EXODUS is a band known for its warmth, humor, good vibes, and good cheer (especially now that Steve Souza is back) so on a cold grey Sunday afternoon in Glasgow, Scotland, Colin and I gathered expectantly in the Swan pub, Paisley to have some drinks before the show. Around 5pm we got the train into Glasgow Central and had some pre-show drinks at the Solid Rock Café which is a pub for metalheads. The pub was in tune with events at the Cathouse down the street (the venue for Exodus). When we got to Solid Rock they were playing traditional metal and this gave way to thrash songs and then to Exodus songs when show time was approaching.
Exodus played to a crowd of around 400 at the Cathouse, a small venue around 20 métres square. The opening band played a typical retro-thrash style with some great melodic guitar parts. Exodus arrived to the background chants of the crowd. Souza spoke a lot to the crowd saying a tribute to Lemmy and pointing out how his band was honoured to have played with Motorhead on so many stages. I thought we might get a Motorhead cover but we got "A Lesson in Violence" from Bonded by Blood.
The warmth of Exodus was very evident with the crowd regularly breaking into chants of the band's name, the mosh-pit in full swing, Souza praising the Glasgow scene and the Cathouse venue. Then there was Gary Holt smiling, making frequent eye contact with the crowd, and belting out the words to all the songs. There was an encore of "Bonded by Blood", "Toxic Waltz" from Fabulous Disaster, and "Strike of the Beast". Full respect to two teenaged metalheads behind us who knew all the words to Toxic Waltz!
Back at Glasgow Central station after the show an older metalhead in a Slayer t-shirt said to me that he wanted to hear more songs from the Fabulous Disaster album but all we got was "Toxic Waltz". I agreed totally with him and I hope he got home that night as no-one else was venturing on to the train he entered! There was a strong focus on the Bonded by Blood album (three or four songs) and modern-era songs (Tempo of the Damned onwards). "War is my Shepherd" was average at best and the tough-guy Rob Dukes vocals and lyrics do not suit Souza. The song title is a smart-ass tough guy slogan that falls far short of the high standards set by the lyrics of the Souza era. There was nothing from my favorite album Impact is Imminent from 1990. I would have loved "The Lunatic Parade" or "Changing of the Guard". I wonder whether the absence of most songs from the 1987-92 era is due to Souza's original era with the band being downgraded because of Souza's long absences. Of course I hope this is not the case.
The only other problem for the show was that Souza's barking, punky vocals were drowned out by the other musicians and the crowd. The Exodus studio sound remains special, you need to be able to hear the vocal clearly because for Souza and Paul Baloff the voice tone, timing, and inflections make up a lot of the meaning as well as much of the Exodus charm. The crowd departed the venue quickly as it was a Sunday night and we had time for one last beer back at the Swan, Paisley.
Songs played included: And Then There Were None, A Lesson in Violence, Children of a Worthless God, War is my Shepherd.