Show Review: Volbeat @ Sound Academy

Feel the Pain Tomorrow

Volbeat at Sound Academy

20130407VolbeatSound Academy

April 7th 2013

How does a non-mainstream band from Denmark sell out a major Toronto venue? Moreover, how does one actually manage to have a good time at the Sound Academy? It seems, my friends, that Volbeat has the secret formula.
Maybe it’s their solid four-album catalogue (five as of April 9th), their heart-felt lyrics that lurk beneath a tough exterior, or their inability to stay within the confines of any genre. Regardless, 2500 people have “ignored God’s day” (as lead singer Michael Poulsen puts it), and trekked to the city’s most loathed venue to check them out.
Impeccably on time for a rock show, the house lights dim not long after Toronto’s own Danko Jones leaves the stage. Following a short Motörhead interlude, a smartly dressed Poulsen emerges, with bassist Anders Kjølholm, drummer Jon Larsen, and the newly added guitarist Rob Caggiano (previously of Anthrax). Like every other night on the tour, they launch into ‘Hallelujah Goat’ from 2008’s Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood.
The problem with a band like Volbeat is that they have so many good songs, and styles, that any concert set list is bound to disappoint a portion of attendees. Tonight’s set in particular, seems to favour 2010’s Beyond Hell/Above Heaven. Luckily, they recognize the age and genre-variant crowd; honouring the country fans, the goth and punk rockers, the rockabilly faction, and the metalheads, even throwing in snippets of Johnny Cash, Slayer, and Judas Priest. Everyone responds accordingly; moshing, throwing the horns, fighting (at length, since even security can’t make their way through a packed Sound Academy) and swing dancing.
The show, which has run on the same set list for months, is a finely tuned machine. Never lagging, the guys pound out as many songs as possible in 90 minutes, stopping only to lay on the typical (but sincere) gratitude. Like a dance, Poulsen continuously floats across the stage, trading places with each band member; never once missing a cue. Since new material tends to be momentum killer, tracks from the upcoming Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies are kept to a minimum. The three that are premiered; ‘Lola Montez’, ‘Dead But Rising’ and ‘The Hangman’s Body Count’ are spread out and overall well received.
Despite a bit of intermittent feedback, the band manages to get a pretty good sound out of the venue (which isn’t known for great audio, go figure). Though this was perhaps accomplished via brute force- pounding double bass pedals, shredding guitars and throbbing bass. None of which, however, managed to drown out Poulsen’s vocals, with its nuances of Johnny Cash, James Hetfield and the Swedish Chef.
The regular set closes with a sing-along of the fan favourite ‘Still Counting’, before a four-song encore. Their rendition of Young the Giant’s ‘My Body’ is received by a few confused faces, even though Volbeat has never shied away from atypical covers (Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Wanna Be With You’ being perhaps the best.) The night ends, like a good one should, in a ‘Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza’.

Set List

  1. Hallelujah Goat
  2. A New Day
  3. Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
  4. Heaven Nor Hell
  5. Sad Man’s Tongue
  6. Lola Montez
  7. The Human Instrument
  8. 16 Dollars
  9. A Warrior’s Call
  10. Mary Ann’s Place
  11. Angelfuck (Misfits cover)
  12. Another Day, Another Way
  13. Dead But Rising
  14. The Hangman’s Body Count
  15. Still Counting


  1. The Mirror and the Ripper
  2. Fallen
  3. My Body (Young the Giant cover)
  4. Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza

About J2

What happens when you're a wordsy music aficionado who works for NXNE, CMW, HPX, Olio Music Festival, The JUNOs and Polaris Music Prize? You spend all of your free time blogging about it... Follow on Twitter if you're so inclined: @HearPlugged

Posted on April 15, 2013, in Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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