at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., April 14, 2016

UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER (Live at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., April 14, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

There’s nothing like an award winning movie to get a career firmly back on track. After years trudging around the doldrums of Toronto playing to ever diminishing crowds with dreams of Rock stardom disappearing by the day as tedious day jobs hit home with a stark reality until a film changed their lives forever.

The Story Of Anvil captured the rise and fall and subsequent rise again of the career of Canadian Metal band Anvil and in doing so symbolised an undying dream, a bond of friendship and dedication to a vision that it warmed the hearts of even the most Metal hating of music fans. Lead guitarist and singer Lips friendship with drummer Robb Reiner was both touching and hilarious as their camaraderie carried them through some thoroughly tough times.

The success of the film reignited their initial early ’80s promise, where their aggressive, riff heavy take on Metal helped to lay down the foundations of Thrash a few years later. Such was the demand to see the band that lucrative tours with AC/DC and Saxon followed as well as their own headlining shows.

8 years on from that film and Anvil show no sign of slowing down. With album number 16, Anvil is Anvil, hot off the press, the Canadian Rockers returned to the UK as special guests on this tour and wasted no time in grabbing their moment with both hands as the instrumental March of the Crabs, complete with main man Lips right out in the middle of the crowd before a truly ferocious 666 forged ahead with the power of a freight train. Originally released on 1981’s Metal on Metal opus, the influence on the likes of Metallica and Slayer was clear to hear.

With the rollicking romp of Bad Ass Rock’n’ Roll visiting every possible cliché in the book but done with some genuine passion it’s hard to resist being drawn in before the titanic riff of Metal on Metal closed the show, Anvil revelled in their return. They lost it once and no one is going to take it back from them this time.

Back in the early ’80s there were very few German bands that managed to break out of their homeland and make it big in the UK or The States. Outside of the Scorpions it’s difficult to think of any. Back in the early 80s however Accept fronted by the formidable Udo Dirkschneider burst onto the scene. Who could forget hearing the crackling intro and the German children’s nursery rhyme of Ein Heller und ein Batzen which preceded Udo’s trademark holler before a whirlwind of riffs and breakneck drumming heralded the birth of Speed Metal with Fast As A Shark. Things would never be the same again.

After breaking into the US charts with Balls To The Wall, Accept consolidated their position as one of Germany’s most potent exports. Dirkschneider however departed in the late ’80s to front his own band UDO, who after 15 albums show no signs of easing up.

In response to constant fan requests to hear certain vintage songs, Dirkschneider decided to play a handful of shows highlighting his Accept catalogue, digging deep into the vaults to play songs that haven’t been aired in years, if at all. Such was the success of those shows and the demand for more, a clutch of shows grew into a sold out tour spanning almost half a year.

With Restless and Wild, Princess of the Dawn and Metal Heart all present and correct, Dirkschneider kept the fan favorites coming thick and fast. Taking the blueprint of the razor sharp riffs of the Scorpions and the hard edge of Judas Priest combined with the bat bothering shriek of Dirkschneider, whose voice could shatter glass at a thousand paces, made for a lethal cocktail of prime time Metal.

Packing almost 25 songs into a marathon set meant there was something for everyone from the commercial edge of Living For Tonite and Midnight Highway to the hyper charged battery of TV Wars, the brooding Neon Nights to the classy Winterdreams, which was as close as Accept got to a ballad all night.

Fast As A Shark sounded as fresh and thrilling as it did all those years ago while the message of defiance in Balls To The Wall resonated as loudly in austerity laden Britain as it did back in the Thatcher years.

Dirkschneider may well be heading back to his UDO day job in a month or two, but for one brief moment it was if the 90s and beyond had never happened as he stepped back in time to deliver a hugely entertaining set of solid gold Accept classics for one last time.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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