The Gas Monkey Bar N’Grill in Dallas was the place to be on June 9. On the outdoor stage, and an almost summertime-like warm evening, featuring ANVIL from Toronto, Ontario, the pounding of heavy rock and metal filled the air. Beginning the assault was Fort Worth-based NYTRATE. Only together since October 2015, the band made a good showing and warmed up the crowd. Alli Clay – Vox, Eddie Mendiola – Guitar, Jimmy Adcock – Guitar, Thomas “Taco” Canto – Drums and Tony Clay – Bass shared eight kickass songs.
Track “Sorry” featured youngster, Blaise Younkin. Being around 12 years old, rocker was in his element. He knocked it out of the park. While snapping photos of this young man, I was grinning from ear to ear. Kudos to Blaise.
Next to take the stage was local based band, MOTHERSHIP. Around since 2010, Kelley Juett- Guitars/Vox, Kyle Juett- Bass/Vox and Judge Smith- Drums, presented their hard rockin’ sound to the Monkey crowd. On a short tour with ANVIL, I thought their set was way too long and I was totally bored after about 45 minutes.
Now what about them boys from Toronto, ANVIL? Although I’ve only seen them live twice, I am a dedicated Anvil Metal Pounders Union (fan club) member. Some musicians call them the originators of the heavy metal sound. True or not, whether they are playing for 30 or 30,000, the boys have demonstrated again and again, that they still give it 110%, every show.
I first heard these guys on KFMX radio in Lubbock, Texas about 1982 when I was a student in college. I immediately went out and bought their first LP Hard ‘N’ Heavy. To this day on that LP, “Bedroom Game” has one of my favorite guitar solos of all time. Formed by Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner, they picked up Chris Robertson several years ago for the bass licks. I reviewed their last LP, Anvil Is Anvil, and I think Chris really compliments the band. Some of their best stuff in my opinion. I had the good pleasure to visit with both Lips and Chris prior to the show and both are great guys and easy to talk to.
So what did they bring to Gas Monkey? The band began with “March of the Crabs” (an instrumental), and wearing a wireless unit, Kudlow walks around the stage, jamming away and into the crowd. All the fans gather around him, all playing their air guitars and dancing as if it were an ancient tribal dance. It’s a great way to amp up the crowd. I love this show introduction.
The boys energized the audience with killer songs such as “666”, “Badass Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Winged Assassins” and “On Fire”. As an appropriate tribute to Lemmy (RIP) with MOTÖRHEAD, the band played “Free as the Wind”. Probably the song that the band and crowd seemed to have the most fun with was “Daggers and Rum” off their latest effort. It involved the fans singing back the chorus, throughout the track. Following up was “This is Thirteen” and one of my favorites “Mothra” off of the Metal On Metal LP.
If you ever want to know what a kickass drummer Robb Reiner is, give a listen to “Swing Thing”. Another instrumental, he is the featured musician on this track, with a very kick ass drum solo. Reiner is in his own league. Finishing out the set was the infamous “Metal on Metal”. For the encore, the band played the fast-paced, “Running” from Juggernaut of Justice.
One very memorable moment came when Robertson was jamming away on his bass, on which song I don’t recall, but suddenly he was hopping around on one foot. I thought to myself “Wow, very impressive he can play hopping on one foot”. After about 15 seconds I realized his strap came loose and he was trying like hell to hold up his bass with his leg and hopping on the opposite foot so he could keep playing.
One of the stage hands eventually noticed and came to his aide. It was a great moment and they all took it in stride. Ah, live music for ya. I was so happy to see the guys again. My only regret is that I have not been able to see them more often. Thanks ANVIL for coming back to Dallas. Salude’
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: MARK EHRLICH