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Udo Dirkschneider Bids Farewell To Accept With Anvil In Tow

The Islington Academy has hosted many names from the world of metal over the years. From upstarts to legends, many a hard rocker has passed through it's doors. Tonight however, the venue was to host a show like never before, as the iconic heavy metal singer Udo Dirkschneider and his band U.D.O. (using the moniker, Dirkschneider, so as not to confuse concert goers expecting to hear their own songs,) performed a set consisting only of Accept songs, the vast catalogue and classic tunes the singer was bidding farewell to after so many years, perhaps never to be sung by his unmistakable voice again. He was in good company too, bringing along Canadian metal stalwarts Anvil for the ride, as well as British heavy metal outfit, I.C.O.N.

I.C.O.N. opened the show and set the tone for the entire night. This quartet from Burnley play nothing short of vintage of heavy metal with the skill to do it justice where so many have failed, making them the perfect openers for such a tour. With a good stage presence and solid musicianship, the group surely won over those who attended the show early and treated them to some real belters such as "Devil's Blacklist" and "Deconverted" during a set which felt all too short for those of us in the audience. Their album, "The Blacklist" is out now.

Everyone has their opinions about Anvil, but until you've seen them live, you should really hold it. This is a band that's always been about having a good time, even when times were really bad and this philosophy really shines through in their live performances. Even the very beginning of their set was a sight to behold, as guitarist and singer Steve "Lips" Kudlow began their show by playing in the midst of the audience, bringing out all the tricks from the technical proficiency he and the band don't get enough credit for to playing the guitar with his mouth, before climbing on stage to join his bandmates as they plunged into "666."

The fun simply does not stop when Anvil are on stage and the London crowd, who many claim are hard to please, were the happiest I've ever seen in the capital, singing along to practically every song, head banging, having a dance and the time of their lives to go with it. What's even better about seeing a crowd enjoy themselves is that it fuels the band in turn, with the smile on Lips' face seemingly impossible to remove. Anthem after anthem followed, with plenty of classics such as "Mothra" and "Winged Assassin" being brought out, as well as some great recent material such as "Swing Thing" from "Juggernaut of Justice" and "Die For a Lie" from their new album, "Anvil is Anvil." As their epic set drew to a close with the always welcome, "Metal On Metal," Anvil reminded us all that they're not losers, or a charity case that people should check out because of a documentary that showed the world their struggle, but that they are nothing short of the embodiment of heavy metal and everything it stands for and that they were right all along to never give up. Add them to your see before you die list and thank me later.

Finally, we come to the reason so many in the north London venue are here; To hear all the classic songs by Accept sung by their original vocalist one last time. Entering the stage to a raucous response, a cloud of smoke and a storm of flashing lights, Udo Dirkschneider marched on to the stage on a mission from rock, delivering every note perfectly from start to finish. He has a great set of musicians with him, including his son Sven on drums, who really did these songs justice and all sounded excellent.

Opening with "Starlight" from the 1981 album, "Breaker," the band never stopped thrilling the audience. Every song sounded like a classic and the recognised classics sounded like gifts from God as they stormed through one after the other, with "London Leatherboys" going down particularly well in the city as one might expect. "Midnight Mover," "Son of a Bitch," "Princess of the Dawn," practically everyone's favourite Accept song was brought out for the show, to the delight of long time fans and the excitement of those perhaps hearing some songs for the first time. The encore was a real treat too, consisting of five songs including, "Metal Heart," "Fast As A Shark," "I'm A Rebel" and of course, "Balls to the Wall," before giving in to the demand of the crowd for one more and finishing with "Burning." A phenomenal set from a talented band with a legendary singer whose appetite for music is clearly still ravenous and a perfect way to end what might be the tour of the year. I cannot recommend this show enough!

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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