There was an excitement in the air inside The Rave last night May 16 in Milwaukee that was palpable. Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus were in town and the show was sold out for the past couple weeks, fans gobbling up tickets in advance like they were candy. Onstage and in the crowd the energy was invigorating, primal and all the things that metal music should be; intense, loud, enthusiastic and unrelenting.
Exodus opened the show, and guitarist Gary Holt would return to the stage later in the evening pulling double duty with Slayer as their touring guitarist. Exodus was in fine form, giving Milwaukee an energetic and ripping set. Vocalist Rob Dukes was spot on all night and, despite a short 30 minute set, he gave Milwaukee his all and whipped the crowd into a frenzy in anticipation of the headliner.
Suicidal Tendencies played second on the bill, and vocalist Mike Muir had more energy than the Energizer bunny. Muir simply never stopped moving, transferring his emotion to the audience who eagerly fed off his stage presence. Suicidal ran through their set with boundless joy, hitting tracks from all the high points of their career, including "I Saw Your Mommy..." from their 1983 self-titled release. Straying from the onstage set list, with just a few songs left in the set, Suicidal gave Milwaukee a superb run through of "How Will I Laugh Tomorrow," which was a great surprise considering it was unexpected.
Slayer closed out the show with a blistering 90 minute set, leaving the crowd in awe. Tom Araya and Kerry King led the charge representing the deep roots of the band that go back to 1981. Drummer Paul Bostaph, who spent a decade with the band from 1992-2002, was also in top form, keeping a rock steady beat all night. As previously mentioned, Gary Holt, who has been playing guitar with Slayer since 2011, did an amazing job honoring Jeff Hanneman, who gave his passion to making Slayer one of the top metal bands in existence before his untimely passing last year.
Highlights from Slayer's set at The Rave are what you would expect, "Die By The Sword" from the 1983 debut "Show No Mercy," and the epic anthems "Raining Blood" and "Angel Of Death" from the massively influential "Reign In Blood" from 1986. Slayer dominated the beloved tunes proving that the thrash metal genre simply gets better with age. The songs remain timeless and they will forever be the blueprint for inspiring the next generation.