The live experience review breakdown • Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals

The Facts:

This show took place on Tuesday, January 14th at the Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska. Hymns, Author and Punisher, and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals played. I was there.

The Opinion:

Hymns from Fayetteville, AR opened the show. I guess that is actually a fact. This is what you need to know about Hymns. The drummer plays double bass stuff basically the whole time, lots of blast­-beaty kinds of things. The drums were about all I could hear very clearly during their set on Tuesday night. When the songs are in full swing, the guitarist does a lot of fast strumming of chords, like a tremolo picking kind of thing, with some actual tremolo picking parts. When the songs are not in full swing, the guitarist does some slow arpeggiated parts with a clean guitar tone with effects. I assume the bass played notes related to the guitar, I could not tell, in fact I’m struggling to hear the bass on the recording of them I am listening to now. That really is not of too much concern to me.

The vocalist does do some cool stuff, mostly gruff/screaming metal vocals, but he does some weird voices and some low, slow singing which was pretty cool.

The Hymns recordings that I have heard, seem to get the band’s point across better than their live performance. These guys are much more frantic than really came across to me at the show.

Author and Punisher played next. I had never heard of this act either, but was definitely curious about the strange machine that was on the stage while Hymns played. Author and Punisher is a one man electronic band, although that doesn’t really tell the whole story. He plays an awesome looking, instrument? kit? I don’t even know what to call it. He sits down, on his right is a machine that looks like something you would see in a metal shop, it has a handle on it that he slides back and forth to play the drum parts. In front of him is what I assume is a keyboard that plays a lot of the super distorted slow synth bass stuff. He used at least three different “vocal mics” as far as I could tell, all with different effects to make either metal screaming sounds, or vocal percussion types of sounds. The music was all very slow and heavy, super heavy, lots and lots of bass, I don’t know if I have heard those subs working so hard at the Waiting Room, my pant-legs were shaking the entire set.

He did not really talk between songs, and that was cool, there were a few very effected “alrights” and that kind of thing. Visually it was awesome, he had a really cool video setup including live video with cameras attached to his “kit”. While the set was not rich in dynamics, Author and Punisher keeps you interested waiting for what new weird sound is going to come next.

Ok, so next up, of course, is Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals. I had heard a few songs when their album came out months ago, and I’m not so sure I liked it; I kind of thought it was just some metal noise with Phil screaming over it. But it’s not everyday that a modern metal legend comes to town, so I had to see what this was all about live.

The background music stops and the lights dim signaling to the crowd that the show is about to start, and some beatles­esque song about taking a ride on Philip’s Elevator comes on, plays for a few minutes and then the band files on stage. This song is coming to an end, and its just screaming for a quick change into some brutal metal, I mean you can just feel the tension.

Song ends. Nothing happens. Then Phil f*cking starts talking about how he is on the security guys’ side, and if someone gets on stage let it happen as long as they aren’t being dumbasses, don’t rough up my fans, dudes. My jaw was slacked, I couldn’t believe that he would waste all that tension of the walk­on song. But I understood it a little better as the set went on. Phil is just a fantastic frontman, we all know he says really stupid s*it between the songs, and it’s awesome! I laughed a lot during the set because the s*it he says is just ridiculous. The guy owns it and it shows. And when the song starts, you can’t take your eyes off him, super animated, beating the mic into his forehead, making stupid faces, the whole f*cking thing.

The band is top notch too; Marzi Montazeri on shredding guitar, Joey Gonzalez ripping drums, and Stephen Taylor on the bass. Even though I didn’t really get the recordings of the Illegals, it just works live, frantic, thrashing, hardcore, super moshable, nearly chaos.

The band ripped through a bunch of their own material, some songs from Phil’s previous bands, including Pantera, and most hilariously, Cheech and Chong’s Earache My Eye, with drummer Joey Gonzalez on vocals and Phil on drums. Really really cool.

I got way more than I expected I would from Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals. Just a truly entertaining show. Phil asked the crowd if anyone would come if the band came back to town in a few months, I definitely will! But in the meantime…

Get out and pay some cover charges f*ckers!!!