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Volbeat At The Machine Shop 8/15/11 – Concert Review

Danish rock band Volbeat rolled through Flint, Michigan Monday night to play a gig at The Machine Shop. For those of you not familiar with the band — imagine James Hetfield singing ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and early Glenn Danzig’s vocals combined, add in the guitars of Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age, mix in helicopter-like thrash metal rhythms and a splash of rockabilly and you almost have an idea what the band sounds like. 

Going in to the show, I knew very little about Volbeat. Aside from Tony LaBrie singing their praises and the songs ‘Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood’ and ‘Fallen’ — I knew nothing. With that knowledge alone I made sure to clear my schedule for the band’s second gig at The Machine Shop (I still hadn’t stopped hearing about their first).

After hearing so much about how great a band is, I’m usually let down by the actual experience of seeing them perform live. Volbeat’s performance at The Shop was that rare occasion where a much hyped band actually exceeded all expectations. I couldn’t tell you what songs they played aside from the two previously mentioned (they played both), they also teased the crowd with the intro riff to Slayer’s ‘South of Heaven’ and a quick chanting of Motorhead’s chorus to ‘Ace of Spades’. The crowd quickly urged them to return to Volbeat material, not because they sounded bad doing others’ material, but because the crowd wanted to hear them.

One thing I can say about Volbeat’s music is that I’ve never seen a band whose entire catalog is more condusive to fist pumping and chanting “Hey!”. Seriously, the crowd joined in as frontman Michael Poulson prompted that move several times throughout the show — it never seemed forced or needy like it sometimes does with other acts. The crowd participation was at an all-time high as well, higher than I’ve ever seen inside those four walls. Whenever Poulson said, for example, “Put those horns up”…everyone put those f—ing horns up. Volbeat had the crowd in the palm of their hand, it was really something to see.

From the couple of songs I did know, it became clear that Poulson’s live vocals are indistinguishable from those on their recordings. Though there were a few songs that weren’t really my style, they were still executed perfectly. This was easily one of the best shows I’ve witnessed this year.

I still may not know the names of any Volbeat songs, but I guarantee that I’ll know them all by the next time they come to Flint (if we should be so lucky). I suggest that you get familiar with the band as well, they are definitely on their way to becoming as big in our country as they are in theirs.

Final Verdict: Nothing compares to a great rock show with a dynamic vocalist, loud riffed-out guitars, and a sold out Machine Shop…and beer. A-


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