After their successful tour around Europe with ALTER BRIDGE last year, VOLBEAT make a triumphant EU return with a headline tour with some friends from across the pond.
Kick off the show was Canadian rockers DANKO JONES, a rock trio from Ontario, CA. Adorned with their name on the stage behind them, the band make the most of the space given them *the stage being somewhat cramped with VOLBEAT’s covered set up, building anticipation to their slot*, and throw themselves into the momentum with the hard hitting song ‘Fists Up High’, to which the audience receives well and are almost instantly joining in on the action, an excellent start to the night. ‘Had Enough’ was definitely a highlight of the night for me, having not heard the song before it was an instant add to my playlist.
Up next was BARONESS, a four piece heavy metal band from Southern US, once again with their name branded behind them on stage and an impress set up of guitars and pedals before them. These guys bring an interesting mix of heavy & progressive metal, the care they put into their craft being clear as vocalist John Baizley focuses intensely on delivering a perfect performance, which worked vocally but somewhat didn’t match up to his bandmate’s energy, especially with lead guitaris Gina Gleason sharing the stage, whose energy throughout was infectious and made the most of the stage, The reception from the crowd was incredible and by the end of the set it seemed as though the room was already packed out.
Finally it was VOLBEAT’s turn to take to the stage, the sold out Brixton Academy filled to the brim both up & downstairs as the band’s simple yet effective stage setup is finally revealed. Drummer John Larsen is raised above on a screened platform, whilst the rest of the stage is adorned with three microphones as the band’s name flies high behind them, letting Brixton know who they came to see that night.
Lead vocalist Michael Poulsen isn’t shy to announce that he is suffering with throat problems, although it wouldn’t have been noticeable if he hadn’t said anything as Poulsen’s unique vocals manage to fight through and put on an excellent vocal performance throughout, whilst also managing to keep the crowd drawn in with some excellent crowd interaction. Poulsen originally taking the middle mic to begin with former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano and bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen on mics either side, before regularly swapping and making the most of the stage so each side of the crowd gets a good show from each member, Poulsen and Caggiano often coming to the front & centre of the stage for dramatic solos and enhanced crowd interaction.
Highlights of the set began with a cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ before throwing themselves into ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’, a welcome classic considering this is the ‘Rewind, Replay, Rebound’, the title of their seventh, latest studio album, which had new hits such as ‘Last Day Under The Sun’, which although is a new release, sticks to their unique sound and overall all the songs mesh well together, even if they did unfortunately leave out some excellent tracks, such as their cover of ‘I Only Wanna Be With You’. Vocalist and frontman from the first support band, Danko Jones, joins VOLBEAT onstage to lend his vocals for ‘Black Rose’, which worked well and it’s always good to see the headliners bring on members from their support bands as it is refreshing for the crowd to see everyone on the stage enjoy themselves, further increasing their enjoyment and making the gig experience more personal.
VOLBEAT end their 20 song strong set with ‘Still Counting’, ending their incredible show on a high note. With such a wide discography to choose from, it would have been good to have a few more classics added but it’s still an experience in it’s own right seeing VOLBEAT live, as only then do you appreciate Poulsen’s unique vocals teamed with the bands skilful instrumentals. Overall an excellent night for all, especially considering VOLBEAT had to pull out of their show the following day due to Poulsen’s illness.