Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals at Summit Music Hall, with Author & Punisher, 1/15/14

Brandon Marshall

After the stage was cleared of any strange musical contraptions left behind by opening act Author & Punisher (more on that in a minute), Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals took the stage, and instantanly, it was strange seeing Anselmo on a smaller stage compared to the arena-filling epicness he brought with Pantera. Here at the Summit, he looked like your average cranky and drunk neighbor with a beer belly and a sleeveless shirt.

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Brandon Marshall

Not to far into the band's set, it's was amazing seeing how similar of a musician guitarist Marzi Montazeri and drummer Joey Gonzalez are to Dimebag and Vinnie Paul -- it's much more noticeable live. They both had a hard time not getting ahead of themselves with their instruments, though, packing it all in and letting it loose with every split second. It didn't take long for us to get a Pantera song. "Death Rattle," from Reinventing the Steel, felt like it was plucked out of nowhere from that band's hefty catalog.

Brandon Marshall

Anselmo and company continued at an angry ADD-addled pace, with fast, short, and brutal songs that sounded like they ripped the skin off of traditional NOLA metal and played in that irritable puss-filled wound for everyone else to feel the fury. Inevitably a fight broke out, but it was stifled quickly by security, and inspired an admonishment from Anselmo who said, "No fighting, we're here to have a good time, motherfuckers." The former Pantera frontman still has the magnetic presence of a pentecostal pastor preaching to his flock, arms extended, filling impressionable minds with tidbits of his wisdom, particularly while transitioning from songs like "Battalion of Zero" to "Walk Through Exits Only."

Brandon Marshall

After tripping out into the "Dazed and Confused" lethargic intro, the band ripped it up with its single "Bedridden," which gave the crowd the sense that it was all coming to a close soon -- "I choke on my existence." Puff clouds ascended after Anselmo lit up a joint given by a front row stoner, while Marzi shredded a lengthy solo. Then came the very fast and brief "Waiting for a Turning Point," a Superjoint Ritual original. The close of the show cascaded down into a rushing waterfall of "A New Level," a Pantera power punch that made the large moshpit go apeshit one last time. Every time the chorus came around, the crowd chanted, "A new level of confidence and power."

Brandon Marshall

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