With over 30 years of music, Anvil has been touring and performing constantly gaining a huge underground following. The band has kept themselves strong with a strong catalog of thrash metal and in 2009, the band got another jump start with the release of “Anvil! The Story of Anvil”, a documentary telling the history of the band. This sparked a renewed interest from fans and critics. With the release of the band most recent album, “Anvil is Anvil”, the band decided to hit the road and revisit cities they have not played in many years. On June 3rd, 2016, it marked the first time the band has played San Diego since the late 80s. Anvil performed at Brick by Brick with the help of Night Demon, Unleash the Archers, Graveshadow, and local opener, The Bastard Saints.
The Bastard Saints were originally formed in 2004 in Oregon until frontman and guitarist, Fernando Ramirez, relocated to San Diego in 2006 and reformed the band with new members. Since then, the band has been performing in and around southern California. This band was a great way to start the show. The band had plenty of energy and intense riffs paired with some excellent, over the top vocals from Fernando. The band struggled with some timing issues during the beginning of the set, but as they continued, they were able to establish a groove. The closing song, “Wrath”, was a personal favorite and really encompassed the talents of the whole band. The Bastard Saints definitely fit the bill and gave a solid performance.
The next two bands threw me for a loop as their genres were drastically different from the headliner. The second band to perform was Graveshadow from Sacramento, CA. While Anvil more falls into the genre of thrash metal, Graveshadow was more of a symphonic/goth metal band. Even with a vastly different genre, Graveshadow joined Anvil for most the tour and gave a fantastic performance this night. The music was entertaining and fun to listen to and the frontwoman, Heather Michele, engaged with the crowd making everyone feel welcome. This was honestly one of the best sets of the night as their energy and charisma kept the attention and gained the adoration of the audience.
To continue the night’s festivities, Unleash the Archers from Vancouver, Canada set up on stage to deliver their music to the crowd. Unleash the Archers, similarly to Graveshadow, were inspired by power and melodic metal. Their frontwoman, Brittney Slayes, delivered an astonishing performance and showed off her talents and incredible vocal range. The guitarists played with extreme finesse and displayed their prowess in their ability to shred and bring the energy of the building to another level.
After a series of a great variety of genres of metal, Night Demon brought the night back to thrash metal. Night Demon is a 3 piece metal band out of Ventura, CA inspired by bands like Diamond Head and provided a heavy and dark atmosphere to the venue. The band had the look and feel necessary to elicit a dark occult mood, while also performing a great set. One of the more memorable moments from their set is their cover of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”, giving the song a much heavier feel and gained some more crowd interaction.
To close the show out, Anvil finally took the stage. Anvil came out swinging opening with classic hits like “March of the Crabs” and “666”. Anvil seemed ecstatic to be in San Diego performing and the vocalist, Steve “Lips” Kudlow spent many moments throughout the set to tell stories of his interactions with famous musicians and stories from the road. There was even a moment when he took the time to point out a fan’s “Pound for Pound” shirt. The band expressed extreme gratitude for the fans in the audience and delivered a retrospective of classic songs from the band as well as newer songs.
Even with the show ending close to 1 am, many Anvil fans stayed all the way until the end to witness these legends. The night provided a great spectrum of metal genres and a retrospective of one of the most iconic and influential thrash metal bands.
Special thanks to Brick by Brick and Napalm Records for letting us cover this event. To get a glimpse into the event, check out some of the photos I took during the show.