Anvil – Rebellion Bar, Manchester, October 21st 2016.

Anvil Live
Photograph by Erika Wallberg

Now this is the perfect example of how to show respect to your fans! A planned interview with lead vocalist Lips and drummer Robb Reiner from Canadian metallers Anvil resulted in me just talking to Robb Reiner as Lips’ voice was barely a croak and he was worried about doing the show but was determined not to cancel it. Just over two hours later they hit the stage and delivered a full on ninety minute set with Lips even more animated than usual to a packed out Rebellion Bar.

Prior to the headliners we were warmed up by two high octane support bands. Opening band Mystery Blue who had travelled from Strasbourg in France delivered some intense power metal. Lead vocalist Nathalie Geyer commanded the stage with a vocal tour de force. Following them were Rezet, based in Schleswig, Germany, they hammered out a dose of old school thrash metal topped off with a raging cover of ‘No Class’ by Motorhead, dedicated to Phil Taylor by lead vocalist Ricky Wagner.

The headliners strode onstage to deafening cheers with Lips heading straight into the crowd to open the set with the instrumental ‘March Of The Crabs’ with that ever present grin there throughout. Any worries about his voice were dispelled by ‘666’ as he belted it out, backed by the double bass drum assault from Robb Reiner and chest thumping bass guitar lines from Chris Robertson. As the song closed, Lips exclaimed ” I’m as sick as a fucking dog but I’m gonna have a good time”. A rarely played ‘Ooh Baby’ from their debut album Hard And Heavy was a personal highlight and crowd participation came to the fore during ‘Badass Rock And Roll’ which saw Lips’ voice improve as he shouted “It’s amazing what a bit of rock and roll can do”.

   ‘Winged Assassins’ saw Lips introduce bassist Chris Robertson as “He will be the last bass player Anvil will ever have”.. The lyrics to  ‘Free As The Wind’, another number from the Forged In Fire album perfectly describe the lifestyle of heavy metal fans with sweat pouring off Lips as he went into the solo. When a fan asked for it to be played again, he replied “Can I play it again? I’m gonna fuckin pass out in a minute”. The pace picked up with ‘On Fire’ and the crowd pleasing ‘Daggers And Rum’ got us in fine voice again. We got our breath back as the crushing doom of ‘This Is Thirteen’ featuring some over the top guitar solos oozed out of the p.a system  as they charged into the mighty ‘Mothra’.

Elongated from the version on Metal On Metal, its power metal grooves hit hard as Lips delivered part of the solo as usual with a vibrator and added roaring feedback from his amps. ‘Swing Thing’, the second instrumental of the set saw Lips and Chris goofing around front of stage as they stepped back to let Robb Reiner prove what an underrated drummer he is as he shook the foundations with a seismic solo. ‘Die For A Lie’ was preceded by Lips saying “This is something Hilary Clinton should do”. Showing off the more melodic side of Anvil, it was followed by their immortal classic ‘Metal On Metal’ with Lips’ gonzoid main riff getting the hair flying in Rebellion. Thinking this was the encore I was surprised to see them return and hammer out a cover of the Steppenwolf classic ‘Born To Be Wild’, written by Mars Bonfire. The band took their bows to a very vocal crowd and I’ll never know just how Lips made it through that gig!

Special thanks goes to Erika Wallberg for the use of her photo.

Anvil band line up :-

Lips – Guitar/lead vocals.

Robb Reiner – Drums.

Chris Robertson – Bass guitar/backing vocals.

Set list :-

March Of The Crabs.


Ooh Baby.

Badass Rock And Roll.

Winged Assassins.

Free As The Wind.

On Fire.

Daggers And Rum.

This Is Thirteen.


Swing Thing.

Die For A Lie.

Metal On Metal.

Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf cover).

About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!
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