Live Review: ANVIL

anvil (4 of 25)
Crowbar Nov 08 2017

Let’s say the crowd of devotees aren’t here by mistake. They’re all set to head bang at this most appropriate of venues. It would seem that you don’t come to the Crowbar unless you’re ready to sweat and grind to metal…on any day of the week.

One gets the impression that if you bought an acoustic guitar here it may be dispatched to the fireplace. The crowd is of many varieties tonight – as long as that variety is classic metal….ain’t nobody here by mistake and that makes for a likeminded crowd. Metal has always been the refuge of the disenfranchised intellectual so when they all come together the excitement needle goes into the red.

Asylum jump onto the stage on time, the crowd are swelling to the front of stage but apportioning themselves the appropriate hair swinging space. The crowd is divided into 2 groups: those who love the life and those who wish they could play like that. Still, the band and the crowd were pleased. Good job boys, always hard though to decide if you’re Aussie or American when you talk between songs though. This band are great at the genre. Great tight players and a solid unit that communicate well.

It’s clear that it won’t be long before the sweat is dripping from the roof. The energy level is getting into prison yard frenzy and if you’re not a big black t-shirt wearing head banger then take a safe step or two away from the melee or you may cop a whack to the face from a stray elbow.

The band emerge early, Steve “Lips” Kudlow can be seen in the wings grin spread wide across his face and excited. He steps onto to the stage, guitar poised when all of a sudden he’s gone and he’s out in the thick of things, in the middle of the mosh pit smashing away on his guitar. The atmosphere as he moves through the throng is more electric than execution day on death row. This is what metal fans came for- this experience.

Only the brave would enter this Ritalin- fuelled crowd from here on in. It’s like being stuck in a cola bottle packed with Mentos. Not for one moment does the mosh pit let up, the energy just keeps fist pumping all night.

“I can see the bald heads and the grey hair but metal knows no bounds, growing old is obligatory but growing up is optional” states Steve as he cheekily addresses the crowd. This guy is having fun, he hopes we all are and if you’re not he probably doesn’t care too much, because you’re here listen and its what you’re going to do.

There is a sombre moment as Kudlow pays homage to music legend and an influence on his music Chuck Berry who recently passed away. It’s only a fleeting word and its straight back to business.

When plays the band “Bad ass Rock n roll” Kudlow gets a chant going from the crowd, whipping them into a maelstrom of fists pumping in the air to the beat and he has them in the palm of his hand right in that moment.

The crowd is like an 80s festival, men rocking out to their moment, and everyone is having fun. The music harks back to the golden age of hair metal, when rock music was fun, hair was big and none of life was taken too seriously. Anvil would have sat comfortably in your CD collection between the likes of Poison, Skid Row and Van Halen, perhaps even ZZ Top.

The band make a remarkably full sound as a 3 piece and the mix is solid. Nothing is vacant during the solos as they work their way through the hits “ School Love”, “ Ooh Baby”, This is Thirteen” keeping a steady momentum throughout. It’s worth mentioning the solid performance from bass player Bryce Robinson who plays a solid set keeping up with things nicely.

Kudlow quietly makes mention of how the music industry has lost many greats over the years and makes a special mention of Motörhead front man Lemmy, who played with the band in the 80s, Lemmy bemoaning that Anvil’s songs had “too many fucking hard parts”. At one stage Lemmy offered Kudlow a place in his band, however being that Anvil was his thing he declined. Instead he dedicates “Free as the Wind” to the bad ass music legend.

Whether you’re a fan that grew up with the band, greyed hair and memories of rock and roll or a younger fan this is whimsical pleasant metal. Its 90 mins of harmonious pleasure and pure fun.

The Canadian’s continue their domination of Australia in Sydney , Melbourne and Adelaide, tickets via Metropolis Touring, Grab your tickets while  you can .

Words by  John Anon

Friday, 10th November
Bald Faced Stag, Sydney

Saturday, 11th November
Prince Bandroom, Melbourne

Sunday, 12th November
Fowlers Live, Adelaide

Tuesday, 14th November
Rosemount, Perth


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