It's not often rock stars become movie stars, and it's even less likely that these stars play heavy metal. On Canada Day. In Taiwan.
But Anvil is not your average band, and Sunday night was not your average night.
Sunday night was simply a great night of great music by a great band.
Opening act Greasy Jelly For Mercy Killing were clearly psyched to be on the bill. It can be a hard gig, to play for a crowd that is decidedly there for the other band. But they played undeterred, happy to rally the crowd, aggressively stomping and thrashing through their set, slowly but surely winning over the many people buzzing for a good time. Singer Zoie 多多 was eager to make that happen, leaping into the crowd, surfing for smiles, and getting them duly amped up. Mission accomplished.
Put aside your impressions of heavy metal as an ironclad menacing scowl. What Anvil brought was the somewhat forgotten side of metal: the loud & proud FUN.
And what might also get lost behind the band's endearing personalities is the fact that they are heavy. Heavy. If you've influenced Anthrax and Metallica, as Anvil famously has, you're surely not a lightweight.
These are the two impressions I was left with, reinforced by Robb Reiner's monster drums. Can you say power? Fuck. People were hungry to experience the unbridled joy of singer/guitarist Lips, and they got it full-on. Meanwhile, newcomer Sal Italiano rocked the bass, smiling away like the rest of us.
Ripping through classics like March of the Crabs, School Love, 666, Winged Assassins, Forged in Fire, and newer songs like Swing Thing, FukenEh!, This Is Thirteen, and Juggernaut of Justice, the night was definitely a celebration, if not of Canada, then surely of life itself. Yes, it was that happy.
Smiling, cheering, joking, and soloing with all the exuberance of a teenager plugging in his first guitar, Lips further thrilled the crowd with several heartfelt moments of gratitude. He then honored the late Ronnie James Dio with the Sabbath-y crowd-pleaser Thumb Hang and ultimately satisfied his legend with a famous dildo guitar solo. Loud & proud fun, indeed.
Closing a long sweaty night - Anvil played well over an hour - with the self-proclaimed national anthem of heavy metal, Metal on Metal, and an encore blast of Running, Anvil certainly did their country proud. And Taiwan was pretty damn proud of 'em, too.
GigGuide.tw interview with Steve 'Lips' Kudlow of Anvil