(Live Review) ANVIL - Toronto, Rockpile (May 27/22)
Written by Jeff Tighe
Toronto was recently graced with two live performances at the Rockpile by hometown metal heroes Anvil. More than four decades into their career these guys are now senior citizens (lead vocalist/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow is 66 years old), but you would have a hard time knowing that from the energy in their set. Maybe they have lost a step or two in the 41 years since this reviewer first saw them opening for Motorhead, but few musicians their age could keep up with them.
Assisted by a perfect soundboard mix, Lips' vocals were strong and the band as tight as usual, with the rhythm section of drummer Robb Reiner and bassist/backing vocalist Chris Robertson adding the perfect back beat. Lip's guitar solos always rip the eardrums and the perpetual smile on the man's face shows that he knows it.
Opening with the instrumental "March of the Crabs" and followed by "666" off the bands' classic second album, they then went into the hard rocker "Ooh Baby" from their first. With the crowd warmed up with classics, the boys then went into more recent material with their joyous and triumphant ode to pot, "Legal at Last".
Next up was "Take a Lesson", the opener from their newest album (Impact is Imminent). Frankly there are better songs on the new album, but it was still nice to hear the latest material live. Later in the set they did "Ghost Shadow" from the new album, and that was one of the highlights of the night. Other classics from their third album were thrown into the mix as well, specifically "Winged Assassins" and "Free as the Wind".
There were a few low points to mention in that the song "13" is a little too dull for the set, and including a cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" was just unnecessary when Anvil have so many great original songs they could have performed instead. Also, the back third of the show is slowed down too much by crowd participation sections in songs like "Metal on Metal" and "Mothra" that end up dragging great songs into the mundane. Add onto that a drum solo and an unnecessarily drawn-out guitar solo and you end up wishing the band cut that stuff out and just did two more songs instead.
Still, it was a great night and all metal enthusiasts are encouraged to get out and support these road warriors as they carry on the metal fight, as they have since the late 70s.
March of the Crabs
Legal at Last
Take a Lesson
Bad Ass Rock'n'Roll
Free as the Wind
Bitch in the Box
Metal on Metal
Born to be Wild