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O2 Academy, Islington, London
Tuesday 19th April 2016

Steve Göldby: Photos by Sean Cameron

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As has been well publicised since it was first announced, this tour was billed as 'A Farewell To Accept', as it was to be the final time that Udo will ever play the classics from his former band, the group that he became famous for and with, however on this showing I would say it is highly unlikely that we have heard him play 'Metal Heart', 'Fast As A Shark, 'Balls To The Wall' 'and 'Restless And Wild' for the last time.

Udo talks frankly and sincerely about his time with Accept in our video interview which we will be publishing next week and has already said that if this tour continues to be a success then it could well get extended in to 2017.

When we saw U.D.O. in the same venue in April last year - his first visit to England for 16 years - it was a Saturday night and it was far from sold out, however tonight was a Tuesday and the place was absolutely packed solid. Make of that what you will.

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Having a great support band helps and tonight there were two, one very well known who obviously helped swell the numbers and one who are relative newcomers but I.C.O.N. made a mockery of that "label" tonight as they stormed the Academy with a set that every Metal fan should check out.

I.C.O.N.'s second album 'The Blacklist', the follow up to 2009s 'New Born Lie' debut, was released in June 2015 and it has seen the band get signed, tour in ten different countries and play as special guests to Breed 77, Anvil, Geoff Tate And Operation: Mindcrime, Dirkschneider and many more.

It's easy to see why when you hear great, meaty tracks like 'Feeding The Negative', 'Devil's Blacklist', 'New Born Lie' and 'Drowning In Their Screams' and it's also easy to see why this band of north-westerners have been tipped for the top. Catch them when you can because you sure as hell will not be disappointed.


There's always a buzz when the mighty Anvil are in town and tonight was absolutely no different. They're rock n' roll's greatest "against all odds" story and the absolute embodiment of all that we stand for in terms of triumph in the face of adversity and that oh so very rock n' roll spirit of never, ever giving in.

We all know the story by now - it's eight years since the release of 'Anvil! The Story Of Anvil', the movie that finally provided the Canadians with their "big break" - and they are regular fixtures on the touring and festival circuit now and always a pleasure to catch live.


You can see the pleasure etched across Lips' face when he plays and this time around the band have been given another new lease of life with the addition of new bass player Chris Robertson, their former rehearsal bassist and roadie, who really does fit into the band well. Lips was praising him to high heaven after the gig, clearly terrifically excited about this latest, and hopefully final, addition to the band.

All in all, this was a tremendous performance that bettered all previous times I have seen them (I think I am closing in on double figures now) and the reception that 'Die For A Lie', a new song from latest album 'Anvil Is Anvil', received made it clear that Anvil retain major support in the UK and are still moving forward with no intention of living off past glories.


Drum solos are usually the time to head to the bar for refills but Robb Reiner's four minute blitz before 'Swing Thing' was nothing less than captivating. It seemed like every single person in the hall was egging Robb on and he responded with a virtuoso masterclass.

If you've never seen Anvil before, catch them later in the year when they return to Blighty for a headline tour because there's a spirit there that you rarely find these days. If there was ever a band that deserved big success then this is it and somehow I think that there are several more chapters to be written yet.

And so to the star attraction, Herr Udo Dirkschneider, who at 64-years-old is still as energetic and powerful as he ever was. He's renamed his band from U.D.O. to Dirkschneider now and as mentioned, this was scheduled to be the final time he would be airing Accept classics, which may or may not have had something to do with the superb attendance tonight.

Dirkschneider's guitar duo of Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen have really gelled since last year and they made these great songs their own, especially Smirnov who displayed a confidence typical of a total master of his craft. He's more than capable of holding the crowd while the boss has a short breather and he's got all the licks and riffs off to a total tee.


Udo's son Sven, who stood in for Saxon while Nigel Glockler was recovering from a brain aneurysm last year is a titanic powerhouse on the drums and bassist Fitty Wienhold is of course the longest standing member of the band, along with Udo himself. It's a formidable outfit who play far bigger venues than the Academy in mainland Europe and it was a pleasure to see them operate up close tonight.

Especially with that setlist, made up purely of Accept numbers, all of them rousing singalong anthems. Now I'm a big fan of U.D.O.'s albums but they are not as well known and never had the same impact that Accept's material did and when you take a look at the setlist below, it's hard to imagine how it can possibly be equalled.


Standout track of the whole night for me was 'Restless And Wild' but special mention, apart from the obvious choices in the encores, goes to 'Midnight Mover', 'Midnight Highway' and 'Screaming For A Love-Bite' as well but it's equally hard to single out any track really as all were played with the passion and ferocity that they demand.

There was no recorded 'Ein Heller und ein Batzen' intro to 'Fast As A Shark', instead Udo introduced it by singing the now well known tune solo (with a lot of help from the audience) before the song started proper and nearly brought the house down. What an absolute and total classic this track is. A classic amongst classics no less.


The Academy buzzed all night long as one great song followed another and the two hour set seemed much shorter than it actually was, which is always a major indicator that you've been at a great, great gig.

Having written this now I am going to be bold and state that no way will this be the last time we ever see Udo play these classic songs because simply put, they are just to good to discard and I am fully expecting to have my balls to the wall once again, sooner rather than later if possible.

Dirkschneider setlist:
Intro: Just A Gigolo (Louis Prima song)
Living For Tonite
Flash Rockin' Man
London Leatherboys
Midnight Mover
Head Over Heels
Neon Nights
Princess Of The Dawn
Restless And Wild
Son Of A Bitch
Up To The Limit
Wrong Is Right
Midnight Highway
Screaming For A Love-Bite
T.V. War
Losers And Winners

Metal Heart
I'm A Rebel
Fast As A Shark
Balls To The Wall

Anvil setlist:
March Of The Crabs
Badass Rock 'n' Roll
Winged Assassins
Mothra (incl. guitar solo)
Swing Thing (incl. drum solo)
Die For A Lie
Metal On Metal

I.C.O.N. setlist:
Feeding The Negative
Devil's Blacklist
Drowning In Their Screams
New Born Lie
Seven Second Warning

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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