You have just got to love anyone who is not afraid to play air guitar openly and rock out with the crowd, especially if that someone has an awesome custom light up mic and happens to be the one and only Chuck Billy of Testament. Being an old metalhead, I have been into Testament since that first CD (remember those?) The Legacy in 1987, actually latching onto their sound a bit before Metallica, even though they both represent the Bay Area thrash that we come to love so much. Getting to see Billy, Skolnick, Peterson, Christian, and Hoglan onstage is such a treat and a lesson in longevity within the music biz done right. I highly suggest reading Skolnick’s book, Geek to Guitar Hero, to learn a bit more of the personal. Anyways, being able to see these guys once again and on a bill with some younger guys like Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and Huntress, and not only hold their own, but put on a dominating performance was nothing short of awesome and one for the mind’s scrapbook.
I was lucky enough to run into Chuck Billy before the show, and although physically a very intimidating individual, he is nothing but a very gracious, humble, and accommodating guy. Years on the road can make you jaded and bitter, but not Chuck, he’s as good-natured and appreciate of it all as ever. My guitar hero geek out was also fulfilled getting to see Alex Skolnick put on a firework display with his fingers as he flitted around the fretboard like it was nothing and threw his axe into the air catching it like a babey only to crank right into the next arpeggio with ease…absolutely mind blowingly brilliant to witness. On the back end thee Gene Hoglan was putting on his usual drum clinic and all aspiring percussionist really should have been paying attention because two of the best in the best were performing that night: Gene and Chris Adler. Of course, the one absolute original member from when Testament were called Legacy, Eric Peterson was thrashing his own path with his guitar holding the base of the true sound that is Testament down along with bassist Greg Christian.
It was a set full of goodies. Supporting their latest release Dark Roots of Earth, there of course were some numbers from what might be their strongest album to date including set highlight “Native Blood” and the opener “Rise Up”. Otherwise, the delved into The Formation of Damnation’s “More Than Meets The Eye”, a lot of songs off of The New Order including “The Preacher” “Into the Pit” “Disciples Of the Watch” and “The New Order”, and ending with old school The Legacy’s “Over The Wall”. I would have loved to have seen more from Dark Roots of Earth, but I’m sure I am in the minority.
Great show. Great dudes. Great band. Sure hope to see these guys come around again on their own sometime soon.
All photos ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine