BIG FOUR BUILDING – NOVEMBER 3, 2013
That first moment when you walk in front of the stage before a good show, signalling it’s nearly time to start, is perfect. Your heart gets pumping, your head starts spinning and excitement builds; you can almost smell the talent and anticipation in the air.
The first notes that hit us were piano, building the mood with serenity and blue lighting, before being violently destroyed with thundering guitar. 4ARM ripped through the hall, charging the crowd to an even higher intensity than we already possessed pre-Slayer. A collective anticipatory energy rippled through the large gathering as they stood waiting, staring at a stage that was soon to cower beneath the powerful feet of thrash metal legends. Yet, 4ARM seemed to take the attention away, if even for just a moment, with the energy they brought to their set. When handed the baton, Gojira played well, but you could clearly see our attention spans draining as the time began to draw near.
Young and old crowded together to knock skulls, raise fists and drown in beer, all the while being crushed by the incredible music and, for some, the overwhelming nostalgia. Not one song on the Slayer’s set list was written after 1990: “Show No Mercy,” “Hell Awaits,” “Reign In Blood” and “Seasons in the Abyss” all had fair play, pasting a shit-eating grin on the veterans and thoroughly schooling the newly introduced. The loss of Jeff Hanneman is still a gaping wound in the metal world and some fans and critics were disgusted with the band’s decision to continue on without him. However, they brought with them a trophy from the same era as Gary Holt of Exodus stood with them onstage and slid into the mould with ease, channelling Hanneman’s spirit. Beneath oversized inverted crosses above the stage, Slayer shone, with a proud nod from down South and an enthusiastic applaud from Calgary.
By Ashlyn Lefebvre
Photos: Sarah Kitteringham