Apr 22, 2011

Volbeat - Sonar

By Bob Suehs


April 22, 2011

Baltimore, MD


VOLBEAT's Set List: Human, Guitar Gangsters, Heaven Noor Hell, Moment/Goat, Radio, Mirror & The Ripper, Sad Man's Tongue, Marryans, Angelfuck, Mr. & Mrs. Ness, River Queen, Still Counting, Who They Are, Fallen, Thanks, I Only Wanna Be With You, Pool of Booze/Boa

Volbeat is a Danish band from Copenhagen and when I think of that area the first thing that comes to mind is Lars Ulrich because he's probably the most famous metal artist to come from that part of the world....actually, when I hear the word Danish I think of a sweet pastry, but anyways....

Volbeat's music is an interesting mix of roots rock combined with blues, punk & straight up metal riffs...imagine mixing Social Distortion, Johnny Cash, The Misfits & Metallica all into one clump o' rock and that's how I'd describe the overall sound & mesmerizing charm that is Volbeat!

I won't lie, look closely at the pics of Michael Poulsen & notice a few things about him:

1. The man has one arm of tattoo's dedicated to Elvis freakin' Presley, there's even a picture of The King on his shoulder.

2. Michael's other arm has a huge Social Distortion tattoo/theme & he wore a "Social Distortion" belt this night.

3. Around Michael's neck is a Johnny Cash tattoo which isn't visible until he sports a tank top towards the end of the bands set.

4. Michael wore a large cross on his belt buckle & a "metallica" sleeve covering his wireless system on his guitar strap. Michael's onstage moves & demeanor reminded me ALOT of James Hetfield from Metallica!

5. This is the funny observation...look at the very first picture of Michael in this review...the man was sportin' serious wood & hey, the ladies obviously line up for him after every show!

The show was supposed to feature new rock super-group The Damned Things but due to scheduling issues & by "issues" I mean that the 2 gents from Anthrax had to play the "Big 4" show with Metallica/Megadeth/Slayer the next day so logistically they didn't want to overbook themselves, therefore The Damned Things were removed from the bill & Hourcast played a slightly longer set being the sole openers for the evening!

Hourcast were ok, they didn't impress me, they did an ok job of opening the show, their set had quite a few obviously noticeable samples & their singer commented that they spent the night prior, which happened to be his birthday, in Baltimore.

Again, Hourcast was just an average, slightly forgettable opener & the crowd was clearly there to see what I was...Volbeat!

The club itself was filled in nicely with a mix of older rock fans, some parents who obviously brought their kiddies, some teenagers who looked to be on dates & the bands commented on something that I noticed when looking at the crowd....there were alot o' girls at this show!


Volbeat's stage set up was simple yet covered in the bands logo.

There were "Volbeat" rugs taped all over the stage, the monitors had the "Volbeat" logo on them and the band utilized a style of mic stand that looked very much like side framing from a window & I thought it was a cool & interesting look for a mic stand.

When Volbeat took the stage my first thought was, ok, there's 3 mic stands & only 3 dudes walked out, there were 2 guitarists & one drummer...where was the bass player?

Michael addressed the missing bass position by song #2, apparently Anders was not taking part in this leg of the tour for some reason & the band decided that they would just play with NO bass rather than replace him or cancel the tour....what I noticed immediately was that there was no low end to any of the songs played this night & grant you the band's overall sound did suffer just a little with no bass, but after a few songs my ears started to adjust to the all treble tones the band put out this night & they have a very creative yet simplistic approach to their music...there's some songs that kinda remind me of older metal songs, there's some slight Slayer riff borrowing, there's some obvious Metallica love in their music & the bands set even featured covers by 2 of their obvious influeces..."Angelfuck" by The Misfits as well as the beginning of "South of Heaven" by Slayer!

Michael has an interesting look, he's got a bit o' the rock-a-billy/punk think going on, yet he's got a macho-metal element to his demeanor as well & it's the twin guitar attack that make the band so powerful even if the solo's are limited to simple licks ala Mike Ness from Social Distortion.

There was one part of the set where Michael commented that they were NOT influenced by Motley Crue or Nickelback...the band's influences are Johnny Cash & Elvis Presley & they were proud to admit that they idolized those guys!

There was another break in the set where Michael commented that he liked the Maryland crowd much better than the California crowd where you can't tell the guys from the girls!

The band did 2 encores & one encore featured a cover of the 50's classic "I Only Want To Be With You" which was quite cool if you ask me!

There was a small amount of moshing & crowd surfing throughout this show but for the most part the crowd was having a fun time, drinking a few brews & rockin' out to very classy punk rock/metal/rock n roll riffage!

This was my first time experiencing Volbeat live & I walked away from this show a fan of the band and the reason for that is simple:

Volbeat play simple, honest, real hard rock, they don't bullshit the crowd, they interact with their fans, treat the crowd as if they are their equal, the band moves about the stage all night long, they smile, joke with each other and the crowd alike & you can just tell they are having fun when they play live shows...their live show is like a non-stop party!

It's also interesting to note that the band invited a slew o' fans onstage & the band serenaded the fans with the song "Thank You" which is the bands way of thanking their audience!

If you get the opportunity to see Volbeat live I would highly advise you to check them out...a Volbeat show is a fun, carefree night & the band's music allows you to forget about whatever problems you might have in your life & a Volbeat show is a rock n roll party from start to finish!