||STEVE GÖLDBY'S METAL CHRONICLES
TESTAMENT THRASH BARRY MANILOW AT THE O2, LONDON ON CHUCK BILLY'S BIRTHDAY
We're unable to bring you the pictures from tonight's gig due to technical problems in the photo studio. We're hoping we can add photos once these problems are sorted.
After a whole weekend of getting stoned for free at the O2 in Greenwich, London, it was back down to earth with a bump before returning to the same venue last Thursday night for the final gig of Testament's short four date run in England, only this one's a bit special as it's Chuck Billy's 54th birthday and it all went with a bang.
The O2 is a bit different tonight as instead of it being inhabited by thousands of Metalheads, as it was all weekend, the 850 who were gathered to see Testament were mingling with 18,000 victims of extremely poor taste who were in possession of tickets to see puerile pop purveyor Barry Manilow. Don't worry Bazza, we didn't really like those ornaments anyway.
As the blue rinse brigade descended on the main O2 arena, the Metal legions uprooted to the Brooklyn Bowl, one of the several smaller venues inside the formerly named Millennium Dome mega-building and what a great venue this is. That indescribable feeling from days of yore when you first entered a venue, saw the stage and riser and felt a surge of adrenaline instantly returned; that, along with decent beer, good sound and a good all-round vibe sent the Brooklyn Bowl straight to the very top of our favourite medium-sized venues list.
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Chuck Billy was in fine form tonight, as were all the band, and while his colleagues are soloing away Chuck plays the finest air guitar on his customised microphone stand that you have ever seen. He clearly can play guitar for real as he hit every single note to perfection on his imaginary axe. Just have a watch when you can because it's impressive.
Chuck is an indigenous Native American from Northern California and he is proud of his heritage, as demonstrated by his "shoutout" when introducing 'Native Blood', a song that is a tribute to his heritage. He's also a cancer survivor having thankfully overcome the disease in the late 00s.
He's been the frontman of Testament since 1986, three years after they were formed in the San Francisco Bay Area, originally as Legacy. Guitarist Eric Peterson is the only original member remaining but Alex Skolnick, also guitars, joined very shortly after formation while drummer Gene Hoglan and bass player Steve DiGiorgio have been members since the 90s.
They're an extremely tight unit and this solid line-up delighted the gathered throngs with a catalogue of songs from through the years that told the whole story of how and why they have stayed at the top of the thrash Metal tree for three decades now. Highlights were opener 'Over The Wall' from the 1987 debut album 'The Legacy', 1994s 'Dog Face Gods', 1989s 'Practice What You Preach' and the title track of 2012s tenth studio album 'Dark Roots Of Earth'.
And on the very same night that Britain performed the biggest flounce in history, Testament confirmed their noteable place in thrash history with a striking performance where they rode the lightning and came close to a shut-out.
850 Testament fans left the Brooklyn Bowl with wide smiles and exuberant spirits and made a lot more noise than 18,000 Barry Manilow fans who looked distinctly subdued to me. Well you would if you'd just been subjected to two hours of mind-numbing bilge and durge, wouldn't you.
Billy recently confirmed that the forthcoming Testament album will be entitled 'The Brotherhood Of The Snake', which was the name of a society about 6,000 years ago that debarred all religions. The album should be out just before they return to the UK in October and November supporting Amon Amarth and with Grand Magus also on the bill, that really is a great package. You can get your tickets right here.
Over The Wall
Dog Faced Gods
More Than Meets The Eye
Practice What You Preach
The New Order
Into The Pit
Dark Roots Of Earth
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
Three Days In Darkness
Disciples Of The Watch
The Formation Of Damnation