Gig Review

Iced Earth
Birmingham, Academy

16th October 2013

Volbeat                               Iced Earth

Photo Of Iced Earth © Copyright Claire WhelptonTonight is a cold wet night in Birmingham as the heavens open so does the O2 academy’s doors, they welcome the eager crowd inside to a night of metal and psychobilly rock.

First up are Florida metalers Iced Earth, who slowly walk out to some random intro music and blast into dark riffs with haunting vocals of epic proportion. They play a steady stream of songs including, Plagues Of Babylon and Dark Saga Which go down well, the crowd might not have been expecting something this heavy as the support but they’re enjoying it. Iced Earth come across as proper old school metal mixed with a bit of the darker side, like ghost, they use the occasional backing of religious tones but this is just to add layers to the songs, they rock out load with guitar harmonies and bass drops that smash into your ear drums. They are relentless and seem almost never ending as one song flows into the next but towards the end of their 40 minute set is a slower song called Watching Over Me which changes the setting, if only for 5 minutes, but during this time singer Stuart Block Photo Of Iced Earth © Copyright Claire Whelptontakes the crowd on an epic journey with his incredible vocal range, he goes low and deep and then up to bee gees style highs, its incredible to see, and once this comes to an end they wrap up their set with the self-titled Iced Earth. They get this crowd pumped and ready for the main act, with their heavy riffs and rocking solos it’s easy to see that they're heavy, they're metal and they're proud!

Volbeat are the main act and come out slowly as they start playing the intro to Hallelujah Goat which gets the crowd pumped from the start. This merry band of Danish rockers have been about since 2001 and have Photo Of Volbeat © Copyright James Dalyplenty of experience in playing gigs of all sizes and so know how to work the stage and give the audience the best experience. The stage layout is great as the back of the stage is covered in speaker cabs with the drums perched up in the centre, and instead of using all the space and making it so you can’t see the back of the stage they only use half meaning that although it’s a massive venue it gives them more off an intimate feel as they’re all close to the crowd. They continue to make the crowd feel like part of the show as instead off singer/guitarist Micheal Poulsen staying in the centre of the stage during the songs, they have 3 mics all set up the same across the stage so he can go and sing at either side and this means that all the band move around the stage Photo Of Volbeat © Copyright James Dalyduring every break between lyrics so everyone can get a great view of every member, which is something that’s simple and yet I haven’t seen another band do this! They play a massive set of 21 songs that covers all 5 albums along with a few cover songs like You Suffer by Nalpalm Death. The set includes songs such as; Radio Girl, Sad Mans Tongue, Heaven Nor Hell, 16 Dollars, Fallen, Pearl Hart and Still Counting.

The sound of the instruments is clear and crisp and you would believe that you were listening to the recordings instead of having a band play in front of you, this is due to their Photo Of Volbeat © Copyright James Dalymeticulous sound checking before they come on stage, as now we have digital sound mixing it’s easy to do a sound check in the day and leave the levels ready, but Volbeats engineers want to make sure everything is perfect and so do a pretty lengthy check before they came on stage, but this was worth it as it is so crisp and clear. They look like they love what they’re doing as they trounce around the stage with huge smiles on their faces, this is reciprocated when the crowd sings and enjoys themselves back, its been a long time since I’ve seen a band and crowd work so well together but Volbeat have something special which means the crowd lap up everything they say and do. Poulsen takes time to talk to the crowd in-between songs, by saying the normal thanks for coming out but with other little tid bits about Johnny Cash and how he can’t really play much slayer on an acoustic guitar. They wrap up their set with an encore of Photo Of Volbeat © Copyright James DalyDoc Holliday a cover of Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want To Be With You and Pool of Booze, Booze, Booze.

Tonight’s gig has been great, an interesting heavy start with Iced Earth turned into a more rocking intricate end with Volbeat. It’s clear to see why Volbeat are putting out a live tour edition of their latest album at the moment, when they sound this good live it’s hard not to make a recording off it, so go and check them out on one of the remaining dates, or if you can’t get out then go and pick up a copy of Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies tour edition on November 5th!

Iced Earth 3.5/5
Volbeat 4.5/5

Review By James Daly
Photos By James Daly And Claire Whelpton


Michael Poulsen
Jon Larsen
Anders Kjølholm
Rob Caggiano

 Iced Earth

Jon Schaffer
Stu Block
Troy Seele
Luke Appleton
Raphael Saint

 Band Related Links
Volbeat Facebook
Iced Earth Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?