Volbeat & Black Spiders At Academy 2, Manchester
Friday 28th October, 2011

The sense of anticipation and impatience was tangible at the doors of Manchester Academy 2 as the crowd was going to be embraced with some good rock and metal, and beer or two, of course…

To begin the night, Doncaster hard rock scallywags Black Spiders, known for their fast paced and energetic performances began with the speedy starter ‘Stay Down’, only to be with sound gremlins. A few minutes later, they once again played ‘Stay Down’, thankfully with no issues thereafter. After their next charged effort ‘KISS Tried To Kill Me’, Pete Spiby gave the audience the opportunity to yell at the PA with a gracious, “Fuck you PA”, leading to a roar of applause.

Without wasting any time, Black Spiders launched further into their set with fast-paced ‘Stick It To The Man’, the funky ‘St. Peter and Wolves’ that set the tone for the night quite nicely.

To close their quickly resurrected set, was the rockingly wild ‘Just Like A Woman’ and Viking inspired grinder ‘Blood Of The Kings’. It was a very energetic and pleasing set from the British lads and for them to be the only openers of the night, it was a very good one too! Well done!

Now, where to begin? Volbeat! A band that has caused a lot of interest on Planet Rock/Metal. A band that blends rock, metal, punk and rockabilly to name a few. A group who opened for the world-renowned heavy metal titans Metallica in their home town. Then, everything started to pick up from touring with the big guns of metal, releasing further records and a live DVD. Despite of cancelling their UK tour due to illness, their relentless touring and capturing many viewers at this year’s Sonisphere Festival didn’t stop their fan base from growing with each passing day and becoming a fan favourite.

As the artwork and props were getting set up for the Danish rock and rollers, the audience became a little closer towards the barricade. It has certainly been a while since a band came over the city and truly become ecstatic. To the TINAS team, it was genuine that tonight will not need any encouragement. To pump the night ahead for the Manchester crowd, Motörhead pounded through the room that exchanged with clapping and singing from everyone. Hidden anxiety hit all involved with the night. Then, what the British call “Apprentice music”, their intro of ‘Dance of the Knights’started to play and everyone wanted to see Volbeat to walk on stage and abolish everything that was in their surroundings.

As soon as the echoing drums from Jon Larson vibrated the room, bassist Anders Kjølholm and lead guitarist Thomas Brendahl walked on, with Michael Poulsen arriving moments after to a deafening noise. They took it in their stride and without any flaws, they marked the start of their set with ‘The Human Instrument’, then followed the grooving ‘Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood’ and the loud sing along track ‘Heaven nor Hell’. Team TINAS were already smiling from ear to ear from how intricate the concert was in just three songs. Next, teasing Manchester with the intro of ‘A Moment Forever’, the crowd got pretty heavy with excitement. Then, Poulsen cheekily exclaimed “Thank you and goodnight…”, raising a proper giggle from the room. The hilarity over they soon kicked in with crowd pleaser ‘Hallelujah Goat’, the fiery ‘The Mirror And The Ripper’, which got a lot of voices singing along with  every lyric, and the Western-inspired ‘Mary Ann’s Place’.

After much appreciation being poured on Volbeat, Poulsen decided to take on a little trip to memory lane by asking the audience what songs would the audience like to hear. Manchester was definitely in for a treat. Soon, snippets of Motörhead‘s ‘Ace Of Spades’, Slayer‘s ‘South Of Heaven’ and Metallica‘s ‘I Disappear’ were played to dropping jaws and raucous applause. It was nothing more than stunning. Then, a crowd member shouted Rammstein. Taken by surprise, Poulsen concocted something from the top his head and made everyone grin like a kid in a toy store. Then, Volbeat delighted us even further with snippets of Black Sabbath‘s ‘Sweet Leaf’, Queen‘s ‘I Want To Break Free’ and Ronnie James Dio‘s classic ‘Holy Diver’. As Poulsen kindly thanked the crowd for enjoying the interlude of songs and for buying their merchandise, he joked “It is money in my pocket.” Poulsen got away with that, being the charmer he is! Team TINAS will let him off, for now.

Now, clearly fans of Johnny Cash, Manchester was able to give what they’ve got to Volbeat by playing another gratifying sing-along ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’, that the room echoed with the words and heavy sounds. With punk groove tracks ‘A New Day’ and ‘Radio Girl’, the room was transformed into a dance floor of lunatics letting it all go. With ‘The Garden’s Tale’, arms were raised, swaying from side to side for the duration. Next up was the heavy ‘Rebel Monster’, which got the place headbanging, thus creating a pit from Hell, giving way to another heavy number ‘Still Counting’, the end of which signalled time for a break.

Blasts of the crowd chanting “We Want More”, clapping and stomping their feet, Manchester was still ravenous for more. Cheers erupted to the sounds of fan favourite, ‘A Warrior’s Call’, which caused bodies to be broken, breaking voices to chanting “FIGHT!” and all hypnotised by Poulsen‘s beautiful vocal work. Going to a slow number, if it is slow enough for most people, dedicated track ‘Fallen’ gave another chance for the crowd to pour their hearts out. This was followed by the pounding ‘River Queen’ and another cover song treat. This time was a The Misfits classic ‘Angelfuck’. The track was perfect, with a hint of that quintessential  Volbeat flavour. Next, was again a fan favourite and the time to get groovy with ’16 Dollars’. Another cover but this time by the famous Dusty Springfield and the instant hit was ‘I Only Want to Be with You’, that spot on, set the mood very well.

Now, it was the sad part of night and it was almost time to end the party. There were many sad faces, but it did not stop Manchester giving the last of their power to Volbeat. So, to kick the night on a high was the crushing ‘Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza’ and feet stomping ‘Boa [JDM]’, which led to brilliantly improvised snippets of Slayer‘s famous tracks ‘Skeletons of Society’ and ‘Raining Blood’ to close out the concert.

To summarise what was experienced, Team TINAS cannot find the words of how incredible Volbeat were. To witness a bunch of charming Danes, charismatic musicians and for a band to take a crowd into the palm in their hands as a collective is something rare to see. Their set for Manchester was nothing short of magnificent. They were loving the interaction with the crowd. Simply put, if ten stars wasn’t the limit, it would have been a twenty. Volbeat were “immaculate” in Manchester.

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