Judging by the excited crowd that wait for the doors to open, it’s obvious that there are some die-hards here this evening. These are the type of fans that have travelled from the likes of Germany, Poland and further afield to catch the first few dates of the tour and as the venue doors finally open, the surge of excited commotion and mild hysteria peaks as they pile through the Olympia’s doors.
First to hit the stage tonight are Dublin grunge revival three-piece, Fangclub. Offering an all you can eat sonic buffet of 90’s inspired riffs, the band try their best to bring their A-game to the stage before, (what can only be considered) a hard rock/metal audience.
Bearing that in mind, Fangclub proceeds to drop a selection of catchy, melody-driven cuts from their recently released debut, to which the crowd respond with polite approval. Imagine a hybrid mix of Nirvana and The Pixies, peppered with elements of Kerbdog and Ash here and there. Fangclub are by no means reinventing the wheel, but do not fail to hold tonight’s audience for the duration of their 45-minute set. 2.5/5
On to the main attraction, and when vocalist Michael Poulson appears from the wings of the stage with guitarist Rob Caggiano and Co, the venue erupts with joy. Before the first note is struck, the energy in the air suggests that we are in for one hell of a night.
Opening with ‘The Devils Bleeding Crown‘ the stage bursts into a frenzy of pounding drums, courtesy of Jon Larson, who commands his custom-skull kit upon a modestly-sized drum riser, considering the size of his Neil Pert inspired rig.
Tonight’s sound is crisp and warm, with all members in fighting form. New bassist, Kaspar Boye Larsen fits like a glove, as he manoeuvres around the deep stage with a fine balance of swagger and intensity.
A medley of ‘Heaven nor Hell‘ / ‘A Warrior’s Call‘ and ‘I Only Want to Be with You‘ sparkle and tangle with the capacity of the venue, as if it were the closing moments of an encore, but this is merely a starter for what’s to come.
Having formally been the lead guitarist for NY thrash legends, Anthrax, Rob Caggiano seems to be very much at home with his Danish friends, as he smiles like a Cheshire cat all the while shredding some truly epic solos with the slightest of ease.
The very epicentre of Volbeat thrives from the beating heart of Poulson, who commands the stage with the swagger of his idols, (Cash/Presley) as he rattles off a near-perfect performance throughout the night.
With a setlist that is literally crammed with absolute bangers, the Olympia marinates in the rich sonic sauces of ‘Lola Montez‘, ‘16 Dollars‘ and ‘Sad Man’s Tongue‘, much to the delight of the ecstatic punters, who sing every last word right back at a now smiling Poulson.
It’s damn near impossible to not feel a certain amount of joy when listening to Volbeat and when experienced live, it’s way more intense. ‘Seal The Deal‘ comes thick and fast, as Caggiano and Poulson, hammer out the riffs like the inner workings of a Tommy-gun.
We are treated to a mid-set surprise, in the form of Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway who lays down a perfectly balanced cacophony of guttural vocals, which flows perfectly alongside Poulson’s higher register. It’s fucking glorious and almost cracks the historical structure of the Olympia itself.
‘Doc Holiday’, ‘The Gates of Babylon‘, ‘The Everlasting‘ and a stunning vocal performance during ‘For Evigt‘, bring things to a finish, but not before a swift encore, that is loaded with upper-cuts in the form of ‘Black Rose‘, ‘Hallelujah Goat’ and the infectious ‘Still Counting’.
As the house lights finally expose the venue in all its glory, Volbeat takes a moment to soak up the deafening roars of approval and bask in their moment of well-deserved glory, before they disappear into the darkness of the wings.
Having spoken to Poulson prior to tonight’s show, he had informed me that he was blown away by the venue and in particular the fact that one Jonny Cash had graced this very stage. Had the “Man in Black‘ been present tonight, I’m sure that he would have given his seal of approval.
If Volbeat are not headlining the likes of Bloodstock Open Air or even Download Festival in the next four to five years, I’ll eat Caggiano’s hat! 4.5/5
Volbeat – Dublin, Ireland 27/05/18 gallery.
Photo – Down The Barrel Photography courtesy of MCD Productions © 2018