An Evening with Down Review
by Eric Smith
January 18, 2008 in Mobile, AL at Soul Kitchen
Hurricane Katrina was a nightmare for so many along the Gulf Coast. We got out fair share of damage here in Mobile, but to truly understand the impact Katrina had on the Gulf Coast, New Orleans is probably be the best example, still. While seemingly bustling with vigor and life in the downtown French Quarter areas such as the infamous Bourbon Street, once one reaches the outskirts of the city the harrowing reality come into being. It resembles a war-torn place more like Beirut rather than the American suburban paradise we have been spoon-fed on television. Hundreds upon hundreds of homes have been gutted, and entire city wards are now but glorified ghost towns that do nothing more than remind us of a catastrophe that still haunts so many lives.
Phillip Hansen Anselmo, previous singer for popular heavy metal band Pantera, and current vocalist for Down, is one of these people that still experiences, on a daily basis, the growing pains that come with putting Katrina behind one's back. His own home has been made pretty much unlivable due to extreme water damage, and he certainly does not live the rock-and-roll lifestyle one expects of such a character. The other members of Down had similar issues that they faced when it came to damn-near everything they owned being lost due to storm damage, in some way, form or fashion.
This along with the horrific shooting of his previous band mate, the legendary Dimebag Darrell (born Darrell Lance Abbot) left Anselmo in a very dark place where ultimately self-loathing and resentment won the day. Shortly after the events of the cataclysmic hurricane, however, Anselmo and the rest of his mates in Down decided it was time to stop wallowing in negativity, and actively seek the light at the end of the tunnel.
Down, a band whose influences range from Black Sabbath to Lynyrd Skynyrd, played a crowd last Friday that more than likely pushed the fire hazard limit of the Soul Kitchen! The venue was simply way too packed. Mix this with drunken revelry that goes along with Mardi Gras, and you have a power keg waiting to go off. A few interesting specimens of the human race tried to start fights early on BEFORE the band even got on stage! Such was the rowdy atmosphere of the night.
After a lengthy (one hour!) film the band plays before every show now that showcases some of the band's influences, as well as hilarious tour footage, Down finally arrived on stage like the hometown Gulf Coast heroes they have become. Starting the set out with "Pillars of Eternity" from 1995's NOLA album and ending with a crushing rendition of "Bury Me in Smoke," Down was certainly at the top of their game. The group even went so far as to perform certain numbers that have never been played before live, such as "The Seed" (complete with drummer Jimmy Bower's comical bellow of "The power of the riff compels me!" over the mic) off of 2001's A Bustle in your Hedgerow.
As said before, the atmosphere in the room, early on, was intense. This did not let up until well into the middle of the 2 hour set. Many (yours truly including) were shocked to see violent moshing to relatively groovy, Sabbath-esque sludge metal tunes, but I suppose since Mobile gets little to nothing in terms of quality metal bands playing here, it's made up for months of aggression since the last super-heavy act came blowing through our lovely city. And, as per usual concerning shows of this nature, the alcohol consumption was off the CHARTS! A personal note here to the owners of Soul Kitchen: heavy metal + booze = lots of good profit for your business! Keep up the good work, whoever is booking these acts!
In all, what really matters was the fact that 5 laid-back Southern dudes, who have had so much woe and hardship in the past few years, were up on stage smiling, laughing, and having a good time playing music that means so much to them and their adoring fans. Brotherhood and friendship will always conquer adversity, and the brotherhood of metal (we can trademark that one later) is as close as they get!
CD Info and Links
An Evening with Down
Preview and Purchase This CD Online
Visit the official homepage
More articles for this artist
tell a friend about this review