GIG REVIEW: Alex Skolnick Trio Live at The Hammer & the Anvil, Birmingham UK
On Saturday 4th March, I traveled to the city of Birmingham to see Alex Skolnick Trio, the jazz rock side project of renowned Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick perform at the Hammer and the Anvil heavy metal bar in the center of the city. The gig had been moved around several of Birmingham’s smaller music venues prior to the night of the show, but fortunately everything worked out and the gig went ahead as scheduled. There was no support acts for this particular performance, as it was just Alex Skolnick Trio on the bill.
Because there are no support acts to go over when it comes to this gig review, this will be a shorter piece than usual. It was clear from the get-go that a considerable amount of the people in attendance at this gig were already fans of Alex’s work in the classic American thrash metal band Testament. The show happened at the back end of the room in the Hammer and the Anvil heavy metal bar, with some people watching the performance and others just relaxing with a drink dotted at various other points throughout the room.
Two other musicians accompanied Alex; bassist Nathan Peck and drummer Matt Zebroski. What was especially nice to see was that all three members of the group were musically and instrumentally proficient in their own unique ways, and it was not just Skolnick at the forefront of it all who got all of the attention and cheers from those who had gathered to watch the trio play their music. In terms of their setlist, the band performed original material from their studio output but also played cover songs by other acts such as Judas Priest, Prince, Deep Purple and more in the familiar bluesy jazz-rock style that Alex Skolnick Trio has adopted.
To conclude, Alex Skolnick Trio’s gig at the Hammer and the Anvil was an enjoyable venture out on a Saturday night. It is good to see accomplished musicians step outside of their comfort zones somewhat and play other genres of music that they themselves feel passionately about just as much as general hard rock and heavy metal. If you get the chance to see this group play, I recommend it.