GIG REVIEW: PHIL ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS – “A Vulgar Display of Pantera”
If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is how to adapt. With close to no possibility of live concerts in the near future, there has been a steady rise in the number of people willing to pay to watch bands perform via live-streamed shows. Of course, the experience doesn’t come close to being amidst a crowd and interacting with fellow fans. On the bright side, however, the whole process of waiting endlessly outside venues and paying exorbitant amounts for drinks have become a thing of the past.
Last weekend was one to kick back and rewind back to the 90s for all fans of Pantera out there. Headed by Phil Anselmo and his band, the Illegals, fans were treated to a live-streamed show ‘A Vulgar Display of Pantera’. The show promised a night of metal mayhem to a limited audience of 50 people, performed live from Anselmo’s Nodferatus Lair, hosted by Housecore Records in New Orleans; along with a worldwide live stream.
The start of the show was rather confusing (if I could call it that), with footage of two hens and potbellied pigs with fliers for the show on the feed house while the audio was completely saturated by the sound of ominous winds. The bizarre beginning was followed by pre-recorded comedy interviews and skits.
Next up was a 20-minute set by Aussie grindcore/thrash outfit King Parrot, performing live from a different venue as that of Phil and his crew of Illegals. Led by the Vocalist, Matt Young, the band dished out a seven-song audio carnage. This being my first time listening to King Parrot, I have to say, after that short but crushing set, these guys are definitely going on my playlist.
After the mayhem (the good kind!) that was the opening act, the main event was marked by a transition to a more melancholic air. The show had a rather shaky start as the set opener, ‘Suicide Note: Part 1’ was missing audio almost halfway through. The technical difficulties continued through the second number, ‘New Level’, up until the point where Anselmo instructed the band to start the song over, from which point on the show moved forward seamlessly.
Anselmo was joined by guitarists Mike Delon and Stephen Taylor, bassist Derek Engemann and Drummer Joey Gonzalez. DeLon and Taylor effortlessly tackled all of Dimebag Darrell’s legendary solos. There were even moments where Delon bore an uncanny resemblance to Dimebag not just musically but also in terms of appearance with his long hairstyle and facial hair. Anselmo, performing barefoot, did a mighty fine job of nailing the vocals and kept the energy levels all the way up and only let the age show in his vocals rarely.
The band performed with graphics, including the ‘P’ and ‘A’ from the Pantera logo, flashing on the backdrop screens. A Violent Display of Pantera was much more than a rendition of all the obvious choices as they powered through songs such as ‘We’ll Grind That Axe for a Long Time’, ‘Yesterday Don’t Mean Sh*t’, and ‘Death Rattle’. One of the highlights of the night was their rendition of ‘This Love’ which saw Anselmo duet with Calvin Dover from En Minor, his side project.
During the halfway break, images of late Pantera members Dime and Vinnie were shown on the screens. As the band returned on stage, they remedied the botched beginning by re-doing ‘Suicide Note: Part 1’. This was followed by the final stretch of the set featuring ‘Domination’, ‘Hollow’ and ‘Walk’. Yet another highlight of the night was during the performance of ‘Walk’ when Anselmo got a young child on stage to contribute to vocals. They wrapped up the night with a final tune, ‘Sandblasted Skin’.
A Vulgar Display of Pantera was a power-packed show, treating Pantera fans, old and new, to almost all classics that spanned from ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ to the band’s conclusion, along with a few rare numbers that were performed live only back in the 90s. The entire show was shot exceptionally well too by making excellent use of long shots so that fans knew exactly what was happening on stage. To sum up, even though Pantera will never be the same due to obvious reasons, Anselmo’s effort was all out in keeping the band’s legacy alive. A Vulgar Display of Pantera was truly a homage to Pantera’s timeless significance in the global metal community.
King Parrot Setlist:
- Disgrace Yourself
- Need No Saviour
- Psychotherapy and Valium
- The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash
- Piss Wreck
- Sh*t on the Liver
Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals Setlist (all Pantera songs):
- Suicide Note Pt. I (audio trouble)
- A New Level
- Mouth for War
- We’ll Grind That Axe for a Long Time
- Yesterday Don’t Mean Sh*t
- F*cking Hostile
- War Nerve
- This Love
- I’m Broken
- Strength Beyond Strength
- Goddamn Electric
- Death Rattle
- Suicide Note Pt. I (re-do)
- Sandblasted Skin