VOLBEAT / FANGCLUB - O2 ABC Glasgow - 06.06.18

CHRIS STONES

(PHOTO CREDITS: MB PHOTOS SCOTLAND)

 

Very occasionally an A-list band will set out to play some dates in smaller venues to keep the flame lit with their fans and perhaps blow off the cobwebs prior to bigger shows. One such example is the current mini-tour that sees Volbeat hop across the UK before their appearance at Download 2018.

 

The O2 ABC couldn’t be described as an intimate venue but it certainly allows the audience to see the whites of the bands’ eyes. On the back of a blazing hot day in Glasgow, their are a few red eyes in the west end of the city following some obvious pre-gig hydration. Volbeat are a phenomenon. They draw visiting fans from across the globe and the now common Volbeat emblazoned cut off vests sport country patches from the US, Germany and of course Scotland - can be seen throughout the city centre. These super fans could be found queuing outside the venue from early afternoon - drawing strange glances from the colourful locals going about their business.

 

On arriving at the venue before doors opened, the queue to secure a good spot near the front was stretched around the corner and disappeared over the hill behind the building. Entertained by a brave busker tackling the main act’s material, the crowd are visibly excited and, on speaking to some known faces, this was very much the case. The last time the band were in Scotland, they supported Alter Bridge and were widely regarded as the better of the two acts on the night.

 

The sold out show is kicked off by relative new comers Fangclub. The band haven’t long completed a UK tour and have enjoyed significant supporting slots with legends like Pixies, Muse and Scots Biffy Clyro. The three piece step on stage and fill the space in front of Volbeat’s covered kit and stage set and quickly kick off with tracks that instantly remind the crowd of Nirvana. Some punters spoke of this prior to the show and whilst the similarities are clear both visually and audibly, the material and delivery is on point.

 

Hailing from Dublin (a good stretch from Seattle), Steven King (vocals/guitar), Kevin Keane (bass) and Dara Coleman (drums) are energetic with a raw edge. Stand out tracks ‘Dreamcatcher’ and ‘Bullethead’ from the band’s self-titled debut album are confident, mature songs with some commercial threads woven through the structure. A somewhat surprising cover of ‘Suspicious Minds’ by Elvis (of course) is delivered with a stripped back honesty that engages many of the crowd in the chorus at least. Some comments about the support band not being ‘suited’ to the Volbeat style are silenced in this track given the main act’s love of the King. Whether deliberate or not, a dotted line to the headliners is drawn and the sight of horns raised during the performance is reward enough.

 

Steven King doesn’t waste time with idle chat between songs but there is a special moment when he references his brother’s recovery from illness. This is a nice sentiment and will always work with a Glasgow crowd if authentic - which it is. Fangclub made a bold decision when they chose to close their show with a cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ but it was refreshing proof that the band know their influences and don’t shy away from celebrating the fact. There were nodding heads following the closing notes and whilst the band did not create the maelstrom in the crowd that Volbeat can - they gave an excellent account of themselves and kept the earlier excitement alive.

 

I’m convinced Fangclub are filling a void in the current music scene that many avoid for fear of being dubbed tribute. If bands didn’t tackle older genres, we wouldn’t hear the plethora of ‘80s NWOBHM influenced acts treading the boards these days - and that would be a bad thing surely? I reckon so.

 

You can check out Fangclub at -
https://www.facebook.com/FangclubOfficial/
http://www.fangclubofficial.com/
https://www.instagram.com/fangclubband/

 

You can but the band’s material and merch here -
https://shop.virginemi.com/fangclub/

 

Their setlist was -
All Fall Down
Follow
Dreamcatcher
Knife
Suspicious Minds
Lightning
Bad Words
Bullet Head
Heart Shaped Box
 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

Volbeat continue to grow in global stature with their blend of metal, rockabilly and frankly anything else that works in a song. The sheer class of the band is awe inspiring and this is made all the more special by their humble approach to their fan base. The band didn’t rocket into the upper echelons of metal - instead working consistently and creating a loyal following that has earned them their place amongst rock royalty.

 

Earlier in the day, the band were seen quietly making their way into the venue past the queueing fans, clutching shopping bags with trinkets for loved ones back home in Denmark. Posing for photos in a hundred selfies, frontman Poulsen is the epitome of cool seemingly never too busy to spend some time with his fans.

