A COLD Tuesday night feeling like it was the dead of winter should have ensured the streets of Belfast had only a few stragglers knocking about the place. Not so for the Limelight 2 where the legendary Anvil and the mighty Stormzone were playing.
Even with the early 7pm start and Stromzone on at 7.10pm the place was getting packed out. By the time Anvil took to the stage it was metal on metal with the body count as the place was packed to the rafters.
Stormzone (Harv, Steve, Graham, Dave and Jr) took to the stage and blew away any cold February blues anyone had firing off on all guns appropriately enough with ‘Where We Belong’.
And, they certainly did belong on that stage. Next was their anthemic ‘Three Kings’ which let the band highlight once more their enthusiasm and metal energy onstage. Then came ‘The Pass Loning’, ‘You're not the same’ and ‘Death Dealer’. Each song delivered with passion and verve with each member of the band animatedly joining in.
The love of their art was plain to see and this spilled over into the audience. The set came to a close with ‘The Legend carries on’, a very fitting song for the band as they had just received the delivery of their latest album ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ which quite a few people picked up at their merch stand.
Each song was a perfect delivery of the band’s heavy rock/metal style of thrumming, chugging riffage tied together by Harv’s fearless vocals into one beautiful stage show.
Then a roar went up as Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow, Robb Reiner and Chris Robertson strolled like mighty conquering heroes through the parting mass onto the stage.
Though Lips was feeling very under the weather, he showed his true metal grit as he launched into ‘March of the Crabs’ to a joyous reverberation of the crowd. Everyone knew something special was happening in front of their eyes. Anvil were playing Belfast!
Then on into ‘666’, ‘Ooh Baby’ and the pavement pounding ‘Badass Rock 'n' Roll’. They owned the stage, Lips had a smile that travelled from ear to ear, Chris was rocking the bass and Robb was smashing those drums. The passion and enthusiasm for their music was clear to see, and the crowd were just as passionate.
The adoration and noise from those in attendance would rival any epic victory party.
Throwing themselves into each and every song with unbridled energy they continued to push the crowd into an ecstasy of fervent joy with ‘Doing What I Want’, which should be the theme song for their tenacious dedication to their art.
On it went with ‘Winged Assassins’ with an amazingly crowd pleasing intro from Chris Robertson doing a wonderfully animated Bass solo, with ‘Free as the Wind’ and ‘On Fire’ keeping the pace going.
From their hugely popular documentary ‘Anvil: The story of Anvil’ came the raucous ‘This Is Thirteen’, before heading into Kaiju territory with ‘Mothra’ which incorporated the signature move from Anvil, Lips’ guitar and dildo Solo. Truly a wondrous disturbing sight to behold! And the crowd absolutely loved it.
Each and every time there was a pause, a resounding chant of ‘Anvil. Anvil. Anvil.’ lifted up from the floor like a prayer to the metal gods that there were more songs coming.
Anvil didn’t disappoint. Lips was a fantastic front man chatting and joking in-between with the crowd, which was lapped up with unadulterated reverence. The crowd, without a doubt, appreciated the band’s presence in Belfast and the way Lips, Robb and Chris were giving it maximum metal.
Up next was ‘Bitch in the Box’, a fantastic metal homily on our modern day frustrations with sat-navs, before turning to the high seas with ‘Daggers and Rum’. Each and every song just brought more and more smiles, roars of appreciation and headbanging from the dedicated multitude that crammed in to see Anvil.
The energy never abated, and with no signs of slacking Anvil continued their onslaught to rock the hell out of the Limelight with ‘Swing Thing’ and an amazing drum solo from Robb Reiner. ‘Ego’ kept the unstoppable metal flowing and then ‘Die For a Lie’ before finishing the main set with their signature tune of ‘Metal on Metal’.
The only disappointment for everyone there was Anvil left the stage as the gig was now over. But wait!! To the chants once more of ‘Anvil. Anvil. Anvil.’ on they came with one more song. And what a fantastic way to finish their visit to Belfast...covering Steppanwolf they utterly rocked ‘Born to be Wild’.
Overall, the whole gig was a very special event, and everyone there knew it.
Stromzone kicked it out of the park as ever with their set bringing their usual infectious energy to the proceedings and truly warming up the crowd.
Anvil put on a spectacular show that transcended the evening, age wise, music wise and fan wise. From those who have been long time aficionados to those just dropping in to see who these guys were, all were one in admiration by even the first few songs.
Many bands would kill for the adulation Anvil got in the Limelight and the place vibrated with the noise of the crowd. The whole atmosphere screamed ‘Metal is Life’ and everything else can melt into insignificance.
It was very apt that this titanic show in Belfast was ‘A night to remember’ for all the right reasons.
Simply put, you need to see Anvil. End of story.
Anvil’s album ‘Pounding the Pavement’ is out now and after you buy that take Lips’ advice and buy the best off before plunging yourself wholeheartedly into the rest of the back catalogue.
Review by Ivor Whitten
Pictures by Darren McVeigh