Volbeat-Rockford Speedway, Rockford,IL- 5/27/12
by John Parks
all images by Michelle Parks
Volbeat headlined an all day festival here in our backyard of Rockford, Illinois and since they are one of the best bands currently going I would be a fool to miss them here of all places. They are spending the summer playing gigs like this as well as getting set to go out on a headline tour with Iced Earth and Hell Yeah opening. It was about 100 degrees out and cooling down a bit when Volbeat took the stage promptly around 8pm . The audience was totally exhausted, dehydrated and/or drunk but from the first chords of “A Warrior’s Call” it was clear none of that shit mattered.
The band’s audience is basically a part of the group itself and just like the previous show we attended on Gigantour, neither Volbeat nor their crowd disappointed. Michael Poulson sang while dripping sweat from the third song in “Another Day, Another Way” and just kicked total and complete ass through the entire show. The band seemed to have as much energy in the 19th song “Still Counting” as they did the moment they stepped onstage. Drummer Jon Larsen and ex-Mercyful Fate guitarist Hank Shermann smiled and confidently owned the stage, it’s remarkable to watch Larsen actually play the material identical to what you hear on the album while it’s equally amazing to hear how much melody and fills are added with Hank on board. Longtime bassist Anders Kjolholm and Poulson moved around the stage constantly engaging the crowd, banging their heads to the heavier material like “Hallelujah Goat” and “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza” and soaking up the obvious moments of crowd favorites like “Fallen”, “16 Dollars” or “Sad Man’s Tongue”.
It’s tough to find a definitive moment from a literally perfect gig but it could’ve been when the band pulled a little kid named Noah up onstage to lead a “Volbeat” chant towards the end of the set. VOLBEAT is the answer. The answer to “What band should I go see next time someone comes to town?” The answer to “What’s the best live act currently touring?” Actually, they are the answer to the vast majority of what is wrong with rock music. As, I said, the guys played 19 friggin songs so about the only one I DIDN’T hear but wanted to was “Maybelline I Hofteholder”. It was, as expected, the highlight of my weekend and I went home as happy as thousands of my neighbors did, just a little less hung over since I didn’t show up until Volbeat went on. As good as these guys are opening for bands like Megadeth or Metallica they are twice as good headlining a full set, see for yourself.