Vibrato and Pirates and Metal Oooooh My

Chris Robertson (bass), Robb Reiner (drums), and Steve 'Lips' Kudlow (lead vocals and guitar) of Anvil at The Canal Club. Photo was taken on March 20, 2019. Photo Credit: © Dave Pearson 2019

Richmond, VA – If you’re like me, whenever you pick up a book, you are tempted to go to the last chapter to see how the story ends. So it was with my Anvil experience. Yes, I knew there was a popular movie that would put the current chapter into perspective. As a correspondent, I knew I should have known some of the history, but why let history bias the experience? Why not just let the fine authors, Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow (lead vocals and guitar), Robb Reiner (drums), and Chris Robertson (bass and backing vocals) weave a memorable tale without bias?

As with any good story, no matter where it starts the authors work to bring the audience into the novel. This was true when Anvil took the stage on March 20, 2019 at The Canal Club in Richmond, VA. Did the chapter start, “Once upon this night”? NO! Instead, the chapter began with Lips making that night’s purveyors of metal literature part of their story. With a boyish smile, Lips walked among the readers, blowing us away with “March of the Crabs”. As Lips walked among us, his boyish smile drew us in and his driving riffs blew us away. The night’s chapter began with a bang and would continue to pound for the next 90 plus minutes.

Throughout the night, Lips, Robb, and Chris wove quite a tale, telling the story, and then, artistically portraying it through their hard driving licks. Lips routinely paid tribute to those who contributed to their story. The most memorable tribute was to the legendary, late Lemmy of Motörhead. When Anvil opened for Motörhead after Anvil’s first album release in 1981, Lips quoted Lemmy as saying, “You were really good, but you had too many f*#$ing hard parts.” With a devilish smile, Lips claimed he was unsure whether Lemmy was referring to their music “or what was in my pants”. If this night was indicative of what Lemmy heard in 1981, there were a lot of hard parts. The song that said it all up was, “Badass Rock and Roll”.

The story, however, was not just about Lips, drummer and cofounder, Robb Reiner put on quite a show as well, contributing to the band’s driving style. As a drummer myself, I understand that it is the drummer that really keeps the band together (sorry Lips), and Reiner did just that, putting the appropriate emphasis on every word and riff as the night progressed. Reiner’s prowess was showcased by a 5 plus minute solo that left this correspondent and the audience wanting more!

The newest member of the band, bassist Chris Robertson, did not disappoint either. Robertson was the most animated member of the band. The only thing more insane than his facial expressions was his bass playing ability. Lips praised Robertson’s addition in 2014, saying that he was one of the best things that ever happened to Anvil.

Stories and music were not the only thing on the menu as Anvil had other surprises up their sleeve (and elsewhere I’m sure). Probably the most memorable was the vibrato technique Lips used while performing a solo. Casually, he pulled a variable speed vibrating massaging implement from his pocket and proceeded to use it in innovative ways to make his guitar scream with orgasmic power! Not only was it fun, but it was well done!

The vibrato theme led the performance to its climactic end, as Anvil sang of pirates with “Daggers and Rum” from their Anvil is Anvil album and finished with their early hit, “Metal on Metal”.

Any good artist, whether author, storyteller, or musician knows how important it is to leave the audience wanting more. This Anvil chapter did just that for this casual reader, who skipped the rest of the book to read this chapter. I want to know more about this band, through their music and their movie. If Anvil happens to be in your neck of the woods, I highly recommend taking them in, they are well worth it.

Set List
March of the Crabs
Ooh Baby
Badass Rock and Roll
Doing What I want
Free as the Wind
Winged Assassins
On Fire
This is Thirteen
Bitch in a Box
Swing Thing
Daggers and Rum
Metal on Metal

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*Show Date: 3/20/2019

Want more? Check out the Anvil Metal Pounders Union Worldwide! Watch Anvil’s official lyric video for single “Bitch In The Box”, off their new album, Pounding The Pavement:

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Dave Pearson is based out of Richmond, VA by way of Hayward, WI. He has long had a passion for music. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, he rocked out to the likes of Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, and The Lettermen. Then, one Saturday night, being the rebel he was born to be, he caught an Alice Cooper interview (it may have been on The Midnight Special) and saw him perform, “Welcome to My Nightmare”. Dave was hooked on Rock and Roll (and many other genres as well). Dave has enjoyed (amateur) photography to some degree most of his adult life. Recently Dave started to apply his event photography skills in various music settings with success. He finds that photographing a performance gives him a much greater appreciation for the artist.