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Wednesday, 13 January 2010 19:02

Anvil - Lame Old Farts or Guys Who Still Rock?

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Anvil's Steve These are the very guys I can imagine having had shot spit balls out of a straw at teachers with in 5th grade, being staples on the "Smoker's Corner," right outside of school, and "playing hooky" with to have some cans of cheap ol' Milwaukee's Best or Pabst Blue Ribbons.



These are the very guys I can imagine having had shot spit balls out of a straw at teachers with in 5th grade, being staples on the "Smoker's Corner" right outside of school and "playing hooky" with to have some cans of cheap ol' Milwaukee's Best or Pabst Blue Ribbons.

For the record, Anvil's lead guitarist and vocalist, Steve "Lips" Kudlow, performed his first concert at the age of 12 years old for his Parent's Night at his Elementary school. "A teacher threatened to shorten his show because Lips was making noise trying to tape his microphone to his guitar ( 2009.")

Anvil's Steve "Lips talked back, and was promptly escorted to the Principal's office and given 'the strap' across his right hand ( 2009.") Now, that's a true rebel destined to be a rocker practically as soon as he got out of his baby's cradle!

In 1973, "Lip's" luck turned around when he met drummer, Robb Reiner --they met in a mutual friend's basement, where "Lips" was seen totally nerve wracked, pacing back and forth struggling, impatiently "plugging away" to get a darn amplifier working. Surprisingly, Robb at 14 didn't "run busting out laughing" at "Lips" and still gave his fellow peer the chance to jam.

When they did, it was nothing short of magically bonding electricity--they started writing music together in a "flash" and "made a pact to rock together forever ( 2009.") Can you say "ahh?"

The Canadian "home grown" buds had ventured out on a worldwide tour with mega bands Scorpions and Whitesnake during the 80's ( 2009.)

But as luck would have it, "long acknowledged by peers and fans as the 'Godfather's of Thrash Metal' and 'Father's of Power Metal,' Anvil haven't came nearly an inch as close to the success, fame and fortune of the bands who testify they were directly influenced by them (such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax etc.) ( 2009.)

Just imagine how that would affect you--your childhood dream being swept away from you so in-your-face unfairly?
Anvil didn't sink into the depths of 24/7 couch potato pot heads, church pew junkies, bomb shelter shot gun crack "feens," medicine cabinet whatever content poppers or school zone habitual cross-eyed drunk drivers (like s**t loads of their peers, though.)

Rather, Anvil stayed relatively "clean as a whistle" and out of the confines of "cell block number 9," working legal but menial jobs while usually keeping their faith that still someday their rock 'n' roll dreams would certainly come alive in due time ( 2009.)

Today, it's Sunday, January 10th 2010 in the "Windy City," so cold and gusty your nostrils freeze together and you wish you put on another sweater! Let's see if Anvil alone will blow the Chicago crowd away, in a different kind of way, while in the warmth and comforts of the House of Blues.

"Lips" had said in 2001, "We'll play gigs sometimes where no one is there," but this evening was an entirely different story with a good number of fans who braved the bitter weather to see Anvil's show ( 2009.") The crowd was filled with ever-so-lovable "stoners" and a dozen or so "underagers" (one cool mom even brought her 9 and 11-year-old kids, making it their first show.)

About half of the fans were from way before the band's critically acclaimed documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil. The remaining 50 percent recently fell in love with the pipe-dreaming wanna be forever rocking old friends "Lips" and Robb--they empathetically witnessed the dynamic duo's struggles with the music industry and of daily life in their movie.


First of all, one of the opening bands for Anvil, Earthen Grave, compiled a dramatic grave-rocking performance. Lead vocalist, Mark Weiner, and Ron Holzner on bass, Jason Muxlow plus Tony Spillman on guitar were A+ performers, yet extended-range electric violin-playing, Rachel Barton Pine, gets my highest score.


In sum, Earthen Grave's stage presence was a polymorphous of power, packed with many-sided talent, intricate musical composition and head-banging galore! In my humble opinion, Earthen Grave should be signed and on tour. 


"Anyhoo"--moving on to Anvil's performance review. 


"Lips" initially came out at tonight's House of Blue's show as a genuinely fan-loving musician, standing up on the barricade between the stage and "up close and personal" to fans in the front row, while he "shot out" an exhilarating guitar solo. Some macho looking guys didn't look too comfortable with "Lip's" groin near their faces, but it was all done in the name of rock 'n' roll!

"Lips" also "rocked" solid vocals and the band played easy-to-get-into songs " March Of The Crabs," "666," "School Love," "Mad Dog" and so on.

"Lips" and Anvil's bassist, "Glen Five's," speedy finger agility and Robb's impressively long and strong drum solo showed these guys have indeed been playing music for decades now.

The climax of the show was when "Lips" stroked an actual dildo along his guitar, producing awesome sounds to scream for and want plenty more of! Throughout most of their performance their youthful enthusiasm was contagious, creating fun, fun, fun and many happy faces on just about everyone.

Anvil at House of Blues Chicago (photo by Tracy Walsh)

Although, the members of Anvil may not be able to blow out their 50 plus Birthday Cake candles all at once, they continue to have the talent to get an audience "eating out of their hands" (chanting their name, singing along to their songs and screaming requests for some of their songs to be played.) After having been a virgin to an Anvil show, I strongly believe big-kid-acting fun and goofy "Lips" can practically win anyone over.

To support my feeling, Revolver/ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash said "Anvil was one of those bands that just put on this really amazing live performance" ( 2009.) And, they are more energetic on stage now than they were in the 80's, according to one of their old fans I spoke to after the show this evening.

Plus, I saw Anvil is refreshingly serious about fulfilling their fan's desires at their "Meet 'n' Greets," regardless if it means going against the strict all age's show law that all have to be out of the venue at 10:30--the band serving their fans after the show put them at risk of being charged a ridiculously expensive fine for; that makes me like Anvil even more.

To wrap it up, Anvil's most current of their 13 albums for sale "This is Thirteen" is definitely worth buying and their musical performance on their "The Anvil Experience " tour in my humble opinion is surely to be seen. Oh, and "Lips," my friend is desperately in need of you returning his beloved golden dildo A.S.A.P, please--he's really "jonesing!"


Last modified on Saturday, 23 January 2010 00:37



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