Apparently there were three bands on this tour. Foursquare listed three when I checked in. Every other date on the tour, when I checked online had three. In Glasgow, The Howling were conspicuous by their absence.
I’m pretty certain we didn’t miss them as we got there shortly after the doors opened and there was no merch on sale for anything other than the two acts we did see. It just feels like a bit of a cheat, paying the same price as everyone else in the country for a ticket but getting one act fewer.
I have no idea if they’re any good or not, but I’m going to take a leap and assume they were dropped from the bill due to the (as ever) stupid 10pm curfew at the ABC so they can get the students in for their cheap drinks night.
Still, that left us with two other excellent bands to entertain us for a couple of hours.
Iced Earth, on the go since 1985 though with only one original member remaining, hit the stage around half seven. They ran through a very energetic 45-minute set.
Posing like seasoned professionals, there were obviously a few fans in the crowd begging for each song and by the end I reckon they’ll have gained a couple more. Fans. Not songs. It’s late, give me a break.
I’m glad to have finally caught them as I missed their most recent tour and their upcoming “UK” dates in early 2014 cover only Birmingham and London (and Dublin if you’ve got the Metal Hammer Atlas which reckons the Republic is part of the UK). Good value for money and if you get the chance to see them then they’re definitely recommended.
But Volbeat. Volbeat are something special. Often dubbed rock’s “great entertainers”, if there’s a band that deserves that label then Denmark’s boys are they. Them. It. I told you, it’s late.
With their catchy blend of rockabilly and heavy riffs, Volbeat had the crowd going from the moment their opening chords rang out. Chords that were delayed by the playback of the entire sodding recording of Motorhead‘s “Born to Raise Hell” (why do bands do that?), but a delay worth waiting through.
The setlist is below, and there’s not a bad track on it. This is because Volbeat don’t have any bad tracks. Even the covers they played (well, little bits from a few songs) were quality, but that’s partially going to be due to them being selected by the audience shouting stuff out and waving t-shirts in the air.
For a band that is predominantly known for the “rockabilly” side of their sound, they have some of the heaviest riffs of any band I know. So much so that as I write this around 24 hours later, my aging neck still hurts. I have not had such a good old-fashioned headbang in a long time.
New guitarist, and ex-Anthrax six-stringer, Rob Caggiano fits in perfectly. It’s like he’s been with the band for years. He played with a permanent grin fixed on his bearded face. In fact, all four of the band didn’t seem to stop smiling throughout the entire ninety-ish minutes they spent making the crowd bounce around, and that good humour was hugely infectious.
With several breaks for some good-natured banter with the crowd, Michael Poulsen shows himself to be a comfortable front man with a great nature. Rather than picking a medley of songs themselves for a break mid-set, he started “talking” to a member of the crowd asking them what they’d bought in a record store earlier in the day. The band then launched into Judas Priest‘s “Breaking The Law” before taking requests from those t-shirts waved in the air.
Frankly, if they’d played for 4 hours it wouldn’t have been long enough. My wife’s already labeled the gig as her favourite of the year, eclipsing 2011’s Cavalera Conspiracy and last year’s Andrew W.K. Fine recommendation indeed.
As an aside, this evening I put on the video of them playing live at Wacken which is kicking about on YouTube. Our littlest (15 months next week) went mental within seconds. They’re that good. And she’s got brilliant taste.