Words and Pictures by Dave MacIntyre
It may have taken almost four decades, but metal veterans Anvil are finally seeing that persistence and unconditional love really do pay off. Stepping on stage to chants of “Anvil! Anvil!” from the packed Phoenix Concert Theatre, it was obvious from the look on front man Steve “Lips” Kudrow’s face he was feeling some much deserved vindication for never giving up on the dream. The three-piece--consisting of the aforementioned Kudrow, Robb Reiner on drums, and Glenn Five on bass--has transitioned from obscurity to success story since the release of last year’s much raved about documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil”, a raw, honest and often moving look at the band’s decades of struggles, failures, and constant heartbreaks suffered while chasing their dream of making it big. (That the film wasn’t a mock-rockumentary despite Reiner’s conspicuous name only added to the intrigue).
Now standing on stage, and grinning ear to ear, Kudrow scanned the crowd. “Hello Toronto! Fuck! What happened man?” Musically, these guys are the real deal. As we know from the documentary they love what they do and have the experience to do it well--even a lighting glitch that plunged the stage into total darkness midway through “School Love” didn’t slow them down. They performed both new and older material including “This is Thirteen”, “Flying High”, and “Thumb Hang” and tipped their hats to metal gods Black Sabbath, “the pillars of metal”. Highlights of the evening included long time Anvil follower Colin Brown hopping on stage to demonstrate his unique talent of drinking a beer through his nostril; Robb Reiner’s furious 3-minute drum solo during “White Rhino”, reminiscent of Rush’s “YYZ” or Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick”; and Kudrow’s utilization of a chrome multi-speed sex toy to play guitar. The evening ended with fans rocking out, devil-horns raised high, to “Metal on Metal” and the encore performance of “Jackhammer”. The band showed their appreciation with a final front stage bow, waving, and shaking hands with fans before making their final exit.