SAXON with special quests Anvil – Club Nosturi, HELSINKI

Spread the metal:

Saxon promo 2011

with very special guests



04.12 2011


The British NWOBHM legends, Saxon, released their 19th studio album CALL TO ARMS in May 2011, and they have been touring heavily across the globe. Although the band had been annual visitors to Finland, they now played their first show in Helsinki in four years! The support band for this leg of the tour was Canadian metal band Anvil. It seems that there’s a great demand for these classic bands in Finland as this show sold out with the 1000 person capacity reached right after tickets came on sale.


Long-running Canadian metallers Anvil have enjoyed great success after the acclaimed THE STORY OF ANVIL documentary since it came out in 2008. The re-found success has helped the band do worldwide tours, performing some of the largest metal festivals, TV appearances, and the list goes on. It seems that there’s nothing to stop Anvil’s world-conquering, or is there?


It does seem that Anvil was an excellent choice as a support band for this leg of the Saxon tour since all the shows have been sold out.  If you were counting which t-shirts the people were wearing, it was easy to notice that approximately 1/3 of the crowd came here to see Anvil…and most of them were here only because of Anvil AND because they’d seen the movie. Right! The Anvil show took its place at 08:00 PM, and the set opened up with a pair of classic METAL ON METAL album tracks. “March of the Crabs” started the game, followed by “666”. The crowd was utterly packed, and it did seem that people knew most of the lyrics from start to finish. Lead singer/guitarist Lips was sincerely pleased with the reception the band received. The title track of the latest Anvil album, JUGGERNAUT OF JUSTICE, followed, and it did sound like the best part of the show so far, at least for my ears. During the “Mothra,” another track from METAL ON METAL, Lips performed his famous guitar solo, and in the end, as always, he was playing guitar using a dildo, and everyone seemed to have fun. “Thumb Hang” included Robb Reiner’s thunderous drum solo, and it was a good indication that the veteran is still going strong behind his kit.  The nine-song set was closed with Anvil’s best-known song “Metal on Metal,” which lasted about ten minutes, and then the show was over.


The band received a loud round of applause before they left the stage, and it did seem that the majority of the crowd liked what they had just witnessed. Well, to be honest, as a whole, this was an entertaining performance. The Anvil guys are perhaps not the world’s tightest players, except for their drummer, and their songs are, at best, just average, but the thing with Anvil is that these guys do have the right attitude, which is, after all, the most important thing in this business. Perhaps Anvil should try to do their headline show next time?



1.March of the Crabs


3.Juggernaut of Justice

4.Winged Assassins


6.Thumb Hang

7.Swing Thing

8.Fuken Eh!

9.Metal on Metal


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Another long-running heavy metal band, Saxon, was headlining the event. Although these British NWOBHM legends had their biggest “heyday” already in the early ’80s, they have always succeeded in reforming their sound and live up to today. There’s no denying that their 80’s albums DENIM AND LEATHER, POWER AND THE GLORY, and CRUSADER are true metal classics. Still, the newer releases like THE INNER SANCTRUM, LIONHEART, and the latest CALL TO ARMS don’t lose an inch for the old material.


The show kicked off with the heavy opening riff of “Hammer of the Gods,” played by Paul Quinn. Vocalist Biff Byford took his place, and within seconds, the whole band was in full action. The classic “Heavy Metal Thunder” followed and made the crowd go wild. The setlist was built mainly upon the new album, and it was quite smart to play alternately old classics and new songs. Old gems like “Never Surrender,” “Motorcycle Man,” and “To Hell and Back Again” fit perfectly with CALL TO ARMS material, and especially the younger part of the audience seemed to like this kind selection of songs.


While watching this energetic performance, it was hard to realize that this band has been around since 1976. The band’s charismatic vocalist Byford is already in his early 60’s, but the man did not show any sign of fatigue. Byford’s most vital trademark, the voice, is still there, and it’s as powerful as ever. It indeed was exhilarating to follow how Byford commanded the show, but still, every band member had their own space on stage. The hyper-energetic bassist Nibbs Carter made sure that there was enough movement on the stage while guitarist duo Quinn and Doug Scarratt concentrated more on playing. Elegantly grizzled drummer Nigel Glockler did solid work through the set, although the man was hard to see behind his massive drum kit.


Like said before, the setlist consisted mainly of CALL TO ARMS tracks (there were altogether six played) and old classics, but there was one surprising choice as well. I can’t even remember when “Rock the Nations” has been in the playlist last time, but it was played now. What a pleasant surprise for a veteran of over twenty Saxon shows in the row.  Also, I’ve already seen the band twice this current year, and there were several set changes made since the last time. That’s something that every touring band should think to do more often. The show lasted for over two hours, and altogether the band played 23 songs. All in all, this performance was strong evidence that these NWOBHM legends are still going strong, and there’s still a lot of demand for bands of this era. Welcome again !!!


Hammer of the Gods

Heavy Metal Thunder

When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory)

Never Surrender

Chasing the Bullet

Motorcycle Man

Back in ’79

Solid Ball of Rock

To Hell and Back Again

I’ve Got to Rock (To Stay Alive)

Call to Arms

Rock the Nations

Demon Sweeney Todd

The Eagle Has Landed

Mists of Avalon

Power and the Glory

Denim and Leather

And the Bands Played On

Wheels of Steel



747 (Strangers in the Night)

Encore 2:

Strong Arm of the Law

Princess of the Night


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