Volbeat bring Heaven and Hell to Denver

While I was out running around SE Asia, my partner in ‘Mile High Metal crime’, Brian H, attended the Volbeat show at The Gothic Theatre.  What follows is Brian’s review of what sounds like an amazing performance from the ‘refuse to be catagorized’ Danish band.

I will admit that I am a fairly recent convert to Volbeat, but three songs into their current album Above Heaven, Beyond Hell and I was hooked.  I have been listening to all four albums pretty much non-stop since then and honestly I was not sure what to expect crowd wise. Would the Gothic Theater be packed or would it be half full? The last time Volbeat played in Denver it was at the Marquis Theater, which is very small. I arrived around 7:45 pm and there was no one outside, which worried me a bit. I headed to the bar upstairs, grabbed a beer and realized the place was packed and that everyone was just watching The Damned Things. This is what I was hoping for.

If you have never heard Volbeat before, they probably can best be described as a mix of Social Distortion with Metallica with a little Danzig, Elvis and Johnny Cash mixed in. Listening to this band it is hard to believe that rockabilly and thrash metal can be mixed together, but it works unbelievably well. If these guys caught a break in the US, I flat out believe they could be one of the biggest bands in the world. They are legit (and huge in Europe) and can flat out  grab every segment of the rock/metal audience.

In between the sets I headed down to the floor. The Gothic is one of the best places to see a show in Denver. Unlike some of the other theaters in the area, it has an open floor which makes for a great pit area. I picked my normal starting spot towards the back edge of where the pit would be where you get the best sound if you don’t mind getting slammed into every now and then.  The crowd was very interesting mix with everything from young kids to 50+ year olds with their teenage kids in tow.

Volbeat hit the stage with The Human Instrument from Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil and then moved into Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood. Two songs in and I knew this show was going to live up to my inflated expectations. Next up was Heaven Nor Hell from the current album…one of the catchiest songs you will ever hear! This song is sung a little higher than some of the other songs and although it sounded great I did notice that Michael Poulsen’s voice sounded just a little strained, which is not unusual for the higher altitudes of Colorado. A couple of songs later he mentioned that he was battling a sore throat. It was honestly pretty hard to tell and in the extended higher range part of the song We, he knocked it out with no problem at all.

As much as I was looking forward to all the songs from the current album, the highlight of the night had to be Sad Man’s Tongue from the Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil album. Michael introduced the song by talking about how every American rock station plays way too much Nickelback or bands that sounds like Nickelback. (I could not agree more) This was the one song that everyone seemed to know most of the words to and the crowd hit their mark on the all the breaks points.

I had noticed on Setlist.fm that in a few of the sets Volbeat was covering The Misfits’ Angelfuck. Denver got it mid-show. Michael was trying to get the crowd to split down the middle and do the Braveheart collision that Lamb of God had introduced so many years back. The non-metal people on the floor were definitely a little unsure as to what they were supposed to do, but it was a great cover which obviously fits perfectly into what Volbeat is all about.

Once Who They Are started I knew it was time to head into the pit for a little action and then get a little closer to the stage. The band asked a few people to join them on stage for the song Thank You and then proceeded into their cover of I Only Want To Be With You. They then played Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza and finished off the night with a little bit of Metallica’s Eye of the Beholder and the intro to Slayer’s Raining Blood.

Now that is how you finish a show.

Set List:
The Human Instrument
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
Heaven nor Hell
A Moment Forever / Hallelujah Goat
Radio Girl
The Mirror and the Ripper
Sad Man’s Tongue
Mary Ann’s Place
Angelfuck (Misfit’s Cover)
Mr. & Mrs. Ness
We
Still Counting
Who They Are
Fallen
Thanks Play (With Fans on Stage)
I Only Want to Be with You (Dusty Springfield cover)
Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
Medley: Eye of the Beholder (Metallica) / Raining Blood (Slayer)