Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Volbeat rocks Vancouver, again

The RunnerOnline Edition: August 30, 2011 | Print Edition: Volume 4, Issue 1

ISO 800 | f/4.0 | 1/80 | 27mm Jacob Zinn
Lead singer Michael Poulsen projected his baritone vocals during Volbeat’s second Vancouver show this year at the Commodore Ballroom on Thursday night.

Volbeat returned to Vancouver for another floorboard-jarring performance at the Commodore Ballroom on Thursday night.

The tattooed Danish posse brought their brand of heavy metal, punk and rock ‘n’ roll back to Rain City for the second time this year.

Dallas’ own Anchored opened the show to a pessimist’s half-empty ballroom. They played their singles, “Last Night” and the fledgling strip club anthem, “Dirty in Texas,” as well as a self-indulgent cover of Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch.”

Their power chord-driven southern-rock sound was akin to Nickelback, but not as greasy.

The crowd tolerated the warm-up group, but there was no question, they wanted Volbeat. The show wasn’t sold out, but the floor filled up by the time they took the stage.

Volbeat opened with “The Human Instrument” and transitioned into the crowd-heating third-album title track, “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood.”

Most of their tracks came from their newest disc, 2010’s Beyond Hell/Above Heaven. Lead singer Michael Poulsen (clad in a sleeveless Death T-shirt) pushed his pitch-perfect vocal chords to the limit on “Heaven Nor Hell.”

Four songs in, his gelled-back jet-black hair came unglued with sweat.

Lead guitarist Thomas Bredahl shredded through “A Moment Forever” and “Hallelujah Goat” while bassist Anders Kjølholm picked low notes that stood out, even next to the riffs of dual electric guitars.

Volbeat Setlist

The Human Instrument
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
Heaven Nor Hell
A Moment Forever (Intro)
Hallelujah Goat
Radio Girl
The Mirror and the Ripper
Sad Man’s Tongue
Mary Ann’s Place
A New Day
16 Dollars
The Garden’s Tale
River Queen
Still Counting

Encore:

A Warrior’s Call
Fallen
Thanks
I Only Want to Be With You
Boa (JDM)
Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza

Slayer’s Raining Blood

The punk tempo of “Radio Girl” stirred up the energy of the crowd and they carried that through “The Mirror and the Ripper.”

“Let’s play a song for Johnny Cash,” said Poulsen, garnering cheers. In tribute to the Man in Black, the band performed the “Folsom Prison Blues”-inspired “Sad Man’s Tongue,” which started country and soon turned metal.

From punk to metal to country, Volbeat wasn’t afraid to frequently switch genres—they moved into blazing hard rock with “Mary Ann’s Place” and “A New Day.”

Between songs, Poulsen asked for Volbeat requests, but the band teased them with opening riffs of Motörhead, Metallica, Diamond Head and Queen instead.

“You want a Volbeat song?” asked Poulsen as the band burst into the tongue-twisting “16 Dollars.”

Bredahl provided backing vocals on “The Garden’s Tale” and drummer Jon Larsen double-kicked our asses on just about every other song.

“Let me see the horns!” yelled Poulsen as they moved into the headbanging, up-and-down jumping, bass drum-throbbing “River Queen.” They closed the main set with sing-along, “Still Counting,” and left the stage to prepare for the last few songs.

Poulsen started the encore with a swig of Jack Daniels and the fight anthem, “A Warrior’s Call,” followed by the palm-muted “Fallen” and the fan-dedicated “Thanks.”

The band performed their rendition of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You” before going into their own “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza” and finishing with the opening riff of Slayer’s “Raining Blood.”

If they didn’t do it five months ago, Volbeat proved they are one of the best live bands today. They sounded just like their albums, but exhibited more raw energy than could be recorded in a studio.

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