Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals brought The Technicians of Distortion Tour to a SOLD OUT crowd in Scottsdale, AZ.
It was a Friday night in the middle of winter. Here in the desert it was a perfect 69°F and loyal fans were lined up halfway down the block waiting to be let into a hole in the wall to see a legend up close and personal.
First up was Hymns, the black metal band from Arkansas.
It has got to be hard for a band to open to a crowd that could seem to care less. While knowing damn well who everyone was there to see, the humble and funny front man, Adam Crosier, was all class. (And almost too tall for the small Pub Rock stage!) They played tight, well done black metal and it didn’t take long for the crowd to loosen up. At that early point in the evening there was even space enough for a few mini pits to open up and all seemed to thoroughly enjoy their set. They are definitely the band for that job.
Next up, the intense and puzzling one man act Author & Punisher. Tristan Shone stopped the crowd in their tracks. Immersed in his music, pay no attention to the man behind the contraption. He does confusing and amazing things, making his instrument crank out the noise of doom. It’s sort of like a sound that you have to see to believe. The anxiety started to build and build as his set came to an end.
We all knew what was coming…
With the lights switched low and the speakers playing “Philip’s Elevator” in a quiet, creaky pitch, the crowd began to chant Phil! Phil! Phil!
The Illegals stepped on stage and when Phil appeared it was as if the very building itself began to erupt. The crowd surged forward as fan after crazed fan went hurdling towards the stage.
They opened with a personal Illegals favorite “Battalion of Zero” and it never sounded so good. Or so loud. The drumming of Jose “Blue” Gonzalez and bass of Steven Taylor rumbled the entire place. Every beat was felt in the chest, rattling the bones and boiling the blood. Marzi Montazeri‘s guitar sounded nothing short of beautiful. The guy knows his way around six strings, his solos will blow you away.
Phil was a badass. Expect no less. He sounded great and he interacted with fans as much as possible, very talkative between songs with those always animated looks on his face. He talked with us about the relatable song “Betrayed” before he and the band completely nailed it.
“Death Rattle” was played next and it was mayhem. The place was packed tight. Pits had no space to open which caused an unusual hyper convulsion effect to spread violently throughout the audience in waves.
Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals pounded through tracks off their 2013 release Walk Through Exits Only with Pantera and Superjoint Ritual covers mixed in. They did a little “Dazed and Confused” and left the crowd in the dark for a moment, then they returned like a second climax and did the fuck out of “A New Level“.
Surprisingly, Phil then belted out one more Zeppelin verse and sang “she’s buying a stairway to heaven” before bowing to a graciously beaten and intoxicated audience. It all made perfect sense. I guess you just had to be there.