March Metal Madness was continuing and spring was almost in the air so you know that this brings to mind thoughts about what to do in the season and - Anvil. OK, so maybe not so much but despite this, those stars of the celluloid world were officially back in NYC and ready to kick our asses once again. You’ve most likely seen the bands documentary movie “Anvil: The Story Of Anvil” by now as it has aired on VH1 numerous times and been the topic of discussion on more Metal sites and magazines than I could possibly count. The original plan was for the band to perform after a showing of the movie, but this changed very early in the touring run and it became known how the band would instead play a full set and have local area bands leading off the night. For many people this was a better deal because the movie has been shown and promoted to death and if people want to see it at this point they are best served to buy the official DVD. This evening the gig would be started off by Toothgrinder from Asbury Park, NJ and Misery who are from a little closer to home, and sadly we would not catch more than one final song from the young Toothgrinder. I am sure that they will be back around sometime in the future and when that happens I will try to catch them. I did speak to them briefly downstairs in the venue's lounge and they seemed to be nice guys who really want to play Metal for the world. Good luck Toothgrinder. Misery was coming up as direct support tonight and would be on in minutes it seemed.
Misery: The band Misery hails from Long Island, NY and I had heard them a little bit before this evening’s show took place. They’ve been around for about fifteen years now, and while they only have a couple of their founding lineup members in place, they have filled those spaces with capable musicians and are still delivering their own brand of Metal good. Their last album was entitled “Fifteen Years Of Aggression” and a majority of the short set that they would play would come from this recording. The album was actually produced by Life Of Agony’s Joey Z and it generated quite a bit of buzz for their genres fans. Musically the best way to view what they are doing is to take it as an Old School NYHC group that keeps that aesthetic and then blends it in together with more of your conventional Thrash Metal of today. It sounded fine to me and the guys were very lively on the stage. Singer John prowled the stage and kept up the command for the audience who was looking like they enjoyed what was being done. That impressed me since this is a more traditional Metal audience and usually those crowds are only interested in the main act and not always open to whoever is leading off the night. They were done before you knew it but I would surely see them again if the time permits me to do so. If you like conventional Metal with a slight NYHC vibe, then be sure to check out Misery. The band has recently signed onto Super Metal Records and I guess we shall be seeing new music from them under this label sometime soon.
Anvil: It’s a no-brainer to say that Anvil has become one of the luckiest bands on the planet these days based on the success that has been found in the documentary and it seems as though the excitement surrounding this film has not stopped yet. The movie’s resounding appeal found the band placed on the USA run for ACDC’s stadium tour and even on some dates with Judas Priest and Whitesnake when those two power houses of Metal toured together. With shows like these to perform on they were able to play for audiences that might have heard the name before but never enjoyed the band in person at all. Even if they took away only a couple of hundred fans at each show it was a win, win situation. Now the task would be reminding people that they are not just “the band with the documentary about how hard the struggle is” but instead a tried and true act that has somehow persevered for over three decades. The show began with Lips down in the photo pit area to lead the audience into “March Of The Crabs” which was pretty cool. It would have been nice to see him do this from out in the audience but I guess the cable length and logistics of getting back as fast as he might have liked made this an issue. Either way, the show was on and New York City was rocking to the sound of Anvil.
During the film you might recall their promoting and trying to get attention for the latest album “This Is Thirteen” and since that time it has been picked up by VH1 Classic Records and getting a little more attention than it was able to initially at the bands hands. Let’s face it, there was only so much they could do to get it into the proper Metal hands. I was glad to find VH1 picking the release up and felt the album was rather good when compared to other more recent stuff that came from the bands camp. For me this album recalled a time of “Metal On Metal” and “Hard ‘N Heavy” when it came down to it and like many of the albums we saw released in 2008-2009, had a revisiting of a band’s past kind of sound to it. Lips was all smiles and making very silly faces throughout the show, and when he spoke to the crowd it sounded like deep appreciation and humility. He told a lot of stories between the songs this evening and spoke of the bands new album before kicking into the releases title track and then it was time for “Mothra” to take flight once again. I admit that while I like this song, that it was a little too long for me, and I would have preferred they use the time to fit in one more from the new release or another classic. “Flying Blind” would be the only other inclusion from the new release or dare I say latest release. “This Is Thirteen” was actually available at Anvil shows since 2007, but now with the movie and these shows more of us can get a hand on it. They did “Thumb Hang” which is the first song penned by the guys and was never recorded before they talked about it in the movie. It is a slightly tongue in cheek view about the Spanish Inquisition. This was followed by a crushing drum solo from skin basher supreme Robb Reiner who I say again and again is one of Metal’s most unsung heroes of the kit. “Metal On Metal” would be the last “official” song before the encore which was of course “Jackhammer”. It was a truly chock full of nuts kind of set and the guys did right by their audience in giving them as many songs as they ended up doing. Would I have liked to hear one or two more or different ones, well yes of course, but I am hard pressed to find any concertgoer who doesn’t feel that way at the end of the night.
Someone mentioned to me after the show that they wished that Lips had not talked as much as he opted to do during the show and that they instead chose to play either another classic or an additional new tune for us in that space of time. While I had to agree for the most part I could not fault the guitarist for still riding the absolute high of this renewed popularity and speaking about it at length. I was always the casual fan of their material but admire the bond that is shared by these Brothers in Metal and how through thick and thin they have stuck together and managed to get new life breathed into their passion for playing Metal music. One of the things that Lips spoke about was how he was going to come out after the show and meet with each and everyone of the crowd if they wanted to stay and say hello. He did just that and there was a massive crowd waiting to get a moment of his time. It needs to be noted how this evenings gig appeared to be sold out because the general floor was packed and there were not many seats available in that part of the venue. My guess is that everyone packed down to the floor to rock a little easier than can be done in seats. I was glad to find that the Killswitch Engage show that was being held only ten blocks downtown had not affected this performance at all. In the end I could easily say how this addition to the March Metal Madness was a great one and we still had a little over a week left to go. Kittie and God Forbid would be the next adventure on my calendar. What will yours be?
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