Volbeat live @ Brixton Academy, September 26, 2019

I often forget other people like Danko Jones too. They are one of the few bands that I can say I’ve loved since the first album and even fewer bands that I can say I’ve loved every album, so it’s a real treat to be able to see them rock the shit out of Brixton Academy (for that is how it will always be known), albeit as the opening act, and whilst they may not be “my band” anymore I’m thrilled so many other people have adopted them along with me, singing along to all the songs from the opening I Gotta Rock through First Date (the oldest song in the set tonight) and until the final chords of My Little RnR have rung out.

Sadly they suffer from the classic support band sound (i.e. shit), but that aside it is clear these guys have now outgrown the clubs I’m used to seeing them play the last 20 odd years, with bassist JC loving every note as if it’s still their first tour – bigger venues must surely beckon. (8.5)

Sadly the same cannot be said for the dullsville that is Baroness. Unfortunately, they are a band that is 100% not my cup of tea and I was confused as to the decision behind having them play between Danko and Volbeat, but that said they clearly have a fanbase or someone wouldn’t have thought it was a good idea. Maybe next time I catch them they’ll have some interesting songs and not just come across like a bad Mastodon tribute band attempting to cover Dream Theater. (4)

Finally the main event comes around and the sound of Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand (AKA the Peaky Blinders theme) echoes through the Academy, before the bastard sons of Metallica and Johnny Cash break into Cheapside Sloggers and Doc Holliday, working for the crowd like pros in front of Jon Larsen’s spicy horror-themed drumkit. 

Michael Poulson is affable and engaging, even when apologising for his sore throat, which he needn’t have done as I very much doubt anyone in the venue noticed as he delivered flawless performances of Let It Burn and Pelvis on Fire (although perhaps he shouldn’t have tried so hard as I heard the following night’s show was canceled).

Things get interesting when Danko Jones joins them on stage for their duet of Black Rose, from the Seal the Deal album and the bangers keep coming with the likes of Dead but Rising, Sorry Sack of Bones and Seal the Deal itself.

My only disappoint was the lack of any pyro as it was very much a no-frills show with just an LED screen the length of the drum riser, which there’s nothing wrong with and it’s cool the band believe in the songs enough to feel like they need additional bells and whistles for people to enjoy the show, but some of those songs are big enough and bold enough to almost NEED that blast of flame 10 feet in the air.

I would definitely recommend seeing Volbeat live if you haven’t already and don’t feel afraid to go down the front as the audience generally seemed to want to just enjoy watching (mostly through their phone screens) than pushing and shoving. Which at my age was rather lovely. (8)

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