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LIVE REVIEW: ANVIL, Perth – 6 Nov, 2014

| 12 November 2014 | Reply

LIVE REVIEW: ANVIL, Perth – 6 Nov, 2014
ANVIL with Psychonaut and Reapers Riddle, The Astor Lounge – Thursday, 6 November, 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Stuart McKay


The Astor Lounge looks smaller than it is, but it’s not exactly overflowing tonight despite (or, for some, because of) the reputation of Canada’s Anvil. Opening up proceedings is a rebooted line-up of the dark and prog-zom-metal Reapers Riddle, followed by perennial favourite speed-thrash-tech-metalheads Psychonaut. Both shone brightly with their skills and a barrage of riffs and clever lyrics impress the huddled fans.

When ANVIL take their places for instrumental intro track March Of The Crabs, frontman Lips Kudlow immediately leaps off the tiny stage and onto the floor, the excited but shy crowd not having rushed the stage. It’s a bold move and with his gormless grin and in-your-face energy it gets people down the front pronto.

What follows is a celebration of all that is great about the band – as well as highlighting their deficiencies.

Focussing mostly on their earlier albums – the ones which helped define early ‘80s metal, a time when Anvil truly were contenders – their set starts strong but the lack of depth in their material becomes too obvious too soon. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy the night – far from – it’s just that next to the more technical, faster paced and more modern sturm und drang of the local openers Reapers Riddle and Psychonaut, Anvil’s material is somewhat one-dimensional.

School Love and Badass Rock n’ Roll compress souped-up boogie-metal into near-thrash for their time, and if it’s big dumb fun in parts, well, sometimes the audience wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the spirit of their 2009 movie The Story Of Anvil, Lips spouts cod-philosophical gems throughout the show – ‘growing old – no fucking choice… growing up – totally fucking optional!’ being a favourite – and lives up to his reputation as a resolutely positive soul, obviously excited just to be here playing his songs with his best mate Robb Reiner behind the drum kit. Perhaps if more people in music took a (maple) leaf out of his book then the industry might be in a better place.

Introducing Winged Assassins, Lips declares himself ‘an old hippy – that’s why I still have long hair’ and celebrates his love of ‘big fat Australian joints,’ before new bassist Chris Robertson plays a mini-solo on his 5-string to intro the song.

There’s a short delay while a drum kick pedal is repaired, during which Lips tells an amusing story about meeting Ozzy Osbourne, before the slow Sabbath-on-Mandrax riff of This Is Thirteen slows everything down.

An extended Mothra pulls the energy levels up again, as well as the comedy, with Lips playing a guitar solo with a buzzing dildo, before Thumb Hang again slows things down to black hole speed. The slow songs do the band – or crowd – no favours.

A feisty Metal On Metal finishes the set but disappointingly no encore ensued, and with the absence of classics like Butter Bust Jerky and Backwaxed in favour of a few songs that really dragged, the night wasn’t the resounding win for the Canadians that it should have been.

There’s absolutely no pretence or bullshit with Anvil – no superstar attitudes, no drum risers, and no concession to musical trends – though precious little musical progression over thirty years either. In a way they should be hailed for this much – they endure where countless others couldn’t, and they harken back to a simpler time in metal that – for some of us who were at ground zero in those early days – is a joy to hear again. That they’re still out on tour around the world, still recording albums and still playing their classics interspersed with newer tracks is great comfort – but a fresh look at their set list wouldn’t go astray.

Set List:
March of the Crabs
School Love
Badass Rock ‘n’ Roll
Winged Assassins
On Fire
This Is Thirteen
Thumb Hang
Swing Thing
Hope in Hell
Eat Your Words
Metal on Metal

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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