London - February 21
Finally after two critically acclaimed albums Denmark's Volbeat were able to make their UK live debut at the Underworld with excellent support from President Evil and Kayser. Although not full the crowd was appreciable for a band who've never been here, and the energy of both band and audience was tangible.
President Evil opened the night with a half-hour set of their raw brand of metal which impressed far more than their debut CD Hell In A Box. Kayser, featuring former Spiritual Beggars singer/bassist Spice, followed and turned in a solid stoner metal set with Spice showing he's an accomplished front-man.
Volbeat's popularity has been steadily increasing over the last three years or so with rigorous European touring and some big festival appearances leaving the UK somewhat jealous that they'd not been able to see the band. That said, this one-off UK show at the Underworld wasn't a sell-out. But the crowd in attendance were incredible. Knowledge of the lyrics to songs from both Volbeat records to date was impressive and their enthusiasm for the band was on par with the best I've witnessed at the Underworld before.
The band themselves were also on fine form and were clearly ecstatic to be playing London for the first time to such a welcoming crowd; Michael Poulsen being his usual comedic self while Thomas Bredahl and Anders Kjølholm could do little more than grin wildly from ear to ear. Their completely unique brand of country-metal is finally finding its way into peoples' consciousness and as the number of new territories they're being booked in testifies, people are buying into their sound.
With only two albums out so far, and seemingly no desire to pad out their set with covers, crowds are treated to a near perfect 'best of' from the two records. And Volbeat aim to keep the adrenaline high with their selections, selecting nothing by the biggest riffs and catchiest choruses. It's not generally possible to sing along to everything Poulsen sings, but most of the crowd seemed to be familiar enough with the songs to give it a good attempt. Some of Poulsen's vocals are remarkably fast, and his delivery so individual it's a challenge to replicate.
The crowd's knowledge of the songs and enthusiasm for the band was encouraging, and is perhaps an indicator that support in the UK is at a good enough level to book more dates next time around, once the third album is completed. Their combination of heaviness and fun surely makes a slot on the Download festival bill a guarantee at some stage, and that should serve as a springboard for an even greater level of UK popularity in the UK.
“ clearly ecstatic ”
Setlist: The Human Instrument / Another Day, Another Way / Radio Girl / Rebel Monster / Mr. & Mrs. Ness / Sad Man's Tongue / Forever / Caroline Leaving / Say Your Number / Soulweeper / Danny & Lucy (11PM) / Still Counting / Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza / I Only Wanna Be With You / The Garden's Tale / Something Else Or... // Always Wu
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