I wonder if Lips and Robb Reiner, the 2 founding members of Canadian metal legends Anvil were aware that their Bloodstock appearance was just 9 days away from being 30 years since they played at a UK outdoor festival? I was front barrier for that gig at Donington Monsters Of Rock and i made sure i was front barrier for this one! It is hard to believe the time difference between both gigs because the intensity levels are just as high onstage, and personally i think Anvil sound better now as a power trio than with a 2nd guitarist!
So on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Lips sprinted onto the main stage, let rip with a flurry of notes before addressing the ever growing crowd. The introduction was not relayed through a microphone but by shouting into his semi hollow bodied Dean guitar! Opening number, as it has been for the past few tours, is March Of The Crabs, the instrumental lifted from the groundbreaking 1982 album Metal On Metal. Lips was running from side to side of the stage, smiling like a madman and getting the crowd in the palm of his hand from the off. New bassist Sal Italiano was locking in tight with the thunderous drums of Robb Reiner. The feedback that closes the song segues into another Metal On Metal track, the crushing 666, the main body of the song heralded by wrist breaking snare drumming. After a brief intro by Lips, the title track of current album Juggernaut Of Justice was pounded out. Lips lyrics highlighting his dedication, ” My soul’s a fire you can’t put out. Avalanche of power. Flowing like a river of endless might, my hunger will devour “. Winged Assassins, a track from 1983 release Forged In Fire was next, the bass intro hammered out by Sal as Lips introduced him to the UK crowd, his first appearance here with Anvil. Once again, Lips is all over the stage, covering more ground than bands half his age.
Another new song came next, On Fire is one of the faster numbers on the new album, the lyrics again by Lips meaning every word he says, ” The music flows so free, the songs inside of me, that never seem to fade “. Title track of their previous album This Is Thirteen followed, a slow but heavy number giving Lips to shine with many solos and howling feedback. Fan favourite Mothra was next. Stretched to almost 3 times as long as the version on Metal On Metal as Lips produced a vibrator to assist in making his main solo even more outrageous! By now the main stage crowd were lapping his showmanship up as i expect a fair proportion of the crowd had only come to know Anvil from watching their movie Anvil:The Story Of Anvil. This was the case of a guy stood next to me who could not believe what he was seeing onstage.
Another instrumental was next, the colossal Swing Thing from the new album which gave the chance for Robb Reiner to show what an inspiration he was to a young Lars Ulrich over 30yrs ago. The song begins with a bass/guitar/drum jam as Lips and Sal left the stage to Robb to let rip. Drum solos were a staple of most rock bands’ live shows in the 70’s and 80’s so it is good to see a master at work in 2012! The only way Anvil could follow that was to play their most well known song, Metal On Metal,from the track of the same name. When Lips hit the gonzoid main riff it was a hairs up on the back of the neck moment as every fist was raised to sing the chorus of ” Keep on rocking, keep on rocking, to this metal tonight. Keep on pounding, keep on pounding, join the heavy metal fight!”. Job done,Anvil brought their set with another new one from Juggernaut Of Justice called Running. A fitting end to what was to have been a 45 minute set but these wily old road dogs started early and got a full hour in.
Anvil delighted old fans at Bloodstock Open Air and made plenty of new ones judging by the snaking queue to the signing tent an hour later!
Anvil band line up :-
Lips – Guitar/vocals.
Robb Reiner – Drums.
Sal Italiano – Bass.
Bloodstock Open Air setlist :-
March Of The Crabs.
Juggernaut Of Justice.
This Is Thirteen.
Metal On Metal.
I would like to thank Planetmosh photographer Simon ” Snake ” Thomas for the use of his photos for my review! \m/
My In depth interview with Robb Reiner at Bloodstock click here