Given the chance to see Anvil twice in the UK in 2 days was a chance not to be missed and the icing on the cake was interviewing drummer Robb Reiner and vocalist/guitarist Lips before the show in Glasgow!
Anvil had played the Steelhouse Festival in Ebbw Vale,South Wales the day before and then fitted in 3 headline shows before heading off for a festival appearance in Wacken,Germany. It is always good to know that there are still bands around with no egos who treat their fans like friends and so after the interview it was almost showtime as the evening began with 2 well received sets from Black Lights and Bisongrass. Worthy of mention is Bisongrass frontman Mark Craig whose bug eyed mannerisms and manic stage moves brought to mind Aberdeen’s version of Iggy Pop!
So to the headliners who dispense with intro tapes,dry ice etc. Just stroll on,plug in,Lips gives a brief intro by talking into his guitar and we are straight into the instrumental March Of The Crabs then no pause for breath as they unleash 666 from their groundbreaking album Metal On Metal,giving Robb Reiner the chance to show that age has not affected his speed and power on the drums. The set was similar to the one they played at Bloodstock here last year with tracks from Juggernaut Of Justice replaced by songs from current album Hope In Hell. The 1st new track that was aired was Bad Ass Rock N Roll,a high tempo number which followed School Love,a nice blast from the past from their debut Hard And Heavy. New bassist Sal Italiano stepped to the fore next as he had chance to prove his mettle in Winged Assassins. After a manic version of On Fire the pace was slowed down by the title track of their comeback album This Is 13,giving Lips space to deliver some howling feedback to a very appreciative crowd. The heat was unbearable but it did not bother Anvil as This Is 13 segued into an elongated power metal Mothra with Lips playing his guitar with a vibrator!
Mankind Machine,another Hope In Hell newie is a real riff grinder, followed by fan favourite Thumb Hang preceded by a brief intro by Lips saying it was the 1st song he and Robb wrote in 1973 full of heavy Black Sabbath riffs. Swing Thing,another Juggernaut Of Justice song and another instrumental gave Robb his solo spot as he covered every inch of his kit which must have tested the strength of it. Eat Your Words was next,one of the faster numbers on Hope In Hell which led into said title track from the album,a hard rocker in the vein of Forged In Fire. No Anvil show would be complete without their anthem Metal On Metal which raised the crowds voices even higher. Anvil left the stage for a few minutes and returned to thrash out their final song Running then took their bows and left the stage to rapturous applause. Not long after they came into the crowd to sign autographs and have photos taken,no waiting by the stage door in the cold and rain for this band!
So the following day saw the Academy 3 in Manchester due a visit from Anvil who have played this venue on the last 2 tours and i recognized a few faces in the crowd during the evening. Anvils rise from the ashes was proven when i was stood outside the venue and a well dressed well spoken guy walking home from work,saw my Anvil shirt,asked if they were still playing and when i said the gig was on that night he went in,bought a ticket and i saw him singing and headbanging down the front throughout the whole gig! The support slots were taken by Fyre Power and Falling Red who played impressive sets to a growing crowd. By the time Anvil came on at 21.30 the venue was like a sauna and although there were fewer people there than Glasgow,they were just as loud.
The set was the same as the night before but a few guitar problems during March Of The Crabs and 666 did not faze Lips at all and because the stage was smaller than the one in Glasgow,Robb Reiners drum kit was so close to the front rows,when he did his solo in Swing Thing it was like being in a boxing ring with a prize fighter! Mankind Machine was dedicated by Lips to Jason Brown,a longstanding Anvil fan which must have made the show even more special for him! Another manic version of Metal On Metal brought the roof down and after the set,once again were into the crowd meeting the fans.
Old fans went home satisfied,new fans won over. Job done!
Anvil line up :-
Steve “Lips” Kudlow – Lead vocals/guitar.
Robb Reiner – Drums.
Sal Italiano – Bass guitar/backing vocals.
Set list :-
March Of The Crabs.
Bad Ass Rock N Roll.
This Is 13.
Eat Your Words.
Hope In Hell.
Metal On Metal.
I award both shows a pounding 10/10.