Thrash Blast Grind
Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW
March 30th, 2019
Featuring: Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, King Parrot, PALM and Potion
After planting its seed in 2017, a time when Australian heavy music festivals were lacking, what with the demise of Soundwave and all, Thrash Blast Grind Tour has flourished into an integral part of the extreme scene. A tour created by the bands, for their fans. Two years since its inception, round two of the tour kicked off last week, with shows selling out at a rapid pace. No surprise really, as line-ups guaranteed to pack an all mighty punch and a headliner that will see Pantera fans come out of the woodwork, with Philip H. Anselmo, former Pantera vocalist and his band The Illegals, hitting our shores for the very first time, promising to play a mix of Pantera favourites, as well as Illegals tracks.
Tonight’s sold out show at Sydney’s Factory Theatre was guaranteed to be as extreme as it gets. Fans arriving at the venue early, forming a queue well before doors were due to open; not something you see too often in Sydney. As soon as 7pm hit, fans raced up the stairs to the Factory Theatre. Some raced towards the merch desk, while others headed to the bar, before securing their position along the barrier.
Sydney’s Potion hit the stage first, a three piece laden with a heavy doom feel and some mighty dark riffs. The lights were still quite minimal at this point, I’m not sure if by chance, or deliberate, to add to the sinister vibe. Either way, it worked.
Next up, hailing from Osaka Japan was PALM, immediately electrifying the stage and crowd, with their energetic onslaught. Frontman Toshihiko swung his mic like a lasso, reeling in the crowd. Stomping his feet and pacing about the stage as he demanded a circle pit, the crowd giving in to his demands. Pounding his chest and head with the mic, he had the crowd cheering and stating “I want what that guys on”! Oh to have a poofteenth of this man’s energy! Bass player Will, contorted his body, pulling crazy eyes at the crowd, while slapping his bass and having beer poured down his throat from someone side of stage. Akira seemed much more composed on the opposite side of the stage, pulling off some mighty tasty solos and riffs. Kenta completed the mayhem that is PALM, from behind his kit. I was mesmerised by every move and every tune these guys played and hope to see them back in Australia before too long.
A short break and it was time to bring the crazy that is King Parrot.
The theme song from Peter Russell Clarke starts, KP walked out on stage in preparation of ripping Sydney a new one. Slatt’s, in fine form, sporting a lovely grey pouf on his head. The crowd broke out in laughter, until Youngy made his way on stage and grabbed his mic. Shit was about to get real. “Sydney, how you fuckin’ doing”? As he called for the crowd to move forward… the crushing began. Kicking off with ‘Entrapment’, a shirtless Slatt’s dancing around the stage, while Ari and Squizzy took themselves a little more serious, slaying on guitars, banging their heads.
Toddy pounding his skins flawlessly, Youngy as animated as always, firing up the crowd. ‘Ten Pounds of Shit in a Five Pound Bag’ had crowd surfers on the move; one by one they came over the barrier.
All the crowd favourites were played ‘Need No Saviour’ ‘Piss Wreck’ ‘Hell Comes Your Way’ and many more. Fans throwing fists in the air, being swept every which way, as the mosh-pit opened up. Youngy splashed the crowd with bottles of water, and the crowd lapped up every moment of the frantic set.
If you’re looking for a laid back, toe tapping show, you’ve come to the wrong place. KP are unbridled, unhinged and off fucking tap. It’s no secret I’m a huge KP fan; I’ve been following these guys since seeing them back in 2012 at the old Sandringham Hotel in Sydney. They’ve certainly progressed in that time, now playing stages worldwide and signing to Housecore Records in 2015. Being one of the hardest working bands in the business, these guys are certainly deserving of every accolade that comes their way. Ending the set with another favourite, ‘Shit on the Liver’, the crowd cheered with appreciation. KP had exceeded any expectations of warming this frenzied crowd for Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals.
