The Civic Theatre teemed with activity on an otherwise sleepy Sunday night as four heavy metal bands drew out the black-shirted crowds. Upon entering, typical between-band songs kept the energy up as Darkest Hour got ready to play. However, it was when Snoop Dogg's "The Next Episode" played that everyone knew the band was just about to start. Clearly, this ditty was out of place in the best way possible.
Darkest Hour appeared under blood red lights. Darkest Hour would perform mostly in silhouette with only occasional glimpses at their faces due to splashes of colorful lights that spun around the white theater. Immediately, they launched into a brand new song to open the set. Stirring instrumental moments gave way to heavy, yet hopeful verses. Vocalist John Henry stopped the music a few songs in to demand a circle pit which did indeed inspire the crowd to acquiesce. There was a really cool moment some time later during "Knife in The Safe Room" in which the tempo of the song slowed down to proper head banging speed and all of the lights in the theater went off and on to the beat making it totally blacked out in rhythm.
Fans of all ages lined up for Exodus. Toxic green lights and racing beams shifted the whole mood of the place as Exodus exploded onto the stage with incredible energy for the first song "Impact is Imminent." Seriously, the band members were all so vigorous, bounding from one corner of the stage to the next unceasingly, and it was infectious. Fans cheered for guitarist Gary Holt, donning his infamous "K*** The Kardashians" shirt, when he played firey riffs through "Blacklist," "Fabulous Disaster," and "The Toxic Waltz." The latter song contained a fun moment when the band stopped to set up a Wall of Death. Steve Souza's shrieks cut the room like lightning bolts. I saw him continually looking up to one of the balconies, and it appeared that Steve was engaging one lucky fan standing up there who was singing every single word to every single song. "Are we ready for some Exodus style heavy metal in NOLA tonight? Are we ready to go back to 1989," he questioned to his fans' adulation. Though no one was ready for this set to end, Steve said that "Strike of The Beast" would be the last song of their set. After one last blast of blistering music, Exodus exited the stage throwing picks and drum sticks into the waiting crowd. Steve said, "Remember, heavy metal forever!"
Moody music set the tone as blue lights slowly came up over the stage and cast a spooky glow over the final band. A wail from vocalist Joe Badolato broke that brooding scene, and Fit For An Autopsy broke into "Oh What The Future Holds," the title track of their latest album. Indeed, many of the songs that FFAA played to their ravenous fans were from that album including "A Higher Level of Hate," "Far From Heaven," and "Pandora." Pat Sheridan and Will Putney took turns blasting riffs over the crowd that would thrust them into a frenzy, especially the younger people who seemed enthralled by this show. Banger after banger like "Warfare," "Iron Moon," and "Your Pain is Mine," FFAA kept the throng of bodies moving all the way to the last song of the evening "Two Towers." Now the attendees were allowed to leave and join the masses as they prepared for Monday morning. But they would certainly have a little glow to them during the work day.