ANVIL / SUNLORD
The Riot Room
Kansas City, MO
It was freezing outside. Snow and ice everywhere in the area and I had just gotten word that one of the opening bands, Lord Dying, had canceled their appearance due to getting caught in a storm near Nashville. I was worried that Anvil would be a no go. If it did go on, the crowd would be minimal.
Thankfully, Anvil and Sunlord had made it past that area already and were firmly in KC at the time. So tonight’s show would go on. Sadly, I was correct about the crowd. A real shame mind you, as this band should be playing packed out mid level theaters at the very least.
A couple of local bands filled in the two earlier available slots, doing their best to get the crowds warmed up. It was obvious who they were here to see: everyone was saving their energy for Anvil.
Then Sunlord came on and changed all that. The crowd was really sparse around the stage until about the third song in. At that point, they began migrating to the front to check the hard hitting trio out. Admittedly, I had no idea who these guys were coming in, but I was curious to see what their set would bring.
Alfonso Ferrazza sang his heart out and worked the crowd up all while handling guitar duties, while Jeff Almeyda (drums) and Bobby Dead (bass) delivered solid foundations for the Argentinian frontman to work off of. Good music, nothing that stood out to me in the set though.
The band gathered onto the stage and got their gear ready and when Robb Reiner (drums) and the band’s newest bassist, Chris Robertson finally got themselves comfortable, Lips (guitars and vocals) took his guitar and jumped off the stage into the small crowd. At first he seemed to just be playing around with the guitar and just basically schmoozing with the people nearby. What he was really doing was breaking into the song “March of the Crabs” from Anvil’s seminal album ‘Metal on Metal.’ Reiner and Robertson joined in and it was on.
Stopping between songs to chat and joke with the audience it was obvious they were still having a good time after 38 years. They genuinely appeared to be having just as much fun as the audience was.
They screamed further through the set with “Winged Assassins” and “This Is Thirteen” with Robb faltering momentarily somewhere along the two songs and losing a drum stick, until they got to “Mothra”. This is where Lips pulled out the ever so famous dildo for his guitar solo. Putting his stamp on the mark of “BUZZING GUITAR SOLOS”. Ah, the good stuff. Entertaining to say the least.
“On Fire” and “Thumb Hang” were followed by Lips taking a moment to talk about his new “Lips-O-Matic” guitar from October Guitars, with which he promptly did a little guitar wankery on before the band broke into “Swing Thing.” Mid song Robb launched into a powerful drum solo before finishing. Still a powerful drummer, it’s actually fun to watch him slam the skins.
The band finished out the night with “Hope in Hell”, “Eat Your Words” and last but not least the band’s classic, “Metal On Metal” which sounds as good today as it did back in 1982.
Over half the set, surprisingly, was more recent material. The albums ‘Hope In Hell,’ ‘Juggernaut Of Justice’ and ‘This Is Thirteen’ were heavily represented. Not something you see everyday from bands of that era that are still putting out new material. I would have loved to have heard some more classic era material, but with limited time to play, it was understandable. The newer songs fit in well with the set overall and shows just how true Anvil has stayed to their roots.
Lipps can REALLY get into his playing and it shows that he is having a good time and he clearly loves being on stage. Robb is a solid player and could teach some of these young dogs some new tricks as well. Robertson is a great fit for the band onstage, and I was surprised by how well he handled his instrument. His playing was a nice touch to the evening.
Are they the greatest band in the world to see live? Depends on your tastes. Are they an awesome band to go see and guaranteed to have a great time? Oh HELL YES.
As Anvil would say, KC was “SMASHED”.