Rams Head Live
Maryland Deathfest is a yearly celebration of all things extreme in the metal world. Mixing various styles, featuring bands from all over the world, and bringing together all fans of heavy music, Maryland Deathfest started on Thursday, May 23, 2019 and lasted until May 26, 2019. Perhaps the most heralded moment of the weekend was when Mr. Phil Anselmo graced the stage of Rams Head Live on Saturday.
To retrace history just a little bit and to explain why this performance was quite interesting; Dimebag Darrell was killed onstage in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 2004. Dime’s brother, Vinnie Paul would not take the stage again until HellYeah performed their first ever show at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on May 20, 2007.
The first HellYeah show was security heavy and getting into the venue almost required a cavity search ( Pantera VH-1 Behind the Music Remastered reference). It made perfect sense, Vinnie was paranoid after witnessing his brothers murder and no one could blame him for choosing safety.
Phil Anselmo and his band Scour performed on May 25, 2019 at the same venue where Vinnie chose to make his triumphant return to live music and for the Scour set there was one interesting request from the band: NO BULLET BELTS. Security was not as tight as it was for the first HellYeah performance but it was also slightly higher during Phil’s set than for other acts on this bill.
Scour are an extreme metal act and their set was short and to the point.
Two covers were performed during their 45 minute set. Bathory’s “Massacre” and Pantera’s “Strength Beyond Strength” which closed the bands set.
Phil kept his between song rants to a minimum and at one point said to the crowd, “Let Me Hear you Motherf**kers, I Know You’ve Been Here All Weekend! Hey, look at everyone upstairs man, I’m fuckin’ old and I’m blind, let me see your hands in the fuckin’ air man! It’s beautiful to be here with you motherf*ckers! It’s awesome, thank you so much.”
Phil’s appearance was good, he looked healthy, lean, and sounded good. His facial hair was white and he shows signs of age yet still looks and sounds like the Phil everyone know’s and love’s from Pantera back in the day.
Before starting “Strength Beyond Strength” Phil commented that, “Look man, y’all wanna hear one more? This is always like, the most bizarre part for me, but then (unrecognizable), it is a tribute man, and…it’s something that you might enjoy, we shall see.”
Phil stayed onstage a minute after the members of Scour walked off and thanked the crowd repeatedly. It was clear that Phil had enjoyed his time onstage and was in a healthy, happy place.
Within 5 minutes of the Scour set ending Phil was behind the venue getting ready to leave. About a half dozen fans asked Phil for photos and he obliged the handful of fans before leaving the venue.
We ventured over to Soundstage where Squash Bowels were performing an interesting set which led to the next weird moment of the night. Leaving Soundstage to head back to Rams Head Live it was apparent that police presence was stepped up. Overhead helicopters were shining search lights everywhere and road closures were happening all around the venues. Apparently there was a 100+ person mini mob that decided to run through the area attacking random people on the street, smashing cars, and causing so much chaos that the entire area started to prepare for a lock down.
At Rams Head Live the security were prepared to lock down the venue so no concert attendants were harmed; security was placed at the back of the venue with radios and IF the mob chose to bum rush the venue they were prepared to lock the concert hall doors so no one was harmed. Luckily it did not go that far and the police presence disbursed the mini mob.
We chose to vacate the premises around 10:30 PM while police presence was still very active. The bulk of the Maryland Deathfest crowd had no clue what was going on around them and this article will probably be the first time many concert goers are aware of what was happening outside of the venues while death metal bands performed throughout the night.
Extra special thank you to my partner in crime Missy for all of her help; You're the best ♡
(Phil off stage photos by Missy)