Anvil at the Magic Bag in Ferndale, MI

Anvil @ The Magic Bag in Ferndale, MI

Pioneering heavy metal legends Anvil bring their onslaught of headbanging and fist-pumping music for a night of fun in Detroit Rock City.

Technically this gig is not in Detroit, but the Magic Bag in Ferndale is just a few miles from the Motor City, so claiming to be in Detroit Rock City is just fine. Tonight, the legendary Canadian metal band Anvil is here to unfurl their heavy metal flag and wave that son of a bitch until the threads bleed. 

The crowd is a mix of old and new fans. Some of the fans present surely raged with fists in the air to the pounding metal unleashed by Anvil on their seminal album Metal on Metal. This album influenced thrash icons Metallica, Anthrax, and others. While the next generation of fans probably got their introduction to Anvil through the awesome rock documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil. Regardless of how they have arrived, fans are geeked for a night of classic metal music.

Opening up tonight’s festivities is Detroit’s Theandric. Closing your eyes and listening, it would be easy to imagine that you’d stumbled upon Iron Maiden jamming at the Magic Bag. Theandric delivers soaring classic metal riffs featuring a fortress of powerful rhythm and searing melodic guitar solos. Vocalist and bassist Paul Tiseo combines the stellar tenor of Dickinson with the warrior rhythm of Harris. The rhythmic foundation is solidified with the deft work on the drums from Lawrence Nagel. Guitarists Bill Bogue and Aaron Wienczak provide dazzling and artful solos. Put Theandric on your must-see and hear lists as this band is fantastic.

Keeping this night of heavy metal running hard is Midnite Hellion from New Jersey. They are out supporting their new album full of headbanging anthems called Kingdom Immortal. Midnite Hellion wasted little time with small talk and let the music speak. With a metal attack that traverses the borders of traditional metal and thrash, Midnite Hellion takes the best of Overkill and Accept to forge their own metal amalgam. Charles Koegler grimaces while playing malicious riffs and searing solos. Drummer Drew Rizzo and bassist Rich Kublik hammer down the low-end and keep the riffing tight. Rich’s gritty vocals call to mind early Hetfield or Sacred Reich’s Phil Rind and give Midnite Hellion a classic denim and leather impact.

The metal is relentless tonight as White Wizzard invokes the power and guitar sorcery of Grim Reaper with a gleaming modern metal edge. White Wizzard put on a phenomenal show despite the absence of founding bassist Jon Leon. Taking up the flaming sword of metal music and thrusting it high into the sky, White Wizzard runs through their catalog of compelling metal with highlights such as the opener “Over The Top” along with “Iron Goddess of Vengeance.” Guitarist Will Wallner nails each fiery solo with ease using a nifty effect to suggest harmonized guitars. Devin Lebsack delivers concussive drums to drive each song home. Many in attendance stood in mute adoration of the blistering vocals of Mikey Dean. This dude has a stellar set of pipes and he brings the metal.

Fans make for the front of the stage as the house lights signal the arrival of Anvil. Opening with the instrumental “March of the Crabs” off the Metal on Metal album, Steve (Lips) Kudlow grins and disappears from the stage leaving bassist Chris Robertson and founding drummer extraordinaire Robb Reiner to roll out the thunder. Lips reappears in the crowd as he slays a solo on his flying V. The fans eat it up and grab a souvenir photo with their phones. So begins nearly two hours of metal fun and madness.

Anvil takes the audience on a ride through their catalog with such classics as “666,” “Badass Rock N Roll,” and “Winged Assassins.” Each song roars with life. A look around the crowd shows headbanging and fist-pumping as many in the crowd sing along with Lips. Robb Reiner is in fine form as he keeps the pedal to the metal behind the drum throne hammering double bass drums, rolling thunder on the toms, and snapping the snare. Adding to the low end rumble is the punchy bass of Chris Robertson who looks upon the crowd with great cheer. 

Between songs, Lips regales the audience with short stories. The most entertaining is the recounting of Anvil’s tour with Motorhead where Lips partied with the late great Lemmie. Lips mentioned to Lemmie how great it was to be able to play with Motorhead and Lemmie exclaimed that someday Lips would be in a similar situation. This forecast would come true when the guys in Metallica met Anvil and shared how Anvil’s music had been an influence on them. 

A steely dan got busy during the guitar solo of the epic song “Mothra.” Lips used the vibrator as a slide and as a sing-along device as he changed speeds on the vibrator to produce a wah-wah sound which the audience was happy to mimic in unison. The smiles and laughter danced across the audience’s faces.

Anvil broke out a couple ofnew tunes “Take A Lesson” and “Ghost Shadow” from their new album called Impact Is Imminent. The crowd ate up these tunes which fit well within the Anvil library of metal. Anvil caps off this fun night of music with the anthem “Metal on Metal.” Once again, Anvil brings the thunder and leaves us with happy hearts and ringing ears.

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About Chuck Marshall 33 Articles
Chuck loves music. If it is powerful and played with conviction, that is even better. In a past life, Chuck enjoyed thrashing on the stage in a Michigan metal band (Battalion). Now he prefers to use his imagery and words to capture the essence of a concert or an album. See and feel the music with Chuck; you’ll be glad you did.