Gig Review: Anvil / Ragdoll Sunday / Electus – Bannermans, Edinburgh (4th March 2020)

Here we are at Bannermans Edinburgh to catch up with a band that I first saw at the Reading Festival in 1983, Anvil, who are only now in the last 10 years finally getting the recognition and rewards they so justly deserve. The 2008 documentary The Story of Anvil I think touched the hearts and souls of all metal fans. The story gives you a glimpse into how much this band have had to endure and a lesser band would have just given up, but as Lips mentions later on tonight, the documentary has meant that he has not had to do a delivery in 13 years. The band are now on tour to sold-out shows everywhere, including tonight in Edinburgh, with their latest, just-released album Legal At Last.

Electus (c) Gary Cooper

We have a couple of bands to get through before Anvil and the first of those is Wolverhampton-based Electus. The drums kick in as they start us off with “Saved”, a huge slice of good old rock ‘n’ roll and a tasty, delightful start. The guitar kicks in as they play “Just For One Night”, another cracker of a track. They’re definitely a keeper, this band, with this quality of music and playing. A “Ticket to Nowhere” gets us going with its infectious groove and cowbell, the head is going and the feet are tapping away to a fabulous track. We head to the first track off last year’s fabulous album Close Encounters with “Best of Me”, and I am loving this band’s groove-laden rock ‘n’ roll sound. The “Soul Breaker” carries us away before we meet the rocky “Midnight Dancer”. The exotic “Killer Joe” is the last from Close Encounters before the “Rider” takes us out on a crunchy guitar and drum laden sonic attack. I have to say from the first cord to the last I loved this band and one I will be watching to catch again live, miss them at your peril.

Ragdoll Sunday (c) Gary Cooper

Next up we have Ragdoll Sunday who kick things of with the punchy “End of the End” from last year’s debut album Puritan with hints of The Cult coming through from the voice of Gaetano for a real rocker of a start. The first track off their 2018 EP Immigrant next with “What a Day”, which is a really fast-paced and punky style track, before we head back to the album with the bouncing “Truth’s Hate”. We get “Welcome to the Industry” from their forthcoming EP of the same name and it rocks and bodes well for the EP. We get a triple bill from the album next with the crunching riffs of “Marching Lines” before an atmospheric start heralds “Animia’s Curse”, swiftly followed by the heavy bass lines of “Say Goodbye”. Another great track, and shows the band have a rock sound that is hard to pin down but is rather good, I have to say. Another new one in the form of “Knives Out” and again it keeps the band rocking and bodes well for their future. We head back to the EP again for the last track of the night with “Sleeper” and its slight punky nod. I enjoyed the band with their punky rock vibe, another band to catch if they are in your vicinity as they offer a really mixed bag of styles but are very enjoyable.

Anvil (c) Gary Cooper

The rear crowd roars as Anvil, aka Lips, Robb and Chris, make their way to the stage. The grins on their faces as they turn and the sold-out Edinburgh crowd lets out a deafening huge roar that brings an obvious, genuine “wow” from Lips. The opener, “March Of The Crabs” from Metal on Metal starts up and Lips, as you would expect from him, strolls into the packed sold-out crowd and does what he does best, plays honest, great heavy metal with Chris on bass grinning like a nutter and Robb pounding away behind that huge drum kit. What a start. They stick with the same album and we have the heavy, full-on “666” next before getting all Hard ‘N’ Heavy from 1981 with the fantastic guitar of the groove-laden “Ooh Baby, Baby” sounding as fresh as ever. What a triple start to the set.

The first of three tonight from the fantastic new album with the title track “Legal at Last” quickly followed by the crunching heavy that is “Nabbed in Nebraska”, we get some Hope in Hell with the just fabulous bouncing, crowd sing-along anthem that is “Badass Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Just rock ‘n’ roll heavy metal heaven. A couple from 1983’s Forged in Fire with the fabulous “Winged Assassins” & “Free As the Wind” with its early Iron Maiden vibe. We meet the Juggernaut of Justice next as the crowd is set “On Fire”, an absolute killer of a track. The crunching, moody title track now from This Is Thirteen before we meet the beast that is “Mothra” from the classic Metal on Metal. Pure, full-on heavy metal complete with that well-worn vibrator slide which always gets the crowd going, a true classic.

The crunching guitar opens up as we see the “Bitch in the Box”, a track inspired from a passing comment made by Lip’s better half, then the “Swing Thing” gets things pounding along next as skins maestro Robb Reiner lets loose on that drum kit, and Lips and Chris ably backing him up. An absolute joy to watch Reiner’s style of playing on the drums. The last one tonight from Legal at Last was up next with Lips letting us know that “I’m Alive”. I have to say, Anvil are more than that, they are just on another level tonight, tight as a gnat’s ass, loud as Motorhead on a good day and Lips even regales us with tails about the main man Lemmy as well.

The main set closes with what else but that title track classic from Metal on Metal? Probably the one most of the crowd have been waiting on as it takes a lot of us back to a time when metal was still on a high, the crowd are all singing along with the band and all smiling as they should be as it ends. The band encore with the title track from Forged in Fire before finishing up a stunning set with a cover of “Born to be Wild” as the crowd roars its approval at the end.

This has been a truly stunning gig from a band that really has nothing to prove. In the realms of the heavy metal world we live in, this band is truly legendary and will always remain so. The band were on fire and genuinely were enjoying themselves up there with the whole band grinning like loons, bouncing about and Lips loving every minute, as was this sold-out tightly packed crowd at Bannermans. I hope the band keep on going as we need this style of true heavy metal more than ever these days, check the band out on tour and the new amazing album as well. This was a band on fire and at the top of their game tonight, just fantastic, haste ye back, boys.

Pics by Coops Gig Photography

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