Anvil: Manchester Academy 3 – live review

Manchester Academy 3
29th July 2013

Anvil, the band made (in)famous by the 2008 documentary “The Story of Anvil” (which garnered praise across the board & rose the profile of the band to such an extent that it brought them renewed recognition, albeit for being a “Real Life Spinal Tap”) played Manchester a couple of days ago. Louder Than War’s Ian Critchley’s a fan so he sallied forth & checked them out for us.

I finished my beer and then urinated in-between the bins around the back of the venue before heading in to see Metal’s greatest underdogs, Anvil. There was meant to be two passes on the door but due to a slip up there was only one. At £19 a ticket I had no choice but to get in touch with Dale, the man who had arranged the interview I’d had with the band earlier, and he quickly and kindly had a word with the door staff before both myself and Martin, my cameraman, were given tickets for entry.

We arrived at the arse end of the second support bands set. Their name was  Falling Red and even though many people compare the ANVIL ‘rockumentary’ to This Is Spinal Tap these four boys fit the part far more looking like a poor Mötley Crüe tribute act and sounding a million times worse. It seemed as if the only people in the audience enjoying the band were people who knew them and a number of other patrons spent the time in between songs heckling these lousy fashion statements.


Just before 21:30 Anvil took to the stage and exploded into a flurry of Heavy Metal greatness. Watching them it was clear to see that this band truly love what they do. The crowd wasn’t half as large as I expected but that was only in terms of numbers. When it came to energy this barely populated room had all the destruction of an atom bomb.

Just in front of us were two long haired headbangers, one of which would constantly drench my legs with the sweat dripping from his locks, and I just couldn’t quite grasp what the hell they were doing. Sure they looked like they were having a great time, but they spent the entire set with their eyes pinned solely on the floor and barely took in the on-stage visual magic being produced by Lips, Robb Reiner, and new bassist, Sal Italiano. But hell, each to their own and all that.

Anvil: Manchester Academy 3 – live review

The band played a plethora of songs both old and new, constantly addressed the crowd in between, and during, them and generally made everyone there feel as if the trio had come to see them, and not the other way round. The highlight of the evening for me, being a huge jazz fan, was watching Robb Reiner pull off one of the most impressive impromptu drum solos I’ve ever seen. I could almost see the ghost of Buddy Rich in the rafters nodding his approval.

The band finished their set but this was only temporary as the human atom bomb exploded in roars of “ANVIL!!” and “ONE MORE SONG!!” which the band were happy to do for the devoted few calling out from the darkness of Manchester Academy 3.


Anvil can be found at their website and at their Facebook and MySpace pages.

All words by Ian Critchley. More work by Ian on Louder Than War can be found here.


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