Feature : Volbeat

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

When Volbeat announced their Fall tour with Five Finger Death Punch the internet sparked to life with excitement and anticipation for what was going to be one of the biggest tours of 2014. The venues were no longer small amphitheