Bay Area bands, they may have been left behind by the Big Four festival and stadium shows but luckily for them they have been left to their natural environment, and they are all the better for it. Some lighthearted remarks as to the absence of Gary Holt (who left to become a permanent member of Slayer) aside, the band ploughed through a glorious hour and a bit of some of the standards that have made the band so iconic within their scene. ‘Bonded By Blood’, ‘Toxic Waltz’ and ‘Metal Command’ still sound as fierce and threatening as they ever did and the new material fits in alongside such classics with ease. The pits got more and more fevered and the room became uncomfortably warm, but the energy showed no evidence of dying down. With vocalist Steve Souza demanding more and more from the crowd, the fans were eager to please and came back bigger and better with each and every song that passed. An awesome show from one of the biggest names in the business, and with the new generation opening the show, there is plenty of life left in thrash yet and on this showing it’s in good hands for years to come.
English Dogs setlist:
Forward Into Battle, The Final Conquest, Ultimate Sacrifice, Gorgonised, Ambassador Of Fear, Wall Of Steel, The Thing Shall Arise, The Chase Is On, Survival Of The Fittest
Black 13, Blood In, Blood Out, Iconoclasm, Children Of A Worthless God, Piranha, Salt The Wound, Pleasures Of The Flesh, Body Harvest, Metal Command, The Last Act Of Defiance, Blacklist, A Lesson In Violence, Bonded By Blood, War Is My Shepherd, The Toxic Waltz, Strike Of The Beast