Mega-metal month of February continued with a headlining set by thrash metal titans Testament at the Avalon Nightclub in Santa Clara. The first clue that we were in for a spectacular evening was when there wasn’t a single parking space to be found within a block of the venue. Sold out? Not sure, but damn close; I’ve never seen so many people crammed into the Avalon.
10:30 rolled around Testament took the stage to an eager crowd including quite a few kids … most likely the children of old-time fans. After nearly 30 years, these guys clearly still have the energy and enthusiasm to put it all out there for a phenomenal set.
The crowd was absolutely nuts! Standing in the cramped photo pit as security fended off the crowd surfers, the vibe was insane … there were grins all around as the metal masters thrashed through classic after classic. Trying to photograph Chuck Billy, who air-guitared his ass off with his lighted half-mic stand is like trying to photograph a redwood tree from up-close. The guy is massive in both stature as well as personality. And not to take a thing away from any of the other musicians, but Skolnick is a force! Shredding his ass off … entertaining and dynamic as any metal guitarist in the business. There’s nothing quite like seeing a band and a crowd in perfect simpatico.
And you know what’s great about the San Francisco Bay Area metal scene? The bands support each other. Not only did Steve Souza from Hatriot … who sang for Testament’s predecessor Legacy as well as a post-Baloff Exodus … come out to sing a song with Testament, but Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer), Phil Demmel (Machine Head) and Ted Aguilar (Death Angel) were all in the house to witness the spectacle. Respect.
- The Preacher
- The New Order
- The Persecuted Won’t Forget
- Practice What You Preach
- Over The Wall
- Souls of Black
- Into The Pit
- The Haunting
- Electric Crown
- Henchmen Ride
- More Than Meets The Eye
- Disciples Of The Watch
- 3 Days In Darkness
- The Formation of Damnation
Supporting acts: Angerhead, Hatriot
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