Show Review: Anvil and Tauntaun at the Gothic Theater
It’s hard to say what was more exciting about the Tauntaun/Anvil show at the Gothic last Sunday, January 31st; the fact that the stars of the spellbinding, tragicomic 2008 documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” were actually in town and about to play live for adoring Colorado fans for possibly the first time ever, or the fact that I bought my ticket for $1.50?
Yes, the band that became (semi) famous because of the atrocious mismanagement of their career (by other people) over the last three decades appeared to be a victim of poor management once again. Through no fault of the band’s, they got booked to play a fairly big venue in a major market and just couldn’t fill it. Maybe it had to do with the economy but this jaded hipster has more than a small inkling that there’s a greedy booking agent involved somewhere.
In any case, there were plenty of $1.50 tickets to be had by all, thanks to Live Nation’s largesse/sucky booking decision. They even waived the omnipresent ticketing fees on the discounted tickets, so four tickets actually only cost $6.00. Imagine that!
Once inside, it was clear that a large number of those in attendance had bought their $1.50 tickets ostensibly to see the opening band: Denver’s own Princes of Darkness, Tauntaun. This four-piece, made up of local musicians well-known for their work in other bands, is quickly becoming known as Denver’s best hope for metal. They did not disappoint. The Metalocalypse had commenced.
Tauntaun is: Chris Fogal (The Gamits) on vocals and lead guitar, Dave Barker (Rocky Votolato, Drag The River, Love Me Destroyer, Pinhead Circus) on drums, Ian O’Dougherty (Uphollow, Voices Underwater, Ian Cooke) on guitar and Matty Clark (Sleeper Horse, Grace Like Gravity) on bass.
The red curtain in front of the stage was drawn in between bands, leaving my friends and I, along with the assorted handful of tweens and parents who actually stayed put after Tauntaun left the stage, to wonder what was going on behind it. The set of stairs leading directly from the front of the stage down into the crowd seemed to portend an intimate visit from the band.
Sure enough, as soon as the lights went down and the curtain went up, the band took the stage and Anvil frontman “Lips” Kudlow charged right down the steps and into the frenzied throng of metalheads and pre-pubescents, where he proceeded to shred on his Flying V guitar for the better part of ten minutes. Mass hysteria ensued. Photos were taken. Horns were in the air.
Eventually, Lips returned to the stage to destroy a set made up mostly of a selection of the band’s greatest hits. Original drummer Rob Reiner (his real name) and “the new guy” (he’s only been in the band for 14 years), bass player Glenn Five, seemed more than up to the challenge.
Lips is known for showmanship. His repetoire includes playing his guitar using only a large dildo, and making his guitar “talk” by putting the pickups to his lips and yelling loudly. Those audience members hoping for a demonstration of these talents were not disappointed.
The band closed with “Metal On Metal,” the single from their classic album of the same name. This is the song that influenced an entire generation of bands, from Metallica and Motorhead, to every hair metal band you can think of.