Having been a large Volbeat fan I’ve been looking forward to seeing them for a long time so when the opportunity arose on a rainy October night I was more than willing to see the US heavy rockabilly festival legends. Opening at the O2 Ritz were heavy rockers Danko Jones, combining their unique genre of classic rock and providing a solid soundtrack to people making their arrival and joining drinks queues. Their sound is very reminiscent of The Stranglers with a dark heavy metal twist and their incredibly bouncy live performance was very happily welcomed by the waiting audience.
I have heard a lot about Baroness and their hard rock credentials, moving from a somewhat underground band to one with the might of the likes of Mastodon, so I was definitely excited to see them and they delivered. Their polished live performance featured punchy, direct songs and sleek harmonies, commanding the attention of a large portion of the audience who by the end were encapsulated in their heavy metal bubble.
Moving onto heavy metal rockabilly musicians Volbeat‘s set, it’s clear this is who the crowd is here for, and playing to a packed out venue, they smash through their clean cut, crunchy set. Mixing in the new with the old, ranging from songs from their first album right up to their newest hits with a speed and smoothness that would put better known bands to shame.
Kicking off with “Pelvis on Fire”, there were absolutely no hints of the problems that had beset Michael Poulson recently (and which were to rear their heads again in a couple of days time) as he roared and twanged through this opening number. While the recent album hasn’t been received perhaps as well as their older material, it went down well enough with the Manchester audience (which is fortunate given that almost half the set was culled from Rewind, Replay, Rebound), but it was the classics that they were all baying for.
“Sad Man’s Tongue”, “Black Rose”, “Seal the Deal, “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza”… all were absolutely smashed out of the park.
Despite the crowd interaction being sparse at times, not one person was lost during their full set. Clapping, cheering and dancing from their adoring fans occurred throughout. Overall, Volbeat are one of the most solid metal bands I have seen live and I would not hesitate to see them again!
Photos by Katie Frost Photography