A Lesson in Violence: Mr. Pickles Thrashtacular packs House Of Blues Anaheim

The Mr. Pickles Thrashtacular tour featuring Exodus and Municipal Waste recently hit Southern California for a show at the House Of Blues Anaheim. Our writer Erik E. Wrath was in attendance, along with photographer Hugo Juarez, and here is their recap of the event:

I arrived at the House of Blues in Anaheim a bit after 8 PM. I missed the opener, Dirty Machine. The folks I polled seemed to think their nu-metal styling was an odd fit for the bill. I’m surprised a more appropriate opener could not be signed up… either way I would have missed it! But let me say, the newly relocated HOB of Anaheim has some of the best live sound for metal in SoCal, plus super easy parking and an overall cool vibe. I will easily drive the 90 minutes of rush hour traffic from LA proper to get to see a show there.

Municipal Waste

Municipal Waste exploded onto stage after a brief ad for Mr. Pickles on Adult Swim – considering the overall ticket price was less than $40, I can’t say a bit of corporate sponsorship was so bad (and it looks like a great TV show.) I was stoked to see Municipal Waste for the first time – I have been following them for couple years and consider their latest release, ‘Slime and Punishment’, to be an outstanding effort from a band in their prime. With a superb mix, they proceeded to give a 45-minute master course in crossover thrash. Short, tight song structure, articulate speed riffs, and a consistent ability to body slam from the fast tempos into churning pit riffs is what this band is all about. And, of course, partying! Lots of partying- ‘You’re Cut Off’, ‘Bourbon Discipline’ and ‘Beer Pressure’ all appeared early in the set, and they closed with ‘The Art of Partying’ / ‘Born to Party’. Guitars were tight, loud and clear, co-founder Ryan Waste and Nick Poulos both playing through Randall heads. There were only a couple short solos in the set but the riffs themselves are so mesmerizing, I didn’t miss them, which really says a lot about the strength of the songwriting. Pro drummer David Witte and bassist Philip “Landphil” Hall didn’t miss a beat. Tony Foresta confessed to being a little sick, but, through the wonders of CBD, he went from contemplating cancelling the show to performing admirably, with just a hint of rasp. He merrily encouraged the moshing crowd to carry out more destruction, Ryan jumping in for a little shit talking here and there. These guys were a real treat and I hope they make it back to SoCal soon (and so do you!)

Municipal Waste photos:

Municipal Waste set list:
01. Breathe Grease
02. Mind Eraser
03. You’re Cut Off
04. Unleash the Bastards
05. Sadistic Magician
06. Bourbon Discipline
07. Beer Pressure
08. Thrashing’s My Business… And Business Is Good
09. I Want to Kill the President
10. Black Ice
11. Poison the Preacher
12. Amateur Sketch
13. Slime & Punishment
14. The Thrashin’ of the Christ
15. Substitute Creature
16. Parole Violators
17. Headbanger Face Rip
18. The Art of Partying
19. Born to Party

The last time I saw Exodus was at the Wiltern, supporting Amon Amarth a few years back, and I was a bit underwhelmed, in no small part due the muddled Wiltern mix (that room is consistently a poor performer in the sound department). Considering what a hard act to follow Municipal Waste would be, I grew concerned when they took the stage as the sound mixing was off for them – the drums were too loud, with a sub-standard snare dominating the mix (does a 5-gallon bucket being hit with a wet newspaper sound good to anyone, let alone a professional sound man? Sorry, rhetorical question). The guitar levels were low, although they were sporadically slid up for solos. Luckily, after a few songs, the guitars got louder in the mix. At that point I could really appreciate the skill of this band, with Gary Holt and Lee Altus doubling down on genre-defining riffs and trading off skillful leads. Lee’s wolf-like presence was front and center, ESP Snakebite slung low, while Holt stalked the stage with his ESP Signature Model, at times retreating to jam with original band member and drummer Tom Hunting. Drum sound aside, Hunting was ferocious, he and bassist Jack Gibson moving the band along at a breakneck pace, especially powerful on the slower bits. Newer songs included ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ from the 2014 album of the same name, and the catchy ‘Body Harvest’. Mid-career was represented by ‘Blacklist’ and ‘War is my Shepard’. Vocalist Steve “Zetro: Souza did a great job of rallying the crowd around the old-school banner, and that’s really where this band shines, playing lots from their early catalog. By the time they were grinding out ‘The Toxic Waltz’, a true 75-minute “Lesson in Violence” had been delivered. The rabid capacity crowd shows that SoCal is ready to support more metal. Keep going out to live music, people!

– Words by Erik E. Wrath
– Images by Hugo Juarez

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Exodus photos:

Exodus set list:
01. Bonded by Blood
02. Blood In, Blood Out
03. Iconoclasm
04. And Then There Were None
05. Fabulous Disaster
06. Body Harvest
07. Metal Command
08. A Lesson in Violence
09. Blacklist
10. War Is My Shepherd
11. The Toxic Waltz
12. Strike of the Beast