Anvil @ Highline Ballroom (11/7/2011)

Artist: Anvil
Venue: Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: Shitkill
Date: 11/7/2011
Label: The End Records

It’s been around a year since I last caught Anvil and that made me glad to find the group playing over at the Highline Ballroom because this is such a good venue to see a Metal band in. They have a great stage, lighting rig and so far I’ve never attended a bad sounding show. Now as you all well know, Anvil had been riding high on the success of the film “Anvil: The Story Of Anvil” for a few years now and as result had moved from relative obscurity to larger levels of success and doing tours with bands like AC/DC and being offered better set times on numerous festival appearances in Europe. It seemed as though the band was once again being paid in cash money as opposed to goulash. If you don’t know the reference then you really must sit down and enjoy the film. It’s been a recommendation of mine for quite some time. Here is how the show went down for those who did not manage to attend.

The show was one of the earliest starting gigs that I had seen in some time and was finding the local talent of Shitkill as the direct support act. I have seen this band a few times and they are really starting to impress me with their youthful zeal and love of the classic era of Thrash Metal. They are young dudes as well and I think their oldest member has only recently turned 18 years of age. They’re getting tighter as a band and seem to know how to entertain their crowd and this fan base is also growing for them. Tonight I saw an apparently new shirt from their merchandise that said “Shitkilling is my business”. I’ve said before how the name does push a few boundaries but this is Metal and it’s not always a dainty place to wander. I wish them well and am sure that I will catch them again on shows. If you like Thrash Metal please give them a look into. I don’t think you will be disappointed. Now it was time for the Anvil to hit us hard. I’m sorry, that was kind of corny but oh well.

There would be no introduction from Eddie Trunk this evening and I swore this was one of his “Presents” shows but it was a Monday night and he does have a radio show so I didn’t expect him around. The guys hit the stage with little to no fanfare and it was just like “hey, here we are…….badoom” and that was fine by me since it got us all right into the music. Since the last show that I hit the band’s moved onto The End Records and not only released a new album called “Juggernaut Of Justice” but also a hits compilation entitled “Monument Of Metal”. The latter release finds the guys redoing some tunes and giving their audience live versions of other ones. They would start the set off with “March Of The Crabs”, a tune that has remained one of my very favorite Metal instrumentals of all time and they followed it with the thundering “666” which both hail from the seminal “Metal On Metal” release. “School Love” from their debut was up next before they gave us a taste of something on the new side with “Juggernaut Of Justice”. This was a show that was off to a solid start and I will admit that even though I lost my own larger interest in Anvil over the years I had always found them to be entertaining. The bond between Robb Reiner and Lips is one to be respected and admired and musically they pretty much lock into one another after so many years of doing this together.

Lips seemed to be enjoying himself along with the crowd and told several humorous stories. One called upon his meeting with Dio and how it was when Rainbow did some auditions and the other was when he had joked with Steve O from the popular “Jackass” series. The stories went over well with the crowd and while this was a lightly attended show, everyone who was in the place was really enjoying themselves and that in the end is all that matters. Tonight the band would deliver a set that while paying attention to their earliest years, was also presenting a healthy chunk of tunes from their two latest albums. We got a total of eight songs between “Juggernaut Of Justice” and “This Is Thirteen” with the older of the two releases only getting two numbers. Six from “Juggernaut” proved to me as a fan that they really wanted you to pick this recording up. There were five from the classic “Metal On Metal” and a few more from “Forged In Fire”. Right now the easiest albums to find from the band would be the two on The End Records and the one on VH1 Classics but that will change when 2012 rolls around because it’s been rumored that their new label will begin a reissue program that will put their older releases into the hands of the fans once more. That’s a good thing since there were quite a few solid releases over the course of their career. There were no real guitar solos outside of the ones in the songs but Lips did bring out the vibrator for one of the songs and this was one of his stage tricks from years and years ago. I guess he never really stopped doing it. We also got a throttling drum solo from Reiner during “White Rhino”. It does well to remind us all of what an amazingly powerful drummer he is.

Closing up I will say that this was a very entertaining show and the band was feeding off of the energy being sent up to the stage by the fans. However, this was a very ill attended show and that surprised me since the only upcoming event of note would be tomorrow’s Chickenfoot show. I am hard pressed to think the Anvil loyalists are even remotely interested in them. Perhaps the luster of the movie has finally worn off and now the band is playing primarily to the Metal legions more than the curious about the band in the movie. I think a couple of more solid opening slots would help rectify this for sure. After the show the band did a meet and greet with anyone who wanted to say hello and also had their Official Anvil Pounders fan club in the venue signing up new fans. For $10 you got a membership card, a band card, and a signed photo. If you are curious as to whether or not I signed up, I will admit that I am now a proud member of The Anvil Pounder’s Union. Check them out when they come to town. This was a great way to start the musical week for me because tomorrow would be Chickenfoot and later on in my schedule would be the one and only Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame.

Set List:
1. March of the Crabs
2. 666
3. School Love
4. Juggernaut of Justice
5. Winged Assassins
6. On Fire
7. This Is Thirteen
8. Mothra
9. Thumb Hang
10. When Hell Breaks Loose
11. White Rhino
12. Fuken Eh!
13. New Orleans Voodoo
14. Metal on Metal
15. Forged in Fire
16. Running

One of the cool things that was on hand for the fans of the band this evening was the chance to join into the forces of the “Anvil Pounders Union”. This exclusive club got you a membership card, a show card and a signed 8*10 photograph of the band. The enrollment desk would even take your photo to be added to the official Facebook Page for the union and that seemed all worthy of the $10 price tag.

Enlist In The Pounder’s Union

I don’t think that I have to tell you how Robb Reiner kicks some serious boot on the drums. Here is a shot of his kit on this tour. I don’t remember him using DDrum the last time around but perhaps he did. They sounded great.

If you needed a little refresher course on Robb’s overall drumming prowess just sit back and enjoy this video that I shot from the show using the ever trusty Panasonic Lumix camera. He’s long been one of my favorite skin bashers based on the groove and technique that he puts out there.

Here’s me with my official Anvil Pounder’s Union card.  I could not resist signing up into the ranks and lending some support. It was only $10 and you got a card, and came with some collectible schwag.  Truthfully, they should raise the price just a little bit more and give you a guitar pick from Lips and a drumstick from Robb. That would make it even sweeter.  Am I wrong?

Let Us Pound!

Oh and before I forget about this, the boys in Shitkill had a great new shirt for sale. Take a look at this one. That will grab peoples attention for sure.

Keep pounding m/

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