This gig was billed as Thrash n' bowl as it basically took place at a bowling alley which happens to have a large stage and standing area. The concept behind the venue is to have live music playing whilst groups of people bowl and have drinks. This actually took place whilst Testament was playing at ear splitting volume on stage! And the bowlers weren't metalheads either. Not sure they could actually enjoy their bowling whilst metalheads were going ape next to them.
A little bit about the venue. The Brooklyn Bowl as it's called is a very Americanised place with beers such as Brooklyn Lager and other novelty house beers. The BB is situated inside the O2 Arena complex underneath one corner of the 20,000 seat venue which just happened to have the legendary Barry Manilow headlining. Obviously there were lots of older clientele in the Arena looking disapprovingly at the Metalheads queueing up for Testament! Quite funny really hehe!
Two supports were listed first was a band I've never heard of called Broken Teeth and the main support being local heavyweights Savage Messiah who I was looking forward to see again immensely. Broken Teeth came on and were surprisingly OK by opening band standards. They had some decent nodding grooves going on and whilst the singer was just a regular tuneless growlers, he was actually quite cool to watch with his rocking moves. I need to check a song from these guys out on youtube.
Local heroes Savage Messiah were up next and the crowd had pretty much filled out to its maximum of about 500 or so which was by no means capacity. Savage Messiah sounded ace from where I was watching and they have songs like Cross of Babylon and Hellblazer in their arsenal so you can't go wrong there. Dave Silver the golden maned front man looks more and more like Dave Mustaine every time I see him and he even adopts Mustaine like poses all the time. I was waiting for someone to make a quip about Manilow and Mr Silver duly obliged, as he questioned whether we were at the right gig and shouldn't we be watching Mr Manilow next door! With the gig being on a momentous day for us with the in/out referendum taking place, Dave also said: "Today is a momentous day for our nation! Barry Manilow plays his final gig in the UK!" Gotta a few laughs that one hehe. SM got a very good reception for their short support slot as they finally left and the roadies got the stage ready for Testament.
I've seen these legends many times in the past and the live shows have always been incendiary. I found a very cool spot at the side of the stage but on a raised platform which allowed me a great view of the band. Over The Wall is a classic energetic opener and the band soon picked up the pace of the song whilst Chuck screams his nuts off belting the lyrics out. I always look forward to the cool and old classics whenever I see Testament and they never fail to deliver. DiGiorgio on bass is very audible in the mix and adds quite a subtle bit of melody to some of the thrashier tunes. The Preacher was superb as always mass woooaahss from the crowd to the guitar melodies. Dog Faced Gods was a monster heavy tune and perhaps the heaviest of the night.
Practice What You Preach and The New Order can never a fail a rabid thrash crowd and they bloody well don't this time either.
One of my absolute fave Testa tracks, Into the Pit followed with large pit action as always. Everyone head bangs and enjoys that one, it's just too much fun. Newer tracks were played which also went down as well but I'm not such a huge fan of though I really like Native Blood which Chuck always dedicates to his indigenous heritage and by the way it was also his birthday and he thanked the crowd for making it a great day for him. The main set ended with Disciples of the Watch, which is perhaps my fave Testament song of all time, well apart from maybe Trial By Fire which was sadly missing from the set.
A note about the security at this place. It was basically non existent. I don't think they are used to a metal crowd. Normally you have security standing in front of the barrier ready to catch crowd surfers. A guy crowd surfed to the front and there was no security to catch him. He literally fell in the photo pit as there was no one to catch him. I saw all of this as the guy fell he must've caught his head, as he finally walked down the photo pit and in front of me the guy's head was covered in blood and yet he was still going back in the pit! I tried to catch site of the guy later but I never saw him again. How can you have a thrash gig and have no security to catch people at the front?? And yet another fucking nutter still surfed but luckily for him he landed on his feet.
To end on a positive note I really liked this venue although the beers are typical O2 pricey but it's a nice spacey venue and I'd go again maybe next time I'll even bowl!
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)
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch
The Formation of Damnation