Intro / Dendera [words by Mosh]
Before I kick off with the gig review, our apologies to local openers Semper Fi. Due to a bit of poor planning on our part, Sean and I didn’t make it into the venue until after 8pm so we missed them. We will make this up to them as we’re all believers in supporting the support acts here!
So on to our first band of the night, south-coast traditional metallers Dendera. The first time they played Glasgow – and the last – was nigh on two years ago at the Classic Grand, opening for Gloryhammer. That was the night I picked up a copy of The Killing Floor and became an instant fan.
Tonight’s set was very much biased towards their new album Pillars of Creation which I’m just starting to get into. What I can definitely say is that seeing the band perform this new material live adds that extra layer of appreciation for an album that’s really growing on me. Highlight for me was probably “The Chosen One”, but the whole set was strong even given the slightly mushy acoustics in the venue. The only other limitation facing the band was the cramped stage. They just seemed a little claustrophobic, but only because you know they’d make so much more use of a larger space.
The music on Pillars isn’t simple stuff – more Iron maiden licks and twin leads than the likes of Metallica’s earlier albums based on power chords. Watching new boy Dave shred his way through songs that he probably didn’t even know a couple of months ago makes me confident that they made the right choice in picking him to replace departed founder member Tony.
Ashley maintained his “polite man of rock” ideal, always having a good rapport with the audience rather than sounding demanding or egotistical and this genuinely seemed to help with their response to his appeals for noise. A crowd that began with a single row at the barricades, a few loiterers and the majority to the back of the venue changed over the forty minutes the band were on… and very much in Dendera’s favour. Fists were raised, as were voices, and many heads were banging by the closing number.
Sean was certainly won over by them, and seeing both the crowd during their set and comments on facebook the day after, they’ve definitely – and deservedly – picked up some new fans.
Between sets, I had to head home to look after the kids so Sean was the one fortunate enough to remain behind and catch tonight’s headliners: Canadian legends Anvil!
Anvil [words by Sean]
For an unplanned gig, I couldn’t have done much better with this one. I had plans for Wednesday night that fell through and as I sat at home doing very little, I thought to myself “Why the fudge am I not going to see Anvil tonight?”. Fortunately Mosh, happened to get me into the gig and put simply, it was awesome.
Frontman Steve “Lips” Kudlow walked onstage with rhythm section Robb Reiner and Chris Robertson in tow to rapturous applause before climbing aboard the barriers and ripping out a great guitar solo. Anvil went straight into a collection of classics from their early-80s heyday with rocking tunes like “March of the Crabs”, “666”, “School Love” and “Winged Assassins”. The crowd were loving it. Heads were banging, fists were pumping and voices were singing along. The crowd were feeling the good time metal vibes, and so were the band. There wasn’t a moment where there wasn’t a smile on Lips’ face.
Showcasing some more modern material, Anvil took us through a few cuts from their latest records with “Badass Rock and Roll” and “This is Thirteen” before playing an extended version of one of my personal favourite songs – “Mothra”. The performance was high-energy, and on point musically and the showmanship was something else. In the extended section, Reiner kept a constant fast thrash beat going continuously for seemingly ages and he made it look so effortless. Like Lips says, Robb Reiner truly is one of the most underrated drummers in the world. Lips on the other took his ability as a showman to the next level with his wild guitar soloing with constant crowd interaction. The icing on this heavy metal cake was when he went to the back of the stage and produced an electric sex toy to manipulate the sound of his guitar in such a way to make some insane noise. It was truly a sight to behold and despite the extent of this performance of “Mothra”, it wasn’t self-indulgent or tiresome. It was a great show to watch.
In the closing half of the set, Anvil brought us back up to date with another selection of their more modern material through moodier tracks like “Thumb Hang” (originally one of the earliest songs they wrote that didn’t make its studio appearance until 2007’s This is Thirteen), “Swing Thing” (showcasing Reiner’s full abilities with an awesome drum solo) and their latest cut – “Hope in Hell”. Ending the set was of course Anvil’s biggest hit “Metal on Metal” featuring a full crowd shout-along before an encore of “Forged in Fire” and a cover of Steppenwolf’s rebellious rock ‘n’ roll classic “Born to Be Wild”.
Overall, Anvil smashed their set at Glasgow. They might be getting on a bit, and life in the rock ‘n’ roll business might have dealt them a rough hand over the years but through it all Anvil still know how to rock with the best of them. It’s a travesty that they’re not a bigger band than what they are. The musicianship is great, the showmanship and stage presence is excellent, and the songs are just pure and simple heavy metal awesomeness!
If you’ve not seen Anvil before, or are new to band, go and see them. You’re guaranteed a great time. Good friends, good music and good times. Keep on rockin’!