Review: EXODUS – Live @ The Button Factory, Dublin (Aug 12th, 2013)
Rob Dukes to Security, Dublin 2013.
After three year absence, Exodus are finally back in town. The legendary thrash metallers have been punishing the European festival circuit over the last few weeks and they’re nicely warmed up to give Dublin one of its few international metal nights of 2013. The only question on people’s minds as we enter the venue – will Gary Holt be here?
Sadly, Exodus take to the stage minus their most famous member. Gary is doubling as Jeff Hanneman’s stand in guitarist for Slayer; who are also on tour at the moment. Since Slayer are playing in Belfast tomorrow night, hopes were high Gary would perform both shows but it’s his Exodus stand in, Kragen Lum from Heathen, on stage with the band. That aside, there’s no signs of weakness as Rob Dukes leads his band with immense physical presence and vocal brutality.
Early on in the show, tensions rise between Dukes, security and the crowd as the bouncers down front begin dragging as many would be crowd surfers as they can out of the pit. Noticing this, Rob stops to speak with security and informs them crowd surfing is an essential part to any Exodus live show. After speaking with DME to resolve the matter, the band carry on with ‘Children of a Worthless God’. Rob’s attempt at calming security down doesn’t seem to resolve much and throughout the set he gets verbally more annoyed by their actions and snaps at them to calm down and leave fans alone who are trying to have a good time.
Throughout all the commotion (of which there was little on the surface), Exodus plough through a fist full of thrash metal hits with more extremity than most bands can accomplish. While the majority of their set comes from their most famous recordings, 1985’s Bonded By Blood and 1988’s Fabulous Disaster, there is a healthy inclusion of tracks from their past three studio recordings which often compare and trounce their earlier known classics. ‘Blacklist’, ‘Scar Spangled Banner’ from 2004’s Tempo of the Damned are killer inclusions and that’s before the epic, ‘War Is My Shepherd’ which in this reviewers opinion is the greatest metal song of the 21st century. Likewise, four tracks from the Exhibit albums (‘The Ballad of Leonard and Charles’, ‘Beyond The Pale’, ‘Children..’ and ‘Iconoclasm’) continue to show Exodus’s natural knack for song writing hasn’t withered over the years.
As we come to the final songs of the night, Rob again openly engages with security as they get more extreme in their mission to stop crowd surfing. The music stops and Rob orders security out of the pit. At this point, things turn temporarily nasty as security back talk the singer and risk the wrath of ravenous fans at the front. Yours truly holds on for dear life at the barrier, unable to move or get the camera out to film the tension as security guards speak with fans and the band, trying to work out what to do under the chants of ‘Security out’, ‘fuck off’ and ‘get out’. Eventually, security leave and the roar from fans lifts the roof of the venue. EXODUS win and it is time to party. Finally fans are allowed go properly nuts, with Rob helping crowd surfers up on stage for their dives. I last mere minutes at the front before collapsing back under about three people and it is savage craic. The pit, which had been in full on stampeded mode all night goes into extremities, but the fans maintain that classic metal gig etiquette of stopping the second anyone falls to allow others to pick them up again. There isn’t a spirit in the house un-lifted by the sher win of it all. It is everything a metal gig used to be and could be. A show you normally only hear about, rather than get to witness in person these days and the best parts happened to the tune of ‘The Toxic Waltz’ and ‘Strike of the Beast’ – not a bad way to go out and quite possibly one of the best metal gigs ever to hit Dublin.
On a personal note, I managed to lose my phone during one of the last tunes. After searching once the band had left the stage there was no sign until someone in the crowd said a lad had found a phone and brought it to bar. Short story short – they had it. I want to say a massive thank you to whoever handed it in. I was originally upset I hadn’t gotten video of Rob’s speech up the front while he kicked security out, but delighted to get the phone back with – the footage of it being knocked out of my hand. All below for your fun. I’ve heard since others lost their phones during the gig and all got them back. To anyone who says a bad word about metallers – tonight you had a gathering of some of the best, most genuine, honest people in the country. Band and fans alike did the metal world proud. Now, off to ice my chest, shoulder and elbow before the Unleashed Festival this weekend!