 

The now established line up of Michael Poulsen (Guitar/Vocals), Jon Larsen (Drums), Rob Caggiano (Guitar) and Kaspar Boye Larsen (Bass) is a lesson in band chemistry with the later addition of Caggiano surely adding an extra ingredient that must have added to that success.

 

Inside the intensely hot venue and, after a seemingly endless wait on the main act taking to the stage, the volume on the house PA lifts and the Motorhead classic track ‘Born to Raise Hell’ signals their arrival. The opening chords of ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’ soon follow to a rapturous reception (excuse the reference to the song). Unusually, the house lights are partially lit for most of the show to allow the band to see their audience. It’s clear the band thrive on interaction and eye contact with the crowd and in particular the constant delivery of crowd surfers across the barrier into the pit. Poulsen acknowledges most of those brave souls when he can - something that any security guard would probably not thank him for.

 

There is an obvious confidence in the band as they meander across the stage throughout the show with Poulsen delivering vocals from any of the three mics. Caggiano is particularly engaging as he seems to inspect those worshipping before him, nodding and smiling before moving to another part of the stage to interact with another section of the crowd. Bassist Larsen, sporting a neatly trimmed moustache, is completely focused and together with his grim faced drummer namesake - provide a rock solid foundation for the thunderous show ahead.

 

The early part of the show is delivered with little chat from Poulsen - instead moving swiftly from track to track. The audience get a quick breather for ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’ where Poulsen plays some fantastic Johnny Cash soaked lines with improvised lyrics about Glasgow weaved in. This goes down particularly well and as fans know - leads to the acoustic intro to the song. It’s not long before the road crew step onstage to whisk the acoustic guitar off stage to allow the song to open up into the uplifting sing along everyone knows so well. It’s notable that a song with a country vibe manages to create a circle pit down the front. Magnificent!

 

The passion in the songs never wains and Poulsen’s dedication of ‘Fallen’ to his late father Jørn is subtle with a touching kiss of his fist where his father’s name is tattooed on his fingers. This depth of emotion makes for a genuine honesty in songs that the band have played for years but what of new track ‘Everlasting’? The track is heavy…..Metallica riff-heavy with a pace that has heads bobbing and the circle pit continue turning. Looking from side to side - I could see seasoned fans analysing and assessing the track but as expected - it hits the mark. Poulsen talks of a new album later in the year with the teasing promise to return to Glasgow in the future. The recent break since Poulsen welcomed his daughter into the world has made the fans hungry for more and this news is warmly welcomed.

 

The range of nationalities in the venue is called out by the band at one point where Poulsen seeks out fellow Danes in the crowd. The remainder of the Glasgow crowd are lost briefly with some Danish interaction that Poulsen acknowledges with a comforting “Don’t worry, I didn’t say anything bad!”. Such a moment could only ever be followed by the anthemic ‘For Evigt’ where diehard English-speaking fans sing the Danish parts fluently. It’s a true mark of the quality of song where a national fanbase will learn lyrics in a foreign language. Awesome.

 

At this point, I found myself hoping inimitable Barney from Napalm Death would appear from back stage to sing Evelyn but alas that’s probably a treat being saved for Download a few days later (it was - I was there). Instead, the encore focuses on some older staples that ensure the night finishes on a heavy note. Closing track ‘Still Counting’ has one of the band’s most endearing lyrics and the slow build to a brutal mix of tempos that ensure crowd surfers and the more static among the crowd have something to enjoy. Who couldn’t laugh at the crowd singing “counting all the assholes in the room” whilst pointing at each other?

 

As the band say their goodbyes and throw their picks, sticks and sweat bands to the appreciative mob, their are nods and smiles between strangers. Volbeat know what the punters want, know how to perform it and consistently deliver a unique brand that begs the question - what next?

 

Global domination? Universal triumph?

 

I think they’ve sealed the deal. So let’s boogie.

 

You can stalk the band at -
https://www.facebook.com/volbeat/
https://www.instagram.com/volbeat/
http://www.volbeat.dk/en/
https://twitter.com/volbeat

 

Their setlist was -
The Devil’s Bleeding Crown
Heaven Nor Hell/ A Warrior’s Call/ I Only Wanna Be With You
Lola Montez
16 Dollars
Sad Man’s Tongue
Lonesome Rider
Seal the Deal
Let it Burn
Slaytan/ Dead But Rising
Fallen
Everlasting
For Evigt
Doc Holliday
Black Rose
Hallelujah Goat
Still Counting


PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

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