Words and photos by AJ Miranda.
If you haven’t watched VH1’s rockumentary “The Story of Anvil,” do yourself a favor and rent it. It’s not the best looking or best produced music doc out there, but it is one of the most oddly inspirational. With classic early ‘80s albums like Metal On Metal, the Canadian metal trio Anvil inspired the thrash-metal bands we all know and love: Anthrax, Metallica, etc. But a Job-esque string of bad luck halted the band’s momentum in its prime, dooming Anvil to relative obscurity outside of the most passionate metal circles.
Founding members and lifelong best friends Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner never gave up on the dream. And proving it’s never too late, Anvil has seen a resurgence in interest after the success of the movie and a couple of new, well-reviewed albums. Anvil’s 2010 is being spent touring the world. One of the stops included Austin on a Monday, Jan. 25.
Lips said it best at this Emo’s show: Metal is timeless music, man. That would explain the middleaged metalheads headbanging alongside frat boys with black Xs on their hands, signifying under-21 status. I’ve been to Emo’s dozens of times, likely somewhere in the hundreds, but that Anvil crowd was easily the most packed I’ve ever seen the outside room.
The crowd went craziest for “Metal On Metal”, singing along to every word. And at a certain point, Lips busted out a special battery-powered accessory from his back pocket, giving his guitar solo some serious vibrations. Between nearly every song, the crowd cheered like they’d just witnessed the encore at an arena show, and this wasn’t lost on Lips, who answered the cheers multiple times throughout the night by saying this was the “best fucking crowd ever.” In a night of climax on top of climax, then, it’s appropriate that the dude used a vibrator for a guitar pick.
You get the impression that the band could’ve just stood there playing covers of Kenny G b-sides, and the crowd would’ve still loved it. But to their credit, Anvil played their hearts out, delivering a tight and loud set that mixed old hits and new rockers. Hype and spectacle aside, that’s really what a fans want from a band: an energy-packed, no-BS show. After three decades, Anvil still more than delivers the goods.
For a complete photo gallery of pics from this show, click here.