Tonight’s gig was set to be a good one – not only were Testament headlining Koko, but they had Vader and Annihilator on the bill too, so it’s no surprise there was a long queue outside before doors opened.
Vader are on very early but the security team have got people in very quickly so the venue is already busy by the time Vader come on. In a fog of smoke, Vader take to the stake and kick off their short set. For a night featuring two thrash bands, there are a surprising number of Vader T-shirts visible in the crowd, so it’s not much of a surprise that the band get an enthusiastic welcome. It’s a great set, and they really do a fantastic job of getting the crowd warmed up.
Annihilator were next up. I’ve enjoyed them in the past, but tonight they’ve really stepped things up a notch. Jeff Waters is a fantastic guitar player, but it’s not just great playing – he and the others look to be having such a great time on stage that their energy is infectious. Kicking off with “King of the Kill” it’s a fairly short set but they pack in 8 songs including “Alison Hell” – a song no Annihilator set would be complete without, and end with “Phantasmagoria”. It’s a high energy set that demonstrates just how good Annihilator are and why thrash fans really need to listen to them a bit more.
Before Testament came on, their backdrop was hoisted into position, except there was something different…someone (I’m guessing at the Annihilator guys) had added a scond backdrop, this one didn’t say Testament, but in the same font, said “Testicle” – a typical end of tour prank. The crew did eventually notice and took it down in time for Testament to take to the stage on time.
It’s been 18 months since the release of Testament’s current studio album, Brotherhood of the snake, so fans have had plenty of time to get to know the songs which is good as they kick off with the title track of the album (the first of three songs from the album to get an airing tonight).
As anyone who’s seen Testament before will know, they’re a superb live act, and tonight is no different as they put in a fantastic performance. The band all move around on the stage, so any fans to one side of the venue don’t just see the same person near them all night, the band rotate around so everyone gets a good view of each of them. They’re all great musicians, but I think we could have done without all the solos – 2 guitar solos, a bass solo and a drum solo is a bit much and I think most fans there would have preferred a couple of extra songs instead of the solos. Other than that it’s a pretty flawless performance that goes down a storm with the crowd. A fantastic set.
Check out the rest of the photos here – https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgcjhBg