Killthrax Tour 2017 at Sokol Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska on April 29th, 2017.
The Killthrax Tour 2017 stopped in Omaha with thrash metal icons, Anthrax and kings of metalcore, Killswitch Engage. Supporting the Killthrax Tour was Code Orange and Devil Wears Prada. The show started promptly at 7pm with Code Orange, a hardcore band out of Pittsburgh, taking the stage and priming the crowd with a raucous 45 minute set. The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP) followed Code Orange with their equally abrasive metalcore sound, continuing to pump up the crowd with a 45-minute set of their own.
Killswitch Engage was the first of the co-headliners to take the stage. They have built a reputation for being one the best modern metal bands to see live, and their performance on Monday clearly proved why they are such a crowd favorite. They ripped through a blistering 17-song set with very little pause between songs. Stage banter was also kept to a minimum, keeping focus on the music and maintaining high energy throughout the auditorium. There were some very active pits during their performance despite Sokol Auditorium’s no mosh policy. They opened with ‘Hate By Design’ from the latest LP ‘Incarnate’, and their set spanned their entire career with extra emphasis on ‘Incarnate’ and 2004’s career breaking album ‘The End of Heartache’. They ended their performance with their stellar cover of ‘Holy Diver’ with Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna joining them onstage providing vocals and sounded eerily similar Ronnie James Dio. Killswitch’s style of metal is downright brutal, and delivered a nearly non-stop punishing performance that had the sold out crowd in a frenzy. Any modern metal fan that hasn’t seen this band yet needs to place them near the top of their live music bucket list.
Just when you thought you could take a breather from Killswitch’s high energy performance, the stage was quickly set for Anthrax. Formed in 1981, Anthrax was one of the early thrash metal bands to gain nationwide attention. They provided a fitting end to evening of modern metal that could never have happened if it weren’t for early pioneers like Anthrax. Lead singer Joey Belladonna is back and sounding as great as ever, Scott Ian banged his head nonstop sporting his signature beard and shorts, Frank Bello prowled the stage often smiling and engaging the crowd, Charlie Benante was high on a drum riser behind his large double bass kit, and Jonathan Donais absolutely killed it on lead guitar.
I found it immediately refreshing to hear Joey sing following the growling guttural vocals provided by the opening bands. Singing is nearly a lost art for many modern metal bands, but Anthrax proudly proves you can still provide killer riffs and explosive rhythms on top of strong vocals and melody lines. Their 12-song set felt a little short following Killswitch Engage, but it was an Anthrax fan’s dream. Almost half the set consisted of songs from 1987’s Among the Living, and they even opened the show with the title track. Although they did play a couple recent songs, including their new radio single ‘Breathing Lightning’, the emphasis of their performance was vintage Anthrax. I was pleasantly surprised when they ripped into ‘Medusa’, a deep cut from 85’s ‘Spreading the Disease’. They closed the show with ‘Indians’, took their bows, and exited the auditorium without an encore.
Anthrax- Killthrax Tour 2017-Sokol Auditorium Omaha. Photo by Winsel PhotographyThe Killthrax tour is a celebration of all things metal, bringing modern and vintage sounds full circle in the span of 5 hours. It was a cold and rainy night in Omaha, but it was quite hot in Sokol Auditorium before Code Orange completed their set, and an absolute sauna by the time the evening was over. It was an incredibly entertaining evening with solid performances by all bands, and a value ticket for metal fans young and old.
Show Review by Vince Andreasen
(Editor’s Note: The headline spot of the Killthrax Tour stop in Omaha went to Anthrax. I have been dying to see them again since my fist show in 1985 (yes, I am that old). The wait was over, Scott Ian (one of my bearded brethren) came out to the stage first and started playing the intro to Among the Living from the 1987 record by the same name. I found myself ignoring the task of photographing during this song because of my headbanging and singing the words with them and the rest of the crowd. Anthrax followed with another epic song, Caught in a Mosh, also off the Among the Living record. They rounded out the first three songs with Madhouse, a song from 1985’s Spreading the Disease. This set is one of the rare occasions that I stayed for the entire show and they completed their set with Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t, I Am the Law, Breathing Lightning, Efilnikufesin (NFL), Medusa, March of the SOD (a Stormtroopers of Death cover), Blood Eagle Wings, Antisocial, and Indians.I would do it again several times over).
Photos courtesy of Winsel Photography in Omaha, Nebraska. ©2017.