Throwback Thursday Concert Review: Anthrax & Lamb of God @ Pop’s (08/08/2003)

Anthrax, Lamb of God, E. Town Concrete, Cast the Stone @ Pop’s in Sauget, IL (East St. Louis)(Friday, August 8, 2003)

Randy Blythe's signature on the ticket + Scott Ian's guitar pick
Randy Blythe’s signature on the ticket + Scott Ian’s guitar pick

This show was among a number of shows I went to during the summer of 2003 and just a few short months after my first metal show (Stone Sour) at Pop’s Nightclub & Concert Venue in Sauget, IL. Every time I went to the venue for the first few years of my concert addiction I had to lie about where I was going because my mom hated the idea of me going over to “the East Side” for fear of getting mugged, robbed and shot. To this day, none of these have ever happened to me outside Pop’s… several hundred shows and counting… Nevertheless, I now understand her worry and she came to accept my need for the thrill of live music.

 This show sticks out in my mind as one of the most memorable shows I’ve been to because it was towards the beginning of Lamb of God’s explosion in the heavy metal scene through the “New Wave of American Metal” movement. As I’ve told friends and fellow fans several times when I reminisce about this show, it was awesome seeing Lamb of God transition from opening for a Belladonna-less Anthrax in half-full rock clubs to literally destroying Ozzfest 2004 crowds on the second stage all summer long with their massive Wall of Death’s during “Black Label” to selling out those same rock clubs while headlining just over a year later in support of Ashes of the Wake alongside Fear Factory, Children of Bodom and Throwdown.

Anyone who has seen Lamb of God before knows that Randy likes to run and jump around while conjuring the demon himself with his voice. This show had a bit more energy than what’s become the norm for him because during several songs he came down to the barrier where my friend John and I were standing and leaned into the crowd trying to wake people up and join in reciting the lyrics. I also remember a shoe-less John Campbell playing 3-string bass because the string broke right at the beginning of their set and instead of replacing he said “Fuck it” and continued on like any professional performer would. Their performance is stained in my mind because I heard a few cuts from As the Palaces Burn that I have yet to hear in the 15 or 16 (?) times that I’ve seen them live since.

Lamb of God:
Ruin
Blood Junkie
Purified
11th Hour
As the Palaces Burn
In the Absence of the Sacred
Bloodletting
Bootscraper
The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion

Black Label

 Anthrax came on next and brought a nice dose of  their classic metal hits along with them. Seeing them with John Bush was an interesting change of pace because while he may not be able to hit the high notes like Joey Belladonna, he brought a fresh, raw style to the band and their stage presence. The pit exploded during songs like “Caught In A Mosh”, “Madhouse” and “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”. As at any metal show, people-watching was all part of the experience. Old school metal heads came out of the woodwork for this show. Tons of patch-filled denim vests were worn by fans of all ages.

Anthrax (John Bush):
What Doesn’t Die
Black Dahlia
Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
Caught In A Mosh
Safe Home
Inside Out
Antisocial (Trust cover)
Black Lodge
Madhouse
Refuse to Be Denied
Fueled
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Only
Be All, End All
Metal Thrashing Mad

Bring the Noise (Public Enemy cover)

The main reason I went to this show was Lamb of God. They quickly became – and still are to this day – my favorite band after I saw them live for the first time. They had the tightness and skill to please my ears with every raw riff and blasting beat of the snare. I didn’t include Cast the Stone because I didn’t catch their performance. I didn’t include E. Town Concrete because while I did watch them, the only song I can remember from them is “Mandibles“, which they did play. Otherwise, they didn’t do much for me to remember them.

Catch Lamb of God at The Pageant with Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity on May 12, 2016. For more info on set times and purchasing tickets, click here.

Cheers! \m/

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