Just before 10 PM on Tuesday night, the overhead lighting at the Mod Club dimmed, replaced by the soft glow of blue and orange spotlights on stage. The floor in front was packed with excited fans wearing t-shirts decorated with Metallica, Motorhead, and other similar metal bands. Seconds later, as if someone dropped a nickel into a 50’s jukebox, the unmistakable voice of Elvis “The King” Presley began to flow from the speakers and the cheering started. At this point you would naturally wonder why Motorhead fans would cheer for Elvis. The question was answered moments later when Volbeat stepped on stage.
Currently touring North American to promote their 4th upcoming album Beyond Hell / Above Heaven, the 4-piece out of Copenhagen, Denmark is described as a fusion of heavy metal, rockabilly, thrash, punk and early rock & roll. A description like that is baffling until you actually see and hear them play. The numerous influences are further evidenced by the elaborate tattoos covering front man Michael Poulsen’s arms and chest that in bold letters name his musical heroes (J.R. Cash, Aaron Elvis Presley, Social Distortion to name a few).
Volbeat tore up the stage, delivering an onslaught of driving, fist-pumping songs including “Hallelujah Goat”, “Rebel Monster”, “Sad Man’s Tongue”, and personal favourite “Mary Ann’s Place” that had fans raising devil horns to the sky right from the get go. More impressive was the fact they performed without the support of regular guitarist Thomas Bredahl who was declined access into the country due to an unresolved incident involving the theft of a barstool. Bassist Anders Kjølholm and drummer Jon Larsen played outstandingly and select tunes requiring extra strings were handled expertly by the band’s guitar tech. Along with tons of old favourites such as “Boa” and “Radio Girl”, the performance of the new single “Fallen” was met with huge enthusiasm promising Beyond Hell / Above Heaven will be another awesome Volbeat album.
An already perfect evening was completed with a 3-song encore that featured a wicked cover of Misfit’s “Angelfuck”, “Garden’s Tale” and the big hit “Still Counting”. The band showed their appreciation to the crowd during the entire performance and went the extra mile afterwards to shake hands, toss out drum sticks and guitar picks, and promised to join those who stuck around later for drinks. After a night like that, I resolved to never miss this band when they come to town.