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  • Anvil @ The Phoenix Theater, Petaluma, CA 05-30-18


    Anvil are a Heavy Metal band from Ontario, Canada that launched in the 80's. These guys were way ahead of other metal bands and actually paved the way influencing groups like Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica etc.
    They just released their 16th studio album "Pounding the Pavement" in 2018. The trio lineup is Steve "Lips" Kudlow lead vox/guitar, Chris Robertson on bass, and pounding it out on the kit is Robb Reiner. Lips and Robb are the original members from the beginning.
    I'm not going to go deep into their history, but how I came about this show will sum it up quite well and lead you into the direction of their story.
    Aproximately one month ago I was at the library checking out dvd's to rent when I came across a documentary "The Story of Anvil". This came out in 2008. I remembered the band name, but couldn't quite piece it together. I went right home and played it. Then it all clicked and I was so inspired by their courage, dedication and awesome music that I decided to search their name in the Bandsintown app on my phone. To my surprise I couldn't believe my eyes that not only were they on tour, but there was a show scheduled on my side of town in a month. I quickly put in my request at the magazine and contacted the publicist. I was super excited to hear back with the approval, and started counting down the days to the show.
    The show was on a Wednesday night and I was given an opportunity to shoot at a new venue,
    The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, Ca. This night was a metal fest consisting of five bands in total. Two were local bands, one from New York City, one from Brazil and then Anvil from Canada.
    First up was a local band Tempest from Northern California. A rippin' four piece with exceptional sound and style. Right up my alley with flavors of Rainbow, U.F.O. and Black Sabbath to name a few. Really dug there sound, and their guitar player Frank Guiles shreds it. Nikki Scott on vocals strikes up some depth in his vocals. They had a solid fan following as well.
    Next up was Space Vacation from San Francisco. I don't even know where to start with this Amazing melodic-metal band. Scott Shapiro lead vocals & guitar delivers untainted lyrics as he rips it up on guitar. Kiyo Morgan on lead guitar is a one-man show shredding insanely. Then you have Eli Lucas on drums, whom is truly gifted with fluidity and style. Steve Hayes on bass holds down the rhythm section with some sick deep lines. Their sound is a unique mix of Motorhead, Judas Priest and Def Leppard with some Iron Maiden as desert. This is a Must See Band! https://www.spacevacationrocks.com
    Shadowside the Quartet from Brazil were explosive!! Driven with fast drum precision by Fabio Buitvidas, and quick machine guitar riffs by Raphael Mattos. The second part of the rhythm section laying down some beefy bass lines is Magnus Rosen. This trio is exceptional at fusing traditional metal with harsh powerful tunes, then waning into pleasing choruses. The lead singer is a dimunitive dynmo in Dani Nolden. But don't let her size fool you, she can throw down some deep belly growling lines and smooth it out on the backside. This lady packs a solid gait, she is a powerhouse. I really liked all of their songs, and was extremely impressed with her lyrics on the song about depression and not giving up. Shadowside just released a new album in 2017 called "Shades of Humanity". I highly suggest you check this band out! https://www.shadowside.net
    Fourth band of the night was SunLord from New York City. This three piece is lead by Alfonso Ferrazza on guitar & vocals, Bobby Dead on bass and Jeff Almeyda on the kit. OMG!! The night just kept up the stellar pace of pushing the bar higher with different styles and yet exceptional musicianship amongst all the bands. SunLord is heavily influenced by Motorhead, and I would have to say that Alfonso has an uncanny vocal resemblance to Lemmy. There music is heavy heavy hard and fast metal. I was astonished how lightning fast Alfonso shreds, just like his song "The Lightning Man". His rhythm section were driving it exceptionally fast as well. I was super impressed with these guys, solid and great lyrics.I want to give a shout out to Alfonso, as he is super nice and he gave me a cd for taking pictures of his band. 
    He understands the laws of artist appreciation.
    All of a sudden the fans thickened in front of the stage, they were ranging from ages 16 to 60. It was the most diverse age group at a show thus far this year. As I looked around I saw many home made jean vests and jackets with heavy metal band patches on them. There were several people that had some vintage Anvil t-shirts as well. I could smell the metal at this point. Just as I was striking up a conversation with a gal about a concert, Anvil took the stage. "Lips" came straight up front smiling, welcoming us, and thanked the bands that played tonight. Then we were off into the first song of their set "March of the Crabs" off their highly acclaimed album Metal on Metal. This is a straight up two minute instrumental metal piece, a brilliant intro! "666" was next on the list, followed by "Ooh Baby" off Hard 'N' Heavy. His lyrics are smart, witty, and he has an incredible voice that can scale with the best of 'em. I would have to agree with him that he has one of the best drummers around in Robb Reiner. Robb hits lots of quads and triples on the kit. Super fast with exceptional timing that really drives their sound.
    In "Bad Ass Rock N Roll", Lips shreds it up the neck hitting some high notes, and all the while smiling. Both he and Chris Robertson on bass are goofy fun. They are playing really hard metal but not acting like they have attitudes. They actually make it look easy. At one point Lips broke out a vibrator and was using it as a pic while playing guitar, then he actually turned it on. The fans loved it! Lips takes some time inbetween songs to either tell a story about his first meeting with Lemmy or how a song was inspired. It felt like I was in the middle of the "Story of Anvil". What a great ride!
    Lips dedicated the song "Free As The Wind" to Lemmy."Running wild crazy and free, being anything you want to be" is a phrase from the song.
    Chris Robertson on bass joined the band in 2014, and he is quite spectacular on his 5 string. He definitely lays down some nice bass lines, and takes to flight in air.
    Anvil played a solid tight set of 14 songs which spanned 8 albums. They weren't able to play the two encore songs, as time got away from them due to so many bands prior. It was ok though, the band stayed on stage as the die hard fans were getting their albums and memorabilia autographed.
    It was an epic night of metal new, old and from different parts of the world. I was extremely happy that I did not miss this memorable event. Pick up a copy of Anvil's newest album Pounding the Pavement. 
    Long Live Metal!! Check their tour dates here. http://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil/

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