When attending a Municipal Waste gig, the deal is that you’re signing up not only for insanely electric-riffage, but first and foremost: mayhem. The American thrashers’ illustrious career spanning over the last two decades has seen them blaze trails in the thrash scene, not only by cracking open the genre to be the most chaotic it can be, but by blasting audiences with live-performances that are bursting with bedlam, rebelliousness, and a steadfast loyalty to partying. The Richmond, Virginia band have forged their name to be synonymous with these attributes, and their Exeter Phoenix gig was the live fruition of this. Throwing hesitation to the wind and not expending a single breath without giving it is his all, frontman and vocalist Tony Foresta launched into action onstage, dealing gem after gem of fizzy, high-voltage headbangers. The crowd wrestled like a sea of writhing electric eels – it was immensely difficult not to be swept away by the blur of each member firing off onstage. Joking along with the audience many times, Foresta dashed each track interval with witty remarks and also a deep appreciation for the gig – this was Municipal Waste’s first UK headline tour in a while, and it was evident that the thrashers had been chomping at the bit to unleash their chaos on British crowds for quite some time.
Tony Foresta launched into action onstage, dealing gem after gem of fizzy, high-voltage headbangers.
More than a dozen beer-kegs worth of satirical, humorous tracks were poured from onstage; ‘Breathe Grease’, ‘Grave Dive’ and ‘The Thrashin’ of the Christ’ (a song Foresta hysterically declared to be a track about Satan and Mel Gibson) pumped up the crowd to be an awe-inspiring jumble of crowd surfers and party-possessed bodies. A helping of tracks hailing from Municipal Waste’s 2003 debut album ‘Waste ‘Em All’, such as ‘Sweet Attack’ and ‘Substitute Creature’ were also unvaulted for their first live-performances in decades before pints more of party-drenched thrashers flowed from the tap. Guitarists Nick Poulos and Ryan Waste blasted through each track with ease, whilst bassist Phil ‘Landphil’ Hall swung in to deliver contagious and delicious melodies, serving up an ace performance on his birthday. Drummer Dave Witte wasn’t outmatched by his bandmates, spearheading the cohort’s steamroll ahead.
The riotous onstage antics of Municipal Waste made for a fantastic atmosphere within the crowd, with chants throughout and a constantly enlarging mosh pit. To initially garner such a massive response from their audience is evidence of their renowned status within the new millennium thrash scene – the ability to elevate this further and further however, is proof enough that the band are sharper than ever, with a charmingly wicked stage presence and every drop of talent and effort that it takes to bask in the beer-soaked tracks that have served as the soundtrack for every metalhead’s party playlist. Later tracks in their set served as the perfect blowout, with ‘Crank the Heat’ delivering exactly what it states, and ‘The Art of Partying’ epitomizing the unapologetically rowdy brilliance of the band. Municipal Waste’s marvellous focus on the experiential capabilities of live metal music serves as a potent reminder of the excitement and joy that the genre and its many subgenres are capable of inspiring in its audience. Their onstage spirit is a great embodiment of the importance of enjoying yourself and getting lost in the music from time to time. Notable mentions go out to the support acts, GEL and Undeath, both of which shone magnificently in their own lights whilst redefining their respective genres of hardcore and death metal. Magnetic with the audience and bringing heaps of confidence and stamina, Municipal Waste were a treat to witness onstage at the Phoenix.
Municipal Waste’s UK tour continues to roll on throughout October.