Volbeat and The Damned Things Concert Review – 4/6/11 – House of Blues – Los Angeles, CA
VOLLLLLBEEEAAAATTTTT!!!!!!!!!! Volbeat is pretty much the only band I have thought about all week, which says a lot since my entire day revolves around music. Iâ€™ve been championing this band for several years now, ever since I first heard their music on SiriusXM satellite radio. I also saw them live on the Metallica Death Magnetic tour and watched them hold their own on the huge circular stage in the middle of the arena floor. Loved it.
BUTâ€¦ it wasnâ€™t until last summer, when they played a late set at the Key Club in West Hollywood as part of the Sunset Strip Music Festival that I became hooked on this amazing, original, and altogether brilliant Danish band called Volbeat. They brought the pain that night on the Sunset Strip and I have been patiently waiting ever since to see them again. Well, they have a new album titled Beyond Hell/Above Heaven that is in rightful contention for metal record of the year, and the band is currently touring nationwide in support of the effort.
We were fortunate to have guitarist Thomas Bredahl on the show this week and with no small effort on our part. It basically took me harassing the stage crew after the Key Club show to find out who their manager was, finding him in the club and introducing myself, explaining that my mind was blown by what I just saw and that I wanted to do my part in supporting this band, and then waiting for several weeks until I was connected with Volbeatâ€™s amazing publicist, who I then met in person days later when he was in town on business.
A few more months past, and once Volbeat was in the United States touring in support of Beyond Hell/Above Heaven, I sent another few emails and we finally set a date. Our interview with Thomas was short but great, and we hope that we did a good job entertaining everyone. At the very least, we expect to have inspired you to check out this band and go see a show. Itâ€™s worth every second of your time and every penny that you will spend.
Our interview with Thomas Bredahl coincided with the bandâ€™s current west coast leg of their nationwide tour and I saw them perform at the House of Blues, just a stoneâ€™s throw away from the Key Club. I walked into the club early enough to see The Damned Things, a collective of musicians from some very well known bands called Anthrax, Every Time I Die and Fallout Boy. Iâ€™ll be completely honest with everyone here; I had zero faith in The Damned Things when I first heard the rumors that the guys were recording their debut album. It just seemed too farfetched. However, I saw their second live show ever at the Roxy Theatre, grabbed a copy of their debut album, Ironiclast, and came away a fan of The Damned Things. They kick ass! I really should have had faith from the very beginning.
Their frontman is Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die, one of my favorite bands in the world. Heâ€™s an amazing talent. Josh Newton, also from Every Time I Die, is a former guest on this show and is a phenomenal talent as well. Scott Ian from Anthrax is one of the most respected rhythm guitarists in the world, and with good reason. So that really should have been enough. Regardless, Iâ€™m a fan now and am better for it. Last nightâ€™s opening set was even better than the Roxy show. Theyâ€™ve really gelled quite a bit over the last year and they went out and delivered.
After their set, I was blown away that every single member of the band hit the merch table to sign autographs and take pictures. It was so refreshing to see this group of guys who have all played in arenas and festivals alike, still putting in the time to talk to fans and sell their own merchandise. I love that! Much respect to The Damned Things.
Afterwards, I was primed for Volbeatâ€™s headlining set. As expected, the band absolutely destroyed the place. I could write the usual review where I try to put in words how incredibly awesome they were but instead, Iâ€™m going to focus on a few salient points about the evening that matter the most to me. First and foremost, I experienced a quick sense of relief that rapidly evolved into a euphoric adrenaline-spiked rush over the fact that I witnessed firsthand that what Thomas spoke of during our interview was true; Volbeat is actually catching on here in the United States. The House of Blues is nearly twice the size of the Key Club and it was a full house. It wasnâ€™t sold out, but definitely full. There was way more people at this show than the one I saw less than a year ago right down the street. Also, the crowd response was tremendous. I was blown away by the amount of people losing their minds, singing along, dancing, moshing, and just going nuts. There was also a healthy amount of females in the audience, I might add.
Secondly, Volbeat doesnâ€™t hit the stage like a lot of metal bands and act too tough to have a good time. No, these guys are smiling, jumping around, interacting with the audience in between songs and genuinely having a blast throughout. They donâ€™t take themselves too seriously and thatâ€™s a nice change of pace if you ask me. They paid homage to their influences during the set, most notably in walking out to the tune of Motorheadâ€™s â€œBorn To Raise Hellâ€, and later playing the Johnny Cash cover â€œIâ€™m So Lonesome I Could Cryâ€, as well as a really cool, yet facetious medley that contained snippets of â€œAce of Spadesâ€ and Metallicaâ€™s â€œThe Shortest Strawâ€ and â€œI Disappearâ€. Volbeat has punk influences too and they threw in “Angelfuckâ€ by The Misfits for good measure.
Finally, Volbeat played a lengthy set that extended into a terrific encore that highlighted their entire catalog and then some. In one evening, I heard a set that varied from metal, to punk, to country, and to rock. Thatâ€™s what makes Volbeat so great; they take all these sounds that are dear to them and create music that is completely original. There is not one single band in music today that sounds like Volbeat.
In his article accompanying the Thomas Bredahl interview, Andrew wrote â€œthe fact that Volbeat has not conquered the United States is a disgrace.â€ I certainly agree with his sentiment but at least now, after seeing this amazing show at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip, I feel exhilarated knowing the fact that theyâ€™re much closer now than ever before. I can not wait to see them accomplish this and I know weâ€™ll be there every step of the way cheering them on.