Anvil & Lauren Harris
The Underworld, Camden, London, England
Date: June 11th 2009
Attendance: 250 (approx.)


Fresh from their ‘Anvil Experience’ US tour, tonight’s gig marks the return to Blighty of these iconic Canadian thrashers. Anvil are the perfect embodiment of the spirit of Metal. Sure enough the band has been churning out Thrash Metal anthems long before the term ‘Thrash Metal’ even existed. So to belatedly return to a country which is arguably the birthplace of Metal - besides being a huge source of inspiration for the band - should be like a homecoming of sorts for Anvil. As vocalist/guitarist/founding member/ex-dildo-swagger Lips would say later tonight: “I’ve always loved the bands from this Black Sabbath...Priest...” On arriving at the venue I discovered that opening for Anvil would be 2nd-generation-metalhead and vocalist Lauren Harris. Great bonus, I thought, here’s an opportunity to experience first-hand what she has to offer.




The barefooted Lauren and her band seem to be opening for everyone and everywhere these days but I couldn’t help thinking that there were several bands better suited to open Anvil’s gig. Her music could be described as Pop Rock with a heavy edge. As I'm sure most heterosexual males would agree, she’s quite an attractive person – pity I can’t say that much for her voice.

Lauren Harris (the band) played some numbers off their only album as well as songs like ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ and ‘Waiting For Yesterday’ (great intro) which are set to appear in the band’s sophomore album. ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ was one of the better songs of the night, boasting a great set of riffs gelled together by some stirring melodies. All in all, the band conveyed a professional stage presence and continuously sought to stir up the audience.

Despite the band having a decent repertoire, I had a nagging feeling that the songs’ delivery could have been stronger.

Rating: 58 

Natural Thing
Your Turn
Smoke & Mirrors
Wishing On A Star
Waiting For Yesterday
Jekyll & Hyde
Steal Your Fire
Come On Over





The recent award-winning film/documentary “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” is having a significant role in rejuvenating the band’s career. One only needed to give a cursory glance at tonight’s crowd to see this. In any case, no-one should have been disappointed – tonight’s gig proved that when the push comes to shove, Anvil are still eminently capable of delivering the goods.

The set-list pretty much covered most, if not all, the band’s discography. It included early classics, such as ‘School Love’. From 1983’s “Forged In Fire” album, Anvil played ‘666’ and the sex-charged ‘Jackhammer’. ‘Winged Assassins’ (from 1983’s “Forged In Fire”) and ‘Mad Dog’ (from “Strength Of Steel” of 1987) also found themselves in the set-list.  Amongst the more recent compositions delivered tonight were ‘Fuel For The Fire’ and ‘This Is Thirteen’. The latter, being the title-track from the band’s most recent album, was also the song that started the show.

Lips’ singing was far from perfect but he once more proved to be a great showman, introducing most of the songs with amusing jokes like Paul Stanley, of Kiss, likes to do. “My dildo is in retirement…it was overworked. Can any of you people lend me one….ideally used, so that I can smell it first?” Lips’ aforementioned quip is a reference to his stage reputation in the 1980s of playing guitar solos using a vibrator for a plectrum (well, he did use it to hit the strings...). Evidently Anvil are still the consummate entertainers as much as they are accomplished musicians. Case is point on the latter was ‘White Rhino’, an instrumental number that featured the drumming exploits of Robb Reiner and which had the audience in awe. Also the occasional subject of Lips’ jokes were feelings of self-pity taken in context of the Anvil movie. I really didn’t think Lips needed to do this…Anvil have enough material to be able to stun the audience simply on the basis of their music and performance.

Anvil responded to 3 encores and the audience didn’t seem to want the band to leave. There was an amazing vibe when the audience sang the chorus of ‘Metal On Metal’ after which the band went off with a bang with their rendition of ‘Mothra’ that triggered some pretty rough moshing.

In the audience was producer Chris Tsangarides, who produced albums for Uriah Heep, Anthem, Metallica, Yngwie Malmsteen and several others.  Chris, in fact, produced Anvil’s “This Is Thirteen” as well as the band’s “Forged In Fire” and “Metal On Metal” albums. His presence at the gig fuels speculation on whether he’ll be engineering Anvil’s forthcoming album.

As the audience trailed out of ‘The Underworld’ with their bruises and ruffled hair, the band members reminisced on this gig with friends, family and roadies. Meanwhile, the Anvil entourage prepares to travel northwards to the Download Festival. They’ve been about 30 years on the road but it seems we haven’t seen the last of Anvil yet. And that’s a good thing too.

Rating: 84 

Band website:


Attending: Chris