Metal horns were up and in the air in Charlotte this past Wednesday as thrash masters Anthrax and metalcore maniacs Killswitch Engage made at stop at The Fillmore on their co-headlining Killthrax tour.   The crowd was lined up early anxiously waiting for the doors to open to make the mad rush to the barricade to be front and center for a night of metal madness.

As the sound system cranked out AC/DC’s “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” over the venue’s loudspeakers, the fans got ready knowing that KSE was about to hit the stage. Led by frontman Jesse Leach, KSE began their attack with fan favorite “Rose of Sharyn.” The band as always was tight as ever with guitarists Joel Stroetzel and madman guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz hammering out some major riffage. Drummer Justin Foley was solid behind the kit while bassist Mike D’Antonio was on fire lunging, jumping, and spinning all over the place as red lights lit up the stage accompanied by flashing strobes. Vocally Leach was in fine form as he interacted with the fans up front leading Killswitch through “My Curse” before Dutkiewicz in his white “Trash” headband introduced “This Is Absolution.” Their set included a great mix of older favorites and newer tunes including the slow burner “Always” and radio hit “In Due Time.” Being that this is a co-headline tour, the crowd was treated to a full set from Killswitch giving them everything they could ask for and more. Closing out the set with the Dio cover “Holy Diver,” Leach shared vocals with none other than Joey Belladonna of Anthrax as he shouted for the crowd to “Sing it for Dio!” It was an outstanding performance by one of the most underrated and talented metal bands out there and a perfect start to the evening.

After a short break, Anthrax’s intro music began as Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” blasted through the venue getting the crowd amped up with the first few rows exploding with energy and shouting out the “666” chorus. The lights then dimmed as Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” began to play. It was almost game time folks and the thrash of one of the Big Four was about to unleash in all its metal glory. Charlie Benante took his spot behind his massive drum kit with the Anthrax banner behind him as the band tore into “Among The Living.” It was about the only time you could see Charlie all night save for a few glimpses of hands and sticks flying in the air as the night went on. Guitarist Scott Ian took his spot stage left as frontman Joey Belladonna raged in the front of the stage with his mic stand in hand. “Caught In A Mosh” quickly followed and the venue absolutely erupted. Anthrax is a band that always puts on an energetic, high-powered show and tonight would be no exception. Part of the reason for their spirited stage presence is the dynamic performance of bassist Frank Bello. He is one of my favorite musicians because he really is a ball of fire out there, running, jumping, spinning, slamming on his bass, and posing animatedly for the crowd. Guitarist Jonathan Donais has been with the band since 2015 and although he is a bit more laid back than the rest of the band on stage, his technical prowess and ripping leads are second to none. Belladonna had the crowd ramped up as he ran them through Anthrax classics like “Madhouse.” The setlist was a real throwback with only two tunes from their last tunes albums “Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t” and “Breathing Lightning” earninng a spot on the list.   All fists were in the air as the crowd took over the chorus on Trust’s “Antisocial” raising the roof on the Fillmore. Anthrax wasn’t quite done as Belladonna asked the fans if they were ready for a war cry before launching into “Indians” to close out their set. Nobody wanted the night to end but as they say all good things must come to an end but not before the tape of Rainbow’s “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” came on with Joey belting out the classic rock line to the crowd as the band exited the stage.

The Killthrax tour is really a metal show for true metalheads and one you won’t want to miss if they roll through your city.   You won’t find glitz and glamour or the explosions and lasers of some of the bigger bands. Instead you will find extremely talented musicians tearing up the stage doing what they do best for the love of the music. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll!”

Killswitch Engage Set List:

Rose of Sharyn

Strength of the Mind

Life To Lifeless

My Curse

This Is Absolution

When Darkness Falls

As Daylight Dies

No End In Sight

Hate By Design

Vida Infra

Always

My Last Serenade

Embrace the Journey…Upraised

Beyond the Flames

The End of Heartache

In Due Time

Holy Diver (Dio cover)

 

Anthrax Set List:

 

Among the Living

Caught in a Mosh

Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)

Madhouse

Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t

Breathing Lightning

Medusa

Intro to Reality

Belly of the Beast

Be All End All

Antisocial (Trust cover)

Indians

Photo Gallery

We would like to thank Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald from Herfitz PR and Amy Sciarretto from Atom Splitter PR  for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978. My top five live shows ever are: 1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome. 2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours. 3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 - The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked! 4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live. 5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.