The moment of the night we had all eagerly awaited, had finally arrived – Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, in Sydney, fucking Australia! The Amboy Dukes – ‘Down on Philips Escalator ‘played over the PA for what felt like an age, before The Illegals made their way on stage; the anticipation was dripping from the crowd. Immediately grabbing their instruments and getting in to the heavy, The Illegals gave us a teaser with their intro, before Philip proudly walked on stage, throwing his arms in the air. The crowd roared in eager excitement. “What’s happening Sydney” followed by a heartfelt thank you to fans for coming out. The abundance of mutual love and respect that was in the room at this very moment is something unexplainable, needing to be experienced firsthand.
Playing a mix from their two albums Walking Through Exits only and Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue, Philip introduced each song – ‘Little Fucking Heroes’, ‘Bedridden’ and ‘Photographic Taunts’, as well as both title tracks. These guys blew our minds with their chaotic sound and stage antics. Joey “Blue” Gonzalez was an absolute beast on drums, pounding out the heavy then mixing it up with his insane blast beats. Mike DeLeon a guitar assassin was just incredible to watch. How one can play with such technicality, while bouncing around the stage, thrusting his head back and forth is beyond me, but Mike did it and made it seem so effortless. Stephen Taylor and Derek Engerman positioned on the opposite side, tying together this brutal assault package that was unravelled and thrust upon us. Philip was utterly on point with his vocals and man was he looking fighting fit, albeit needing a few puffs of his inhaler now and again.
The second half of the set, Philip and his band paid tribute to the fallen Abbott brothers, Dime and Vinnie. Philip, making it clear that the inclusion of Pantera songs in their set was only temporary, as he felt overwhelmingly compelled to do so, since the passing of Vinnie. ‘Mouth for War’ was the beginning of the insanity that ensued, followed by ‘Becoming’.
Stopping to give thanks to his beloved Illegals, as well as the support bands tonight, Philip continued to share his absolute appreciation and respect for his fans. Phil invited Matt Young from King Parrot back on stage to join in singing the next song, extending the invitation to the members from the opening bands tonight. “You might have heard this song once or twice. This song’s called, I’m Broken”. Fucking WOW! I don’t think anyone was expecting this proverbial punch in the face. I was one of those unfortunate, never to experience Pantera live. While this was not Pantera, it was the voice of Pantera and I for one, am extremely grateful for Philip giving me this fragment that I had missed out on. ‘Walk’ had all the band members from the night jumping on stage to partake in the delivery of this much loved Pantera hit. The crowd responded with circle pits and crowd surfing and any other way they could show their elation and appreciation. ‘Fucking Hostile’ with ‘Domination and ‘Hollow’ saw the set come to an emotional end. The band said their thanks and walking off stage. There was not a chance in hell that Sydney was going to let them get away without an encore and we were soon to learn, there was not a chance in hell that Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals were going to leave without giving us one.
The band back on stage to belt out one final song, fans trying to guess which song it might be. We didn’t have to wait long to hear ‘A New Level’, giving Sydney one last hoorah. I’m sure I speak for many, when I say my body was poked, prodded, elbowed and twisted in places I didn’t know I had. I would not change it, or tonight, for the world though. Philip H. Anselmo, you and your Illegals are bloody amazing. We have all been “scarred” with this unforgettable memory. Sydney thanks you!
Little Fucking Heroes
Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue
Walk Through Exits Only
Mouth For War
Domination / Hollow
A New Level
Gig Review by Trudy Johnson @BrutalTrudes
Photo Gallery courtesy of Mick Goddard (MickG Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Mick Goddard if you repost.
Phil Anselmo & The Illegals
Phillip H. Anselmo & The Illegals – Australian Tour 2019
with King Parrot, Palm and Potion
April 1st – Frankie’s, Sydney NEW SHOW
April 4th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
with King Parrot and Black Rheno
April 5th – The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart – SOLD OUT
with King Parrot and Black Rheno