Review by John Jeffrey, photos by Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Buffalo, NY – On a dull Wednesday night in Western New York, the legendary Canadian metal band, Anvil, started their 2018 “Pounding the Pavement” U.S. tour at the Ironworks bar in downtown Buffalo. The opening night of the tour already started out with ‘Spinal Tap’-ish overtones, as the less than stellar crowd did not seem like a promising beginning to a tour supporting band’s new album, ‘Pounding the Pavement.’ Anvil is one of the few bands that still believes in the “new material/album = must tour” theory, as many other iconic hard rock/metal bands tour constantly without releasing new material, and only provide a year in/year out same ‘ol ‘greatest hits’ setlist. Not Anvil!! The small, yet appreciative gathering, respects this about Anvil, and this is one of the reasons that metal fans will come from all over the planet to see the infamous act, at the start their latest tour, mid-week in the “armpit of the East.”
After speaking with several of the attendees, one of the other reasons people came out out to see them was because of the documentary film, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil.” Released in 2008, this film has slowly made it’s way to cult-classic status, as one of the most loved and revered ‘Heavy Metal’ documentaries/movies of all time. Whether people actually enjoy their music, or just appreciate the ‘under dog’ appeal of the band, many people make it a point to “see” Anvil live, just because they watched the documentary.
Before the show began, the lights dimmed down, and over the PA, the words were spoken, “and then there was Anvil…We play HEAVY FUCKIN’ METAL!!!!” Frontman Lips, appeared in front of the stage, surrounded by the raucous crowd – ripping leads on his custom made flying-V, which segued into the fan favorite, “Six, Six, Six.”
As the band played song after song, for a near 2 hours, it was clear that even in the twilight phase of their career, the guys in Anvil still love playing metal. Drummer Robb Reiner was simply amazing, as the celebrated Canadian drumming icon is regarded as “one of the most influential metal/rock drummers to have emerged from the welter of virtuosity, spawned by the metal boom of the early eighties.” Reiner is credited for introducing “power metal drumming, rooted in jazz feels, with metal.” Robb’s drumming has been inspiring three generations of drummers now.
Approaching the midnight hour, the night was coming to and end, and the audience seemed to have thinned out a bit, as the mostly middle-aged crowd had to go back to their weekly work grind the following morning. Anvil was clearly not discouraged, as they closed the night out with “Metal on Metal” (complete with vibrator guitar solo) and a cover of “Born to be Wild,” played with all the vigor you would expect from these veteran Metal juggernauts.
Whether you love them or hate them, like the title of their 2016 release, ‘Anvil IS Anvil,’ and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
For more on Anvil, please click here.
For review and photos of the opening band -Shadowside, click here.