Arson Anthem Holds A Meeting In New Orleans With Video Footage
The Hangar was ready for the AA meeting; the floors were redone in a slick finish to make the mess easier to clean, the bar was stocked with booze, and the flasks were full. I’m talking about the Arson Anthem show, of course. I had to prepare for such an event as any Louisianian would, a tailgate complete with fried chicken, fold-out chairs, and good friends. We all had a great time before the show, but the best was yet to come. The crowd wasn’t the a-typical metalheads I thought would show up, although quite a few did. There were younger Down fans, older yuppie Pantera fans, and the curios onlooker all wanting to see what Phil Anselmo looks like behind a guitar, no doubt. I knew what to expect from Arson Anthem, but the show took some strange turns indeed.
Although Ponykiller is hard to classify, they are very well loved by metalheads as well as other people who are not so into the Devil’s music. The eerie, trippy rock confounded the headbangers who weren’t sure how to react. Frontman Collin Yeo on the mic and rhythm guitar (pulling double duty for bass in Arson Anthem) moaned and crooned the forlorn words as he also strummed his guitar incessantly. Ben Deffendall played really awesome semi-psychedelic grooves on the guitar. And newcomer Ryan Mckern manned the keys adding a deeper ambient feel to the already full music. Seeing PonyKiller is more of a sensory experience than just the ordinary band’s set at a show. PonyKiller played a short set before having to stop short for time sake; “Busketeer,” “I-5,” “Another Toxic Year,” and “Wendigo.”
Warbeast never fails to disappoint with their brand of classic thrash. Vocalist Bruce Corbitt had unfortunately left his beloved toxic orange chain link mic stand in Tennessee, but sounded just as amazing as ever with his extremely powerful, completely one-of-a-kind voice. Not to be outdone are Bobby Tillotson and Scott Shelby on the guitars taking turns for ripping, totally classic solos. And the ever increasing talent of the young drummer Joe Gonzales was showcased so very well bashing along to the thrash. The band got through songs like “Unleashed,” “Krush the Enemy,” and some new material they’ve been working on called "Birth of a Psycho." Warbeast was also joined on stage by friend Philip Anselmo for the song “Scorched Earth Policy” which you can see in the video below.
haarp is a favorite, but since there were different people at this show, they weren’t ready for vocalist Shaun Emmons literal in-your-face style of performing. He spent a good while meandering about the crowd, grabbing unsuspecting patron’s collars, bringing them to his level, and bellowing with full force head to head. He almost made his way out the front door, a very good ways away from the stage. But back on the stage, Grant Tom was doing his signature slow, fuzzy, heavy riffs, Ryan Pomes was pounding out the bass lines, and Keith Sierra was popping out the sharp beats that all rattled the steel walls of the old, cylindrical hangar. haarp has a penchant for stretching out their songs so long, they can only get through three or five before being rushed off to give someone else a chance. Same situation here; they never seem to play as long as they would like to.
Seeing Mike IX, Hank III, Phil Anselmo, and Collin Yeo on stage together is a powerful thing. Years of experience and totally different styles mixed with strong friendships make for extreme music. There was a lot of on stage banter before any music and between songs. Phil began by recanting the story of nights before, how he told off that cities football team, and the trouble it caused. Then the songs got underway. Arson Anthem ripped through their one to two minute masterpieces spanning their two albums like “Cops Shoot Coke,” “Polite Society Blacklist,” “Isolation Militia,” “Initial Prick,” and “Pretty Like That.” It was a strange show though. The show started to get weird after a young man was injured in the mosh pit, sending him out on a stretcher. The musicians seemed to forget they were playing a concert and just fooled around as if they were at a party with their best friends, although that wasn’t far off the mark. Some songs were played a few times. I think I heard “Cops Shoot Coke” at least five times. Slayer and Christ Inversion riffs were begun and never finished. And my favorite part when Scott Shelby from Warbeast jumped onstage and sang for Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love.” And they played probably over half an hour longer than they were supposed to. It was very fun, and you did indeed get a show.
I’ve heard a few people say that this show was much more like a party than a run-of-the-mill concert. And it really was. Beginning with my own tailgate, and ending with the final last song (I think there were a few false endings) every moment was filled with great music from each band, laughs, and spectacle. If you missed out on this short tour, you really did miss out.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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