April 22, 2009
Review and Photos by Tim Shockley
Lips- Lead vocals, lead guitar
Robb Reiner- Drums
Glenn Five- Bass, vocals
The first time Anvil ever played in Chicago was May 1, 1983, at a small bar called Tut’s. You can tell by the accompanying photo I had a pretty good view that night! While Tut’s is long gone, metal heads to this day still talk about that amazing show. Hell, even Anvil singer/guitarist Lips mentioned it onstage tonight, twenty-six years later! But more about that in a bit…
Since that historic night, Anvil has graced a Chicago stage a mere three times. I saw two of those shows, only missing the third because no one knew about it! Now, on to the present…
I’ll be the first to admit I was more than a tad skeptic when I heard a documentary had been made about Anvil’s career. I personally never gave up on Anvil, but what about the rest of their fans? Would the general public even care about a band they’d never heard of? I was even more surprised to hear the movie, ANVIL! The Story Of Anvil, was receiving unanimous rave reviews! What’s going on here? I better investigate!
I bought a ticket for Anvil the second they went on sale! (ticket #2!) Waiting in line at Metro, I saw Lips and longtime, original drummer Robb Reiner walk across the street for some fast food. I could tell some in the crowd were not Anvil fans, but curiosity seekers. Hey, whatever. Better late than never!
The sold out event began with the movie, followed by a live performance. I’m happy to report the movie lives up to all the hype and more! It is fucking fantastic! It has all the hilarious moments of This Is Spinal Tap, but knowing the events actually happened puts a whole new perspective on it. I laughed practically the entire movie. But, there are also some very sad moments, seeing what Lips and Robb have endured over the years- taking straight jobs just to put food on the tables for their families, and not complaining about it! Trust me, folks, these guys are troopers! I won’t blow the ending of the movie for you, but I predict you will stand, cheer, and maybe even shed a tear when the credits roll! Bravo!
As the movie ended, a mad dash to the stage ensued! I was lucky enough to get front row center. The lights went out and I heard a familiar riff- “March Of The Crabs!” I looked over- Lips was playing right next to me in the crowd! Holy shit!
The first thing I must firmly stress is Lips and Robb, both well into their 50’s, have not lost one step after all these years! Lips is still crazy onstage and plays a mean lead guitar. Robb put to shame most drummers on the current metal scene. It was like 1983 all over again! Bassist Glenn Five is both an excellent musician and a fine showman, and fits perfectly in Anvil. All three killed tonight! In rapid-fire succession, Anvil raced through such classics as “666,” “School Love,” “Metal On Metal,” “White Rhino,” “Jackhammer,” and “Mothra!” Whew! They also played the title track of their latest album, “This Is Thirteen,” which is just as good as the old songs!
I also must stress Anvil is a very approachable band. After the show, they hung out with the crowd, selling t-shirts, CD’s, and signing everything put in front of them! Lips apologized for being a mere few minutes late. I told him “No problem- most bands won’t even come out after a show!”
The only disappointment of the entire evening was the non-appearance of Lip’s infamous vibrator. Hmm, maybe he forgot it “someplace”…
Hopefully, this time, Anvil are back for good. They deserve it. Again!
March Of The Crabs
This Is Thirteen
Metal On Metal