Pith (noun): the important or essential part; essence; core; heart: i.e. the pith of the matter
Sunday night, April 9, 2017, brought some serious hardcore to the Stage AE venue in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Northside. Like the building housed next to Stage AE, Heinz Arena that hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers, the inside was a brutal show of force in metal with Jasta, The Devil Wears Prada, Anthrax, and Killswitch Engage entertaining a 1500+ crowd.
While Killswitch Engage and Anthrax switch off closing duties throughout the Killthrax tour, the opening of the show belongs on this leg at least, to the vocalist of Hatebreed Jayme Jasta and his solo effort (even borrowing some dudes from Toxic Holocaust) simply named Jasta. This happened to be the last night Jasta would be on tour since the Hatebreed tour in Europe kicks off April 12. Jasta does not steer too far off the path of Hatebreed type material, so if that’s what you are looking for, Jayme is always entertaining.
The real heat came on when The Devil Wears Prada hit the stage. These guys came loaded for bear and had a relentless set that was full of energy and passion that would be hard to match by any of the bands to follow. Vocalist Mike Hranica, as usual when in town, came out in full support wearing a Pens jersey. Mike is a huge Pittsburgh sports fan, and unlike some bands who just wear hometown shirts to appease the crowd, Hranica is actually a true fan of the teams and the city. Guitarist and vocalist Jeremy DePoyster really was in rare form, blasting away at guitar and vox with a primal sense of purpose. Bassist Andy Tick was his usual steadfast and pounding with intensity as well as guitarist Kyle Sipress. In fact, the whole band was so kinetic their set went by in an absolute blur. Hranica was like a possessed metal Morrison with his “newer” look of super long hair and beard and it was his performance that drew the crowd in and kept rapt attention. Setlist: Daughter, Sailor’s Prayer, Planet A, Outnumbered, Worldwide, Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dead Throne, To the Key of Evergreen, Mammoth.
To have Anthrax visit Pittsburgh as often as they have the past few years has spoiled us completely. Maybe it does not hurt that the band loves the food of Primanti’s and Meat and Potatoes? What is so impressive is that Anthrax continues to deliver at a velocity that burns most of the younger bands into ash. How does Joey’s voice actually get better with age? While many of his counterparts have lost their range and edge, Joey seems to be expanding his voice as of late and he is phenomenal live. Scotty Ian is just a show unto himself, pure electricity and energy fused into a human being who loves his job. That guitar never sounded so crunchy and tight as the band went through a set full of fan faves. One of the most fun individuals to watch in the band has to be Frank Bello with his animated facial expressions and fist pumping revelry. As Frank’s uncle, Charlie Benante stays tight bashing the drums, the “newer” guitar player, Jonathan Donais (Shadows Fall) at this point is not only Anthrax family but has brought a flavor of his own that honors the classics as well as sharpens the new material to a deadly point. Pulverizing the audience by opening with Among The Living, Caught in a Mosh, and Madhouse left the crowd weary from the getgo. A few tunes later I Am the Law, N.F.L., March of the S.O.D., Antisocial, and Indians (peppered with new, amazing material) was like a wet dream for fans and the only thing that could have made it better would be if Spitz, Bush, and Caggiano suddenly joined them on stage.
Killswitch Engage ended the show with their usual over the top exuberance and straight forward hardcore prowess. With no offense to the Howard Jones era, the classic line up with Jesse Leach just cannot be touched. Check out our sister site Pennsylvania Music News for more in-depth coverage of KSE…
All photos ©2017 AWeldingphoto