Kurt Vile & the Violators
Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 5/12
author AP date 30/10/12 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN
For the first time in years, it is highly probable that, with the exception of our photographer for the night Marika Hyldmar, I am the youngest person in attendance tonight - by some 20 years. The vast majority of the audience seems to comprise middle aged men who have dug out their old denim vest from the attic and taken a free day from the wife and kids in favour of an evening of heavy metal just like in the good ol' days. This is hardly a surprise, considering that Accept's professional career can be traced as far back as 1976, eleven years before my birth. It is a standing ovation to the metal genre's longevity: once you become a metal head, you're a metal head for life, and no major life event is ever going to change that even if your yearly gig count is likely to decrease significantly as the years pass by.
Right off the bat I should say that my familiarity with Accept does not stretch beyond the two most recent albums "Stalingrad" and "Blood of the Nations", and above all I am here because our metal scribe Ellis 'EW' Woolley persistently hypes the band as one of the last standing bastions of heavy metal the way it was meant to be played. His opinion is reassured by the fact that even on a Tuesday night such as this, the 1000-capacity Amager Bio looks more or less sold out, and, as mentioned earlier, age-wise the crowd is of a similar composition as you would find at an AC/DC or Deep Purple concert.
I am pleased to find that despite so much history Accept are not ones to base their performance around fanfare or big production. Granted, the drumkit is ludicrously large, with two extra tom-toms strapped high on either side of Stefan Schwarzmann, but it and the large backdrop featuring the "Stalingrad" album art is the only thing that sticks out on stage apart from the five musicians on it. The emphasis is very much on the music and its heartfelt delivery by these gentlemen. If you came expecting variety or innovation as far as the heavy metal palette goes, you surely went home disappointed, because throughout their 21-song setlist Accept show no intention of departing from their trusted formula. Nearly all of their songs are structurally identical, featuring the obligatory rallying calls in the chorus that can be shouted back even by those of us who don't know the songs by heart, as well as an abundance of guitar solos at every given opportunity (read: every time vocalist Mark Tornillo is not singing).
Like most people my age, I never go the chance to see Accept with their original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, whose last appearances with the band were made in 2005. As such, I have no qualms about Tornillo's singing style (a mixture of Brian Johnson and Rob Halford), which I find to be the perfect complement to heavy metal as epic as this, nor can I assess the extent to which he possibly bastardizes the band's early material with it. Instead it befalls me to judge that newer songs such as "Hung, Drawn and Quartered", "Hellfire", "No Shelter" and "Pandemic" sit comfortably next to classic material such as "Restless and Wild", "Breaker" and the brilliant ordinary set closer "Fast as a Shark", providing even a couple of my personal highlights of the show with the colossal "Stalingrad" and the slower ballad "Shadow Soldiers". There is no doubt in my mind, however, that they pale in comparison to songs like "Losers and Winners", "Metal Heart" and the immortal encore closer "Balls to the Wall" in most people's minds. But the fact that "Teutonic Terror" from 2010's "Blood of the Nations" is considered encore worthy is a testimony to the fact that even today, Accept are still writing songs that belong in the 80's (not that this is a bad thing at all!).
Indeed, from the outset the stage is set for a marvellous performance. But although I couldn't possible put a finger on any technical issues or striking mistakes plaguing the show, I can't help but feel that for Accept, this is simply another day at the office. They're experienced enough to be able to muster up a great show anytime, anywhere simply because they play so god damn enthusiastically - especially lead guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes, who are given their personal moments of glory with one solo song each - and with so much conviction. But alone the fact that rhythm guitarist Herman Frank constricts himself beyond the reach of the spotlight assigned to him for much of the set suggests that this is not an Accept show that will go down in memory as one of their greatest displays (I'd wager such things are reserved for Wacken Open Air, etc.). The band never reaches beyond the stage to create an atmosphere of warmth and intimacy, proceeding through the set professionally, yet devoid of any real emotional connection save for the automatic one that exists between their songs and their fans. Still, if you're interested in NWoBHM movement, Accept are absolutely one of its most potent purveyors, and you'd be foolish to miss one of their shows if you have the chance to see it.
- 01. Hung, Drawn and Quartered
- 02. Hellfire
- 03. Restless and Wild
- 04. Losers and Winners
- 05. Stalingrad
- 06. Breaker
- 07. Bucket Full of Hate
- 08. Monsterman
- 09. Shadow Soldiers
- 10. Guitar Solo by Wolf Hoffmann
- 11. Neon Nights
- 12. Bulletproof
- 13. Aiming High
- 14. Princess of the Dawn (with Bass Solo by Peter Baltes)
- 15. Up to the Limit
- 16. No Shelter
- 17. Pandemic
- 18. Fast as a Shark
- 19. Metal Heart
- 20. Teutonic Terror
- 21. Balls to the Wall