Volbeat makes it rain in Pittsburgh

You could travel the world over, search the vastness of the universe for a million lifetimes and still never find another band anywhere quite like Danish metal masters Volbeat. They have a one of a kind sound that is so singularly unique that it will help to redefine the genre of heavy metal as a whole for generations yet to come. It is a hybrid fusion that takes all the best elements of old school veterans like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley and molds it with the grooves and heaviness of metal legends like Metallica and Slayer into a monstrosity unlike anything ever heard before in the world of modern music of any genre. They are currently out on the road with Trivium and Digital Summer as openers, supporting their fifth studio album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies. Judging from the line of hardcore fans standing outside in the pouring rain waiting to get in, with just five minutes before the scheduled start time of the show it was obvious the dedicated fans of Pittsburgh wouldn’t have missed this one for the world and were already rabid for the show to begin. They wouldn’t have to wait very long. Within moments of entering Stage AE, Digital Summer hit the stage like a fucking freight train. The madness had begun. They poured their hearts and souls into a crushing performance that would force every band to follow them to be at the very top of their game. They tossed free Headbanger Whiskey shirts (The band’s own brand) into the crowd to further win them over, not that they needed to by any means. [lg_slideshow folder=\”2014/Volbeat North American Tour 2014/Digital Summer/\”] Lead singer Kyle Winterstein was in rare form. He prowled every inch of the stage, often jumping off the monitors and drum riser while his guitarist brother Ian and bassist Anthony Hernandez hammered out brutally heavy riffs combined with massive amounts of melodic bottom end. Let’s not forget the amazing job done by their 13 year old drummer Austin Rios. Yes, you read that correctly. Their drummer is only 13 years old. They recruited him after seeing him on a Youtube video and frontman Winterstein was very proud of him and made sure everyone knew it. Tracks like “Suffocate,” closer “Just Run” and “Forget You” all garnered a massive audience response with “Forget You” causing a rousing sing along of the “Fuck You, Forget You” chorus. Their pummeling six song set ended in plumes of smoke with Winterstein telling the crowd, “We love to make new friends, so please come see us at our merch booth. Even if you don’t wanna buy anything please stop by.” The majority of people did just that and the night was off to one hell of a good start. The anticipation for Trivium could be felt long before the band ever took the stage in the sheer volume of the fans chanting their name, so loudly that it actually exceeded the level of the house music at times. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any louder, the lights dimmed and the place went berzerk. Out of the darkness, Matt Heafy’s voice screams to life, “Pittsburgh let me fucking hear you!” [lg_slideshow folder=\”2014/Volbeat North American Tour 2014/Trivium/\”] Not content with the response, he continued “You can do better than that!,” signaling that the circus had begun and he alone would be serving as ringmaster. Heafy’s command of the crowd knows no bounds and all participants do exactly as instructed. The energy intensifies significantly as he demanded that the crowd jump for “Black,” nearly inciting a riot as the circle pits ensued and the crowd surfers began to rain down on security who could barely keep up with the frantic pace and swell of the capacity crowd. There was one final pause from Heafy before closer “In Waves” for him to ask, “Is everyone still having a good time? You’re not fucking tired are you?,” which garnered the loudest response of the night so far. Many bands would have a hell of a time trying to follow the stellar performances of Digital Summer and Trivium or be unable all together, but Danish degenerates Volbeat are world renowned for their performances of the highest caliber so this would be just another day at the office for the Danish heavyweights, doing what they do best- kicking ass and taking names, converting the huddled masses one metalhead at a time. The time had come. The stage lights dimmed as Motorhead’s “Born To Raise Hell” blasted through the speakers. It is cut off by the opening chords of “Doc Holliday.” The insanity had begun. They continue onward, ripping into earthquake inducing renditions of “Radio Girl” and “Hallelujah Goat,” before the debonaire Michael Poulsen stopped to address the now crazed onlookers, “This is our first time in Pittsburgh ladies, so please be gentle as we are four virgins.” His thick, rolling accent only adds to his charm and is just one of the reasons why he is one of the most charismatic frontmen in the business. By this point, security is being hit with waves of crowd surfers bigger than a tsunami and the circle pits have divided the crowd into the insane and the bat shit crazy. The entire band were bouncing all over the stage, amps and barricades like maniac five year olds on a sugar high and the incomparable Poulsen, who is already covered in sweat, singing into all three stage mics, so everyone got a front row seat, even the little boy on his dad’s shoulders flashing his devil horns and hanging on his every word, insuring a whole new generation of devoted followers. [lg_slideshow folder=\”2014/Volbeat North American Tour 2014/Volbeat /\”] “Sad Man’s Tongue” was prefaced by Poulsen saying, “I grew up listening to Johnny Cash…Later on I met Slayer…Let’s see what you got Pittsburgh,” which triggered a few bars of “Ring Of Fire,” the crowd singing the chorus louder than Poulsen himself. It garnered the biggest reaction of the entire evening so far, it’s giant cowboy and graveyard scene on the amps serving as the perfect backdrop. At its epic conclusion Poulsen jokingly added, “We stole everything from Cash. What can I say, I’m a good theif.” The show rumbled on tracks like “Heaven Nor Hell,” “16 Dollars,” “Fallen” and “Maybellene I Hofteholder,” all receiving massive crowd responses and nearly bringing the house down and they weren’t done yet. The lights dimmed again as the chants of “One more song” began. The eager fans wouldn’t have to wait long as the backdrop changed to the cover of their newest album as they mercilessly ripped into the encores of “Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza,” “The Hangman’s Body Count” and “A Warriors Call,” the feverish gang vocals of “Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight” for the latter, echoing into oblivion. One final note- Special credit must be given to the loyal fans of Pittsburgh, especially the naked guy, for still moshing and rocking out despite the indoor rain storm created by the dripping condensation coming off the entire AC system due to the extreme heat and humidity. Short of it actually “Reigning Blood” the night couldn’t have been any more metal. -Eric Hunker