Anvil Live In Ottawa

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Correspondent
Saturday, August 6, 2005 @ 11:00 AM

Anvil Celebrate Their Return t

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Anvil Celebrate Their Return to Ottawa with Special Guests Phalanx, Grind Corps and Rammer at Maverick's, April 17, 2005

Apparently a long time ago before those rampant documentaries on Britney Spears that she usually hosts now went and effectively lobotomized her, MuchMoreMusic host Karina Huber was once a metal fan. Specifically of the glam/trad metal type. She even hosted PowerHour when it was given a brief resurgence and a few times had even hinted that she liked some of the bands people requested on the show (Annihilator, Grim Reaper, Saxon, Helloween and this band too). Okay, her interview skills occasionally needed work at times and granted when it came to metal knowledge she wasn't exactly in the same ballpark as Diana, Jackie and Renee -- at best she'd likely be the person who hands out the Gatorade and cleans the aluminum chrome on the bats in this case but hey, the spirit and the good intentions were there. Literally about the same time last year Anvil were supposed to do a show at a venue called Bumpers so I ended up e-mailing who I thought was Karina herself about doing a review on that show for both KNAC and her benefit. The person who got the e-mail turned out to be PowerHour's program director who said that the show was cancelled and there were no plans to run future episodes. Can't have that getting in the way of Britney's 55-hour marriage now, can we?

Interestingly enough, Bumpers also went under just days before the proposed Anvil show leaving the band with no other option but to cancel their Ottawa show altogether as they were left with no time to reschedule another show at another venue at the last minute. I couldn't decide what sucked more that day although since then the subject matter of "Butterbust Jerky" took on a whole new meaning for me anyways as it was exactly what Britney Spears was doing to PowerHour. Gonna mount you for a good ride indeed.

But yet while PowerHour is all but gone at least Anvil managed to make up for that Bumpers' show that never happened by playing a show instead at Maverick's with some promising up-and-coming names in underground Canadian metal. First up was local power metal band Phalanx who brought more stage equipment with them than Pink Floyd and had to work with stage space so limited that even Tenacious D would find difficult to move around on. The back half of the stage reserved for the instruments of the headlining band probably didn't help matters much either nor did the two thin steel foundations that stood on opposite sides of the stage like a gateframe. I was surprised that the bass player's bass head didn't even come close to hitting those foundations even once. Or that the lead guitarist and singer didn't run into each other during a song. I wasn't surprised that the keyboardist couldn't fit his gear on the stage and had to play on the side though. Lack of stage space aside, the band did give off an energetic vibe and played as if they just got a headlining slot at Bang Your Head or the Atlanta Progpower festival. Highlights of the show were "Tides Of March" with its almost galloping guitar riffage, "Into The Dark" and a song about pirates whose title I didn't catch unlike the vocalist's eyepatch when he threw it into the crowd. Actually nobody caught the eyepatch and it was only after the show that I saw it on the floor and picked it up. One of the guitarists said I could keep it henceforth solidifying my reputation as Drunken Guy in the Sonata Arctica T-Shirt at Maverick's with Eyepatch among the band members.

In short, awesome performance. And time to get a full-length album out already, guys!


Up next....they came, they crushed, they were a 4-piece band called Grind Corps and they played in their socks. Not socks strategically placed on certain body parts like when the Red Hot Chili Peppers used to matter or when former DJ Thrasher was on the air (and for the Ottawametal regulars reading this including Grind Corps themselves, it's a long story) but well, socks with no shoes. Likely the first ever extreme death metal band I've seen that can show up looking like they just kicked their shoes off to watch the latest UFC match on pay-per-view while taking over your sofa only to unleash some pretty insane extreme death metal riffs instead. They already have a full-length album out titled Esprit Du Grind Corps which is worth checking out. Highlights include "Recreational Genocide," "Bonestorm," "Entombed In The Shadows Of Death," the laughingly enjoyable "Heavy Metal Killing Machine" and "Blood: It's In You To Spill".

http://www.myspace.com/grindcorps -  seeing as almost everyone from KNAC's on MySpace these days and if it worked for Queens Of The Stone Age and Neil Turbin what's the harm...

Having opened for Goat Horn about a year ago at the Blue Zone to a strong reception Rammer returned to take the stage and kill once more. This time with shirts on. Now the crowd gets serious and larger in numbers and the band's playing is even more intense than when I last saw them. And last time I saw them I was convinced that they would steal the show from the headlining band. But they still were on par back then as they were tonight and they played like their lives depended on it. I still couldn't make out any of their songs outside of "World Eaters" and "Waste Lair" since I was on my fourth Alexander Keith's by then. Awesome debut CD though.


The last time Anvil played a show anywhere near Ottawa was seemingly across the river in Hull at a rock bar called Roxanne's -- where they won't sting you with high prices, according to the radio ad -- back in 1992 (which would've made a perfect graduation gift to go and see that year too if I hadn't gone to see the Ramones at Porter Hall instead but seeing as 3/4 of a band that likely influenced Anvil among countless other bands are now gone I remain confident that I made the right choice back then in seeing them that night). Sadly, Roxanne's, much like Karina, caters more towards the mainstream group nowadays but Maverick's almost sell-out audience were able to recreate the atmosphere and make the band feel welcome again after their 13-year absence. Goddamn, what an awesome show. No frills, no gimmicks, just four guys shredding and pounding away at the classic metal anthems they either were influenced by or created themselves. Lips' playing has never relented or slowed down over the years even if the band's popularity may have but judging by the crowd reception that night it felt like the night before their critically-acclaimed performance at the Super Rock Japan festival over 20 years ago that put their name on the map. Their anthems still rang solid and relevant to this day. "Blood On The Ice" (in reference to the current NHL strike), "Mad Dog," "Smokin' Green," "Metal On Metal," "Bottom Feeder," "Future Wars".....all of them killed.

If there were any low points during the show at all that had to be addressed they would have to be the one dude in the front row who knocked the mic stand into Lips' teeth although Lips kicked him back (and he turned out to be the Rammer vocalist if I'm not mistaken) and the guy apologized afterwards anyway so maybe it wasn't that much of a low point what with the whole brotherhood of metal being prevalent and all.

There was the criminal omission of "Butterbust Jerky" though. Why wouldn't the appeal of a song about tittyfucking not go down well among a crowd of metalheads? Again, refer to my previous comment about PowerHour and Britney Spears. I should've brought it up with Lips after the show.

Speaking of which I managed to hang out with the band afterwards even though I didn't have any KNAC stickers to give them or anyone else although I will say to Lips that DJWill does send his regards and remains one of your biggest fans.

And on the subject of biggest and famous fans Lips was saying that he attributed most of Anvil's success overseas thanks to Yngwie Malmsteen around 1987 when he touted Anvil and their Strength Of Steel album as one of his favorites from that year. The ensuing buzz would explain the popularity of "Mad Dog" on MuchMusic and MTV that same year too, I'm told. How Karina Huber never picked up on that bit of music trivia boggles the mind during PowerHour's brief heyday. Nowadays I'll bet any interview with either Lips or Yngwie that she does probably doesn't go beyond asking their opinion on Britney and Kevin's marriage. Oh well. Will and Diana always asked the better and more interesting questions anyway. I'll just wait for the day when Karina lands the honor of being the best woman at Britney's next marriage to Christina Aguilera and she accidentally books Anvil as the after-wedding entertainment having been so out of the proverbial heavy metal loop for so long she's forgotten what they sound like. They immediately launch into "Butterbust Jerky" and Karina gets so aroused she tackles Britney, lets the twins out and gives her a full-frontal lactation enema (which incidentally would make for a great Anvil song and/or album title). Justin Timberlake's head immediately explodes while Anvil generate immense unprecedented press coverage for the first time since the Mulroney years. The royalty cheques from the ensuing press coverage get spent on beer and promoting more underground Canadian metal bands, Phalanx will finally get a bigger stage to play on and Kevin Federline and Justin Timberlake are quickly forgotten.

Everybody wins. Just please don't take another 13 years to make my dreams come true next time.

Songs never in any particular order:

Metal On Metal
Blood On The Ice
Forged In Fire
Mad Dog
School Love
Pow Wow
Future Wars
Smokin' Green
Bottom Feeder
March Of The Crabs


[Editor's Note: Andrew asked that we mention the bass player from Joe Thrasher managed to get a pic of Andrew and Anvil vocalist Lips and how appreciative he is.  The Joe Thrasher website is at www.joethrasher.com]


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