Volbeat Live at the Barrowlands

v2This was the first time I would see Volbeat and Hatebreed live. It was also the first time in God knows how long that I’d been at a gig at the Barrowland, so I was certainly looking forward to the show. I had some time to kill after interviewing Hatebreed’s Frank Novinec, so went for a wander. I found myself outside the venue staring at it’s famous neon sign and thought to myself, two bands with stellar reputations for their live shows, playing here – probably one of the best music venues in the country. Yep, it was gonna be a good ‘un.

Hatebreed are a busy bunch of guys. The UK shows supporting Volbeat sit in the midst of a European tour with Napalm Death, so no sooner are they finished in the UK, they head to Paris for more dates with them. And the pace doesn’t let up when that tour wraps, since they then head home to tour the US and Canada with Black Label Society and The Butcher Babies. Intensity is Hatebreed’s calling card. And if you didn’t know that before the show, you v1certainly knew it afterwards! Singer Jamey Jasta lead the band through a 45 minute blast through songs from their 20 year, 6 album back catalogue. No prearranged setlist was used as Jamey called out each song as they went along, which seemed to add to the dynamic nature of their performance. The frontman is well known for working the crowd and he was true to form here, and before long the pit was a vortex of headbanging madness. By the end of their set, the crowd were well and truly warmed up and Hatebreed could have done nothing more to enhance their reputation. I’d go see them again in a heartbeat.

It’s quite hard to know where to start with Volbeat. They’re a metal band, right? Absolutely. But with added Rockabilly, Johnny Cash singalongs and a cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want to Be with You thrown in for good measure. Oh, and they’re loud. Biblically loud! I remember thinking ‘jesus christ, that’s properly loud’ during the v7soundcheck for Jon Larsen’s drums, pre-show. The crowd drawn to watch them play were as diverse in terms of age as their music is in styles. By the time Michael Poulsen and the guys launched into Hallelujah Goat, the venue was packed somewhere close to it’s 2100 capacity.

Their setlist was drawn from all five of their albums, though mainly from Guitar Gangsters & Cadilac Blood, Beyond Hell/Above Heaven and Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies. From the first song until the three song encore of Pool of Booze, Fallen and Still Counting, Volbeat did everything but physically blow the roof off the old venue. And they seemed to be enjoying the event every bit as much as the audience loved watching them. A stand-out for me was Rob Caggiano on guitar. I don’t know what life was like in Anthrax, but he looked like he was having the time of his live with Volbeat. I dunno, I just thick that seeing a musician as talented as Rob performing at the top of his game with an insane grin on his face is fantastic.

So, go buy all their albums and don’t think twice about going to see them live. Ditto, Hatebreed.

Without a doubt, one of my favourite gigs of 2014.