Another frosty Winnipeg night did not keep the Winnipeg Metal community at home on the evening of February 23rd to pack in the Burton Cummings Theatre to see the Metal greats Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, and Havok perform live. Anthrax and Killswitch Engage are currently on The Killthrax Tour II touring both of their 2016 released albums, “For All Kings” and “Incarnate”.
The Denver, Colorado Thrash Metal band, Havok opened up the show to a well received warm welcome from the crowd. Havok is currently on the road promoting their 2017 released album, “Conformicide”. The band performed some songs such as “Hang ‘Em High”, “From the Cradle to the Grave”, “No Amnesty”, and “Intention to Deceive”. I enjoyed that both vocalist/guitarist David Sanchez and guitarist/backing vocalist Reece Scruggs were different from many others acts I’ve seen perform and were comedic throughout the set to the crowd between songs. I hope to see Havok back to Winnipeg soon, as well as everyone else, as the crowd cheered in agreement with vocalist David Sanchez if everyone in the venue would make it out to Havok the next time they come to the city.
The next act to the stage of the Burton Cummings Theatre was Killswitch Engage, hailing out of Westfield, Massachusetts. Surprisingly, how often the band has been to Winnipeg on past tours, this was my first time seeing them perform live. The band sure know how to work an audience with both how they interact with the crowd and what music from their catalog to perform to connect with the audience. Killswitch Engage began the set strong with the songs, “Rose of Sharyn” and “Strength of the Mind”. The band performed a set full of songs that touched a majority of their discography with some old material, new material, and lastly you can’t forget the fan favorites. Some other songs Killswitch Engage performed include “My Curse”, “Hate by Design”, “My Last Serenade”, and “In Due Time”. The biggest take away from the bands set was during the song “The End of Heartache”, I noticed that guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz disappeared from the stage. I was curious to where he went off to. I was watching Killswitch Engage’s set from the back left of the venue in the first seat of the aisle and during the end of the mentioned song, out of nowhere, Adam comes up to me to my left and casually asks, “Are you enjoying the show?” Of course I was so I respond back with, “Hell yeah I am!” He repeated this to a few other random people on that side of the venue until he made his way back to the stage door. Lastly, to close off their set the band performed their popular cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver” which the band was joined on stage by Anthrax vocalist, Joey Belladonna during the performance of the song.
It’s not a surprise most of the people in the venue came to see the next band perform, this band is no other than Anthrax, who hail out of New York City, New York. The band is part of a group of bands dubbed “The Big Four” next to Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer for pioneering and popularizing the genre of Thrash Metal. Anthrax performed a powerful and high-octane set of tunes from their vast catalog of music. Opening the show with “Among the Living”, straight into, for what many is a fan favorite, “Caught in a Mosh”. Which was inevitable when the audience chose to let loose in the mosh pit. This was followed by a cover of Joe Jackson’s song “Got the Time”. The Anthrax fans in the venue were belting out all the lyrics out during the performance, but most specially during “Madhouse”, “I Am the Law”, “Antisocial”, and the set closing, “Indians”. Right before Anthrax played “Breathing Lighting”, guitarist and vocalist, Scott Ian dedicated the song to Winnipeg’s own Chris Jericho. For those who don’t know, Chris Jericho is a professional wrestler and he’s also the vocalist of the Heavy Metal band Fozzy. I honestly can’t remember which song the band were performing at the time, but it was near the end of the show, when someone in the front row through a joint on stage, which vocalist, Joey Belladonna caught, took a sniff of it, and gave a big thumbs up while thanking the fan. The night ended with the entire Winnipeg crowd singing the national anthem, “Oh, Canada” to the band, which was simply amazing. The band will be back in May to open up for Slayer at Bell MTS Place.
Each and every performance from Havok, Killswitch Engage, and Anthrax were all great in their own right. I absolutely did not want the show to end and I’m sure many others in attendance didn’t themselves. This tour has quite the well-rounded line up that should not be missed. If you have the chance to get to a show on The Killthrax Tour II, don’t hesitate to get that ticket. Quite frankly, I hope to see all three bands back to Winnipeg very soon to turn the city into a “Madhouse”.