Concert Review: Slayer – Uptown Theater – Kansas City, Missouri

slayerSlayer
Uptown Theater
05/13/2014
Kansas City, Missouri

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I guess you could say this is Slayer’s way of squeezing out a few pennies before the onslaught of summer tour dates and finishing up their 11th studio album. It’s understandable that a band, especially with the resources at a hand, wouldn’t mind going on a little stint across the U.S., but this is the first time since 1990 that Slayer has toured with Suicidal Tendencies (I was two when that tour tore across the states) and they have Exodus to boot on this trek. If this is what Slayer does for a “short tour”, they need to do it more.

If you’ve never been to Kansas City, then I shall fill you in on the absurd weather that we receive. During the seasonal transition months, it can be stupid muggy or ridiculously brisk. This was one of those Spring/Summer evenings that was quite chilly, so reluctant to say, a bunch of heavily pierced and leather wearing men were ready to pack in like a sardine can into the Uptown Theater and sweat it out. A line outside literally stretched a block as Exodus began it’s sound check. So it’s obvious who people were there to see.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Exodus and they didn’t disappoint. A small collective of hairy men were near the front going insane while die-hard fans rode the barrier wall up front. For three bands that highly respect each other and have a good four to five hours of play time to split amongst them, it’s a bit weird that Exodus would only be allowed a little less than half an hour. Would have loved to see them at least play one new song off their last three albums, but once “Piranha” came on, I was livid with joy that’d they play the first song I heard of theirs many, many years ago.

I don’t know a lot about Suicidal Tendencies and they’re not necessarily high on my list of go to music in the car, but I have a great amount of respect for a band that really helped mold a fluid hardcore/thrash metal sound. These guys must have gotten straight out of a time machine because their energy was through the roof. I didn’t know any of the songs right off the bat, but after the first time hearing the chorus, I couldn’t help but mouth a couple of their violent anthems. I think their youthfulness is bolstered by the new addition, Thomas Pridgen, at drummer. He hasn’t even performed on any of their albums and yet he played with such manic enthusiasm, you’d think he was fighting for a spot in their line-up. Ironically they continued the trend of not playing a single new song on the night.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Slayer, but that rush of adrenaline before they get on stage never goes away. Their stage staple is always an upside down cross and yet they find a new way to present it or light it on fire. Gary Holt, who’s replacing Jeff Hanneman, is solid and Paul Bostaph, who’s back in the band for a third time, is also good. Hanneman and Dave Lombardo will definitely be missed and it felt awkward watching a band that only performed songs featuring those two previous members. I can’t tell if it’s a tribute to their contributions or not. Give the fans what they want though, anything before 1990 is classic Slayer.

While I got to hear plenty of songs I’ve never heard before live like “Chemical Warfare”, “At Dawn They Sleep”, and “Black Magic”, I wouldn’t have been upset if they slipped in God Hates Us All or Hate Worldwide. I even heard their newest single “Implode” online and thought that was definitely something they’d shred. Nope, they stuck to their first five albums. I’m still waiting for the day I at least here one song off of Diabolus in Musica. Maybe it’s because I saw the insane energy of Suicidal Tendencies just an hour before, but the energy of Slayer just wasn’t there. The go-to band of the metal community was upstaged at their own headlining show.

Outside of a pair of gentleman, there’s not a single ounce of young blood on this tour. While it’s great to see these guys who are pushing towards their 50’s chug out some old tunes, I would have loved to see some new music. For someone my age, it’s not necessarily nostalgic to hear some of the best 80’s pit music, but I understand it’s what made you popular and it’s what people know. While Slayer is planning on putting out their new album this year, it doesn’t show a lot of promise when they don’t play the single they released before embarking on this tour (and from what I read didn’t play it at Rock on the Range). Are they simply appeasing to fans or worried that they’ve been spent the past two to three decades making garbage? Maybe I’m overthinking it…or maybe I’m worried Slayer’s about to hit a slump.

Exodus Set-List
Bonded by Blood
Piranha
War is My Shephard
Blacklist
The Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast

Suicidal Tendencies Set-List
You Can’t Bring Me Down
Trip at the Brain
War Inside My Head
Subliminal
Possessed to Skate
I Saw Your Mommy
Cyco Vision
Pledge Your Allegiance

Slayer Set-List:
Hell Awaits
The Antichrist
Necrophiliac
Mandatory Suicide
Captor of Sin
War Ensemble
Postmortem
Altar of Sacrifice
Jesus Saves
At Dawn They Sleep
Die by the Sword
Hallowed Point
Seasons in the Abyss
Chemical Warfare
Dead Skin Mask
Raining Blood
Black Magic
South of Heaven
Angel of Death

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