Featuring photography by Michael Bradley (http://www.rockhousephoto.com)
Opening for Slayer sounds like a daunting task, no doubt, but beloved acts Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies showed little sign of intimidation when they stormed the stage of The Tabernacle in Atlanta. Though it’s a rare occurrence when a tour’s opening acts are as established and adored as the headliners, both groups put on headline-worthy performances of their own.
The evening began with a thrilling performance from Bay Area icons Exodus, whose initial appearance on the fog-laden stage drove the crowd to begin the night’s first floor-wide circle pit. Launching into “Black 13” from the new release Blood In, Blood Out, Exodus used every moment of its half-hour set to illustrate that thrash metal is alive and well. “Toxic Waltz” and “Strike of the Beast” were set highlights during the brief performance, and Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza still has one of the best voices in metal.
Guitarist Gary Holt in particular deserves accolade, as he performed twice in the evening – once with Exodus, and later with Slayer. The virtuoso’s energy never dropped throughout his combined two hours of stage time, and his passion flowed through his solos as he smiled and sang with fans.
Punk-metal crossover act Suicidal Tendencies performed next, meshing infectiously catchy bass lines with chugging riffs. Not unlike Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies is one of the rare groups whose music has steadily improved with time. Though the band’s last effort, 13, was released nearly two years ago, Suicidal Tendencies has remained in the limelight thanks to its consistent touring habits and consistently growing fan base.
Opening with “You Can’t Bring Me Down” from Lights…Camera…Revolution, Suicidal Tendencies’ set was a whirr of fists and bodies, as the crowd jumped and sang along. But where Exodus and Slayer focused more on aggression, Suicidal Tendencies created an atmosphere of fun and positivity, with Mike ‘Cyco Mike’ Muir offering the microphone to the crowd on several occasions before ultimately moving to the guardrail to join his fans. The set consisted of an eclectic mix of Tendencies tunes, including fan-favorites “Subliminal,” “Possessed to Skate” and “Freedumb” ensuring that every era of the band’s lengthy 30-year career was accounted for.
After witnessing their respective performances, it’s abundantly clear why Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies are regarded as two of the hardest-working and enduring mainstays in metal. Where many similar acts have teetered out over the decades, it’s rare to see a band maintain a sense of relevancy. Yet like their tour mates Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies have stood the test of time due to their tremendous output, and thankfully, there seems to be no end in sight.
Full Gallery of Exodus