The Metal Alliance Tour tore through San Francisco Thursday night with a show at the Regency Ballroom. With Anthrax headlining and support from two Bay Area heavyweights, Exodus and High On Fire, it should come as no surprise that this show sold out days in advance.

The Metal Alliance Tour tore through San Francisco Thursday night with a show at the Regency Ballroom. With Anthrax headlining and support from two Bay Area heavyweights, Exodus and High On Fire, it should come as no surprise that this show sold out days in advance. Throw Holy Grail and and thrash punks Municipal Waste into the mix and you not only have what is arguably the best line-up in the tour’s three year history, but also a volatile cocktail with an imminent boil-over … the only question was when.

Set times seemed to be shifting all over the place in the hours leading up to the show but the good news is that by the time doors opened, there was a good-sized line winding along Van Ness and down the neighboring alley. Unfortunately for openers Holy Grail, those doors were opened about one minute before they started playing. Maybe as an act of kindness, the staff left the doors to the auditorium open so that the folks clamoring to get in could at least hear what they were missing. For those that did make it through the doors in time, they wasted no time stirring things up on the floor to Holy Grail’s retro-thrash. It’s a shame that more people weren’t there to see the 25 minute set which definitely set the tone for the evening.

By the time Municipal Waste took the stage, it appeared that most of the folks that were outside at 7 pm had made their way in, filling the floor with no shortage of MW fans who, as soon as the lights dimmed, began chanting, “Municipal Waste is gonna f*** you up!” This is where the floor really opened up … kids thrashing to a rapid-fire set list that crammed some ten-odd songs into 25 minutes, ending the set where the crowd started things off with “Born To Party.”

Up next was High On Fire which, while less thrashy than the rest of the night’s line-up, was no less powerful in its delivery. Unfortunately High On Fire’s set time ended up being cut by 10 minutes in the scheduling snafu, maybe leaving some fans short-changed. Hopefully we’ll see these guys play again in the Bay soon with a proper set.

To say that San Francisco loves their Exodus would be an extreme understatement. By the time 9:05 rolled around, there were no excuses left for people to not be inside the Regency and the floor was absolutely packed and ready to rumble. When the band took the stage and broke into “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles,” the place went absolutely bat-shit … no-doubt setting a house record for the largest pit to date. The band was absolutely fired up with Holt and Altus prowling the stage edge-to-edge. Rob Dukes, always a monster presence, was clearly reveling in the mayhem before him yet felt the need to push the crowd to the edge during “Bonded By Blood” and “The Toxic Waltz” as if that was somehow necessary. As a surprise, Exodus brought out former guitar player Rick Hunolt for “Strike of the Beast.” One can imagine the guys from Anthrax watching from the side of the stage thinking, “holy shit, how do we follow that!”

Well follow it, Anthrax did … no doubt inspired by the energetic crowd and blistering performance by Exodus. Despite a few fill-in musicians, namely Jon Donais from Shadows Fall filling in for the recently departed Rob Caggiano and Jon Dette mysteriously filling in on drums for Charlie Benante on drums, Anthrax didn’t miss a beat. Scott Ian was beard-banging up a storm and Belladonna paced the stage with a giant smile on his face, clearly the happiest guy in metal. If there was any concern on the part of the band with following Exodus in front of their hometown crowd, it quickly evaporated. The audience certainly did not let up throughout the set, even prompting Scott Ian to remark late in the set that San Francisco metal crowds had to be in the best shape ever because the pit never let up the entire night. If you’ve been following the news, you would have heard that Slash joined Anthrax on stage in L.A. Not to be outdone by it’s neighbors to the south, the Bay Area got special guest Kirk Hammett on guitar for AC/DC’s “TNT” (which made an appearance on Anthrax’s latest covers EP, Anthems). Throw in a touching tribute to Ronnie James Dio and a few rarities from Among the Living and it’s hard to find anything to complain about during the 90 minute set.

Overall an amazing show and the San Francisco crowd deserves major props for bringing the most out of these bands. Despite the scheduling hiccups, this was without a doubt the best metal show to hit the Bay Area in many moons. Scroll down to check out photo galleries of all the bands.


Anthrax Set List:

  • Among the Living
  • Caught in a Mosh
  • I Am the Law
  • NFL (Efilnikufesin)
  • Skeletons in the Closet
  • In the End
  • T.N.T. (AC/DC cover)
  • March of the S.O.D.
  • I’m Alive
  • Indians
  • One World
  • ADI/Horror of It All
  • Imitation of Life


  • I’m the Man
  • Antisocial


Exodus Set List:

  • The Ballad of Leonard and Charles
  • A Lesson in Violence
  • War is My Shepherd
  • Piranha
  • Blacklist
  • Bonded by Blood
  • The Toxic Waltz
  • Strike of the Beast (with Rick Hunolt)
  • Good Riddance

High On Fire

Municipal Waste

Holy Grail

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