PHILIP H. ANSELMO + THE ILLEGALS / RAGING SPEEDHORN - The Mill, Digbeth, 28.06.19
PHOTO CREDITS: KS PHOTOGRAPHY
I’d been looking forward to tonight’s show all week. The legendary PHIL ANSELMO and his band were in town, coupled with the powerhouse that is RAGING SPEEDHORN. This was going to be an epic show! Having never been to The Mill before, I was keen to see what this venue was like. The layout is perfect, everyone gets a decent view and bars aplenty. There’s even a large outdoor roof space with a fantastic view of the city and plenty of seating to relax on during changeover.
Opening tonight’s event were RAGING SPEEDHORN. Having been a fan of them since my teens, I was delighted at having the chance to photograph them in action. Following an almost 8 year break, they’ve been back a little while now and making up for lost time. Loosely inspired by hardcore combined with pounding basslines and heavily distorted guitars, they’ve always had a powerful stage presence and certainly didn’t let us down tonight. Their energetic set meant being on my toes - they certainly made me burn off some calories! Frank and John are dual frontmen, battling to and fro with their vocals whilst making sure they cover every inch of the stage, switching sides at regular intervals.
The majority of tonight’s set focused on tracks from the ‘Lost Ritual’ and self-titled ‘Raging Speedhorn’ albums, with a couple from albums in between. ‘Raging Speedhorn’ contains the classics we all love, such as ‘Thumper’ and ‘Super Scud’ which had the crowd pumping and nicely warmed up, ready the main act.
Raging Speedhorn are:
John Loughlin – Vocals
Frank Regan – Vocals
James Palmer – Guitar
Dave Leese – Guitar
Andy Gilmour – Bass
Gordon Morison – Drums
The legendary PHILIP H. ANSELMO and backing band, THE ILLEGALS, were the stars of the show. A brief history, for those who don’t know, Anselmo came to fame as vocalist of iconic band Pantera. Since Pantera disbanded in 2003, Anselmo has devoted most of his time to Superjoint Ritual, Down and various side projects such as tonight’s.
From the start it was clear the crowd wanted to see Anselmo in the flesh and were avid fans of his Pantera days. Crowd interaction was second to none; Anselmo pulled one of the photographers on stage to take a photo mid-song and stole a crutch from someone in the crowd to use as a prop.
With bassist Engeman’s ‘gurning’ facial expressions and lead guitarist DeLeon bounding around like the Duracell bunny, spinning around and throwing his lengthy locks about, clearly they were enjoying the gig just as much as the rest of us.
The second portion of the set was dedicated to Pantera classics and the crowd seemed extremely grateful. A fitting tribute to the start of Anselmo’s career, a time now lost forever. Obviously, it would be rude not to finish with ‘Walk’, possibly the most famous and loved Pantera song of all time. The whole venue went wild, with everyone singing along, but of course who wouldn’t know the lyrics!
There has been much controversy with regards to Anselmo in recent years, although it’s clear none of this compares his sadness of the loss of the Abbott brothers, his former band mates. He paid tribute to them during the set, paying respects and remorse for not burying their differences. Paying homage to those lost, a short rendition of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ brought a tear to everyone’s eye.
Overall, this was an energetic and thought-provoking gig, brought to us by two passionate bands which have grown and evolved with age, like a quality single malt. They still have their grip tightly on the music scene and are not letting go any time soon.
Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals are:
Philip H. Anselmo – Vocals
Stephen Taylor – Guitar
Joey Gonzalez – Drums
Mike DeLeon – Lead Guitar
Derek Engeman - Bass
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