Anvil Live at the Barbary, Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 2014


The Barbary

Philadelphia, PA
April 1, 2014

Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf


Nearly 40 years since their formation, Canadian metal masters Anvil continue to tour and bring their best every night. As recently as 5 years ago they were nearly finished, but the great documentary ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL changed all that and gave them new life, introducing them to a younger generation of metalheads. If you haven’t seen Anvil live, you’re missing out on a great time! Their hybrid of speed / thrash / rock is just fucking great, like a cross of Metallica, AC/DC, and Kiss with some raunchiness and tongue planted firmly in cheek! It’s a Tuesday night and tonight is my fucking 7th Anvil show! ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!?


The venue tonight is the Barbary, this little hole in the wall dive in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. The place is very tiny, probably holds 100 people tops. It was very darkly lit and the stage was deep but not very wide (turned on yet?). As soon as we walked in the place I couldn’t hear shit and that was just loud music playing in between bands! Sound quality was so-so as there were mic problems in the second half of the set. Singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow also commented at one point that there were no monitors, so this gives you an idea of the overall shittiness of the place.


Anvil came on at about 10:20 and launched into their usual opener, the instrumental “March of the Crabs” from METAL ON METAL. Lips just shredded on his brand new black Oktober flying V, hamming it up with the crowd a bit. Energetic and expressive as always, Lips just gives off a vibe of positive energy and the fans eat it up! Stalwart drummer Robb Reiner hammered away relentlessly while Sal Italiano deftly laid down the bass. Crowd response was good with lots of headbanging but no moshing; it’s not really violent music. Next came the fast, heavy fan favorite “666”, Lips’s voice was strong and he handled the different pitches well. Rocker “School Love” was a fun romp and the biggest surprise came afterward as the crowd really got into new track “Bad Ass Rock n Roll”, singing the chorus with gusto!


Anvil is currently promoting HOPE IN HELL, which came out about a year ago. I don’t find myself reaching for the new album much, but the live versions of “Hope in Hell”, “Eat Your Words” and the aforementioned “Bad Ass Rock n Roll” were fucking great! Other highlights included the furious drumming of “Winged Assassins”, the doomy, Sabbath inspired “This is Thirteen”, “Mothra” (dildo solo, must be seen to be believed), drum solo vehicle “Swing Thing”, and of course the fucking metal anthem of all anthems, “Metal on Metal”. Lips wasn’t as talkative between songs as he has been other nights, but he did joke around about seeing Ozzy recently and accusing Black Sabbath of ripping off Anvil by naming their new album “13”, which is awfully similar to Anvil’s 2007 album “This is Thirteen”. He said Sabbath usually inspires us but now we (Anvil) actually inspired them! Lips also commented about “fingering” his new guitar and breaking it in! It must be stated that Rob Reiner is one of the very best drummers in metal, I’ve seen ‘em all (Dave Lombardo, Gene Hoglan, Steve Ashheim, Nicko McBrain, Mikkey Dee, Tim Yeung, Mike Smith) and nobody has the intensity that Robb has. It’s not necessarily a speed thing, it’s a power / focus / intensity / Jazz / metal thing, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if his kit fell apart during the solo the way he is fucking destroying it! His drum solo is a highlight of the Anvil set and it is not to be missed, so don’t go take a piss when the beast is unleashed!


Unfortunately we only got two tracks from 2012’s JUGGERNAUT OF JUSTICE and we didn’t get my all-time favorite Anvil track “Forged in Fire”. Overall though a great 1hr and 20 min set of metal and everyone left happy. Long live Anvil, catch these Canadian marauders when they come to your town. METAL ON METAL baby!

Anvil set list:

  1. March of the Crabs
  2. 666
  3. School Love
  4. Bad Ass Rock n Roll
  5. Winged Assassins
  6. On Fire
  7. This is 13
  8. Mothra
  9. Thumb Hang
  10. Swing Thing
  11. Hope in Hell
  12. Eat Your Words
  13. Metal On Metal