Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Exodus Put on a Thrash for the Ages at Bayou Music Center
Written by Morgan Rosenbaum on February 17, 2023
Ever been caught in a mosh or swept into the pit? Have you ever left a show sweaty and sore from the frenzy, beaming ear to ear? That’s what it’s like being a metalhead, and for metalheads across Houston there was only one place to be last Saturday night: Bayou Music Center, witnessing a thrash for the ages.
Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Exodus put on a show filled with screaming vocals, wailing guitars, and crashing drums, to a packed house full of metal fans of all ages. Exodus kicked off the show with a near-hourlong set that set the tone for much of the evening. While doors for the show opened at an early 5:30PM, fans showed up early for these elder statesmen of the thrash genre.
Crowdsurfing and mosh pits began early in Exodus’ set, lasting right up until the last notes of “Strike of the Beast” and the close of their performance. Playing through hit songs including “The Toxic Waltz” and “Bonded by Blood,” Exodus showed the crowd how they’ve managed to stick around for over 40 years.
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society took the stage next, with a bit of a tone shift from the thrash riffs of Exodus. Wylde has been one of the most well known guitarists in the metal scene for years, having worked with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and taken up the role of touring guitarist for Pantera just recently.
BLS played for over an hour, with their slower, sometimes heavier riffs filling the venue. The band has a devoted group of fans that carried the momentum from the previous set through to BLS, with Wylde making a point of thanking his “Doom Crew” for attending the show. Dedicating the ballad-esque “In This River” to late Pantera members Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell, Wylde switched from his signature Les Paul to piano, in a tribute fans seemed to enjoy.
Towards the end of their set, Wylde and Dario Lorina (the band’s other guitarist) played an extended solo with their guitars perched behind their heads, a true example of the skill and technique Wylde has become known for.
After BLS closed out their set, the room buzzed with anticipation for the final act of the night. At around 9:30 the lights dropped, and the venue was lit up with a projected video introduction from a variety of celebrities both from the metal scene and beyond. As the video ended and the curtain fell, Anthrax burst onto the stage with an energy that immediately threw the crowds into a frenzy.
After the first song, guitarist Scott Ian began playing the legendary “Caught in a Mosh,” and the venue went berserk. Fans were crowdsurfing, moshing, headbanging, and thrashing all over the place to a point where even the band seemed impressed. That energy continued for the duration of Anthrax set, which included other hits like “Antisocial,” “Got the Time,” and the Public Enemy classic “Bring the Noise.”
With a hit-filled set, Anthrax thrashed through one of the best metal shows Houston has ever seen, showing that even after 40 years the band still has that magic that made them great all the way back in the early 1980s.
There’s an energy at metal shows that goes unmatched by any other genre, and this was no exception. After Anthrax left the stage and fans began pouring into the streets of downtown, it was clear that everyone appreciated the experience they just had, and the spectacle they had witnessed. While metal hasn’t been at the forefront of the music industry for years, this show proved to anyone who doubted: it’s still here, and it’s not going away.
All photos by Morgan Rosenbaum for Coog Radio