Photos by David Rubene
Billy Bragg wasn’t the one legend I was able to cross off my bucketlist this week. I spent my Saturday night with the one and only Anvil. Yes, that Anvil. The one that the 2008 critically acclaimed documentary “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” was all about. Having only ever seen the documentary and only ever heard their music and the insane stories that seem to follow this Canadian band around, I was beyond excited as I stepped foot into The Turf Club.
Getting the night started was Santa Cruz, CA based Archer Nation. Clearly younger than the members of Anvil, the older crowd seemed hesitant to give this opening band much, if any, of their energy. I was captivated by the guitar playing of Dylan Rose. He had this uncanny way of making complicated riffs look easy all while singing along in the most perfect way. It had to have been a couple of songs before I had a chance to actually take a look around me but, when I did, I realized that the older crowd had started to migrate closer to the stage. That says everything that needs to be said about Archer Nation. It’s their music, their sound, their unique style (yet clear nods to the great of the old school metal scene) that got everyone up, out of their seats, and moving closer to the stage. Their set was short and flew by on top of that so when their time was up and they were unloading the stage to make room for the next act, I was no alone in wishing they had just a little bit more time up there. This band has an extremely bright future if they keep it up. If you’re a fan of the old school metal scene but are looking for something new, I urge you to check this group out.
Eighteen albums. I mean, can you even imagine? Anvil has been putting out music since their debut album ‘Hard ‘n’ Heavy’ that came out back in 1981 (although the band formed in 1977). I wasn’t even a thought in my parents’ mind at that point! What’s crazier than the fact that this band has put out 18 albums since 1981 is the fact that guitarist/ vocalist Steve Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner have been in the band since the beginning. Truly impressive and a feat these days, this just goes to prove that this band is doing everything right even though some of their antics and stories seem more like something out of Spinal Tap rather than real life. Being able to see a band like this live is something I wish everyone could experience. They may not be the most popular band in the world or even a household name but they are Anvil and, in this scene, they are kings and have truly stood the test of time.
Anvil is one of those bands that I had just come to terms with the fact that I would never see them live. After Saturday night’s show I honestly can’t imagine how I ever talked myself into being okay with never seeing them. What a genuinely fun show from a genuinely amazing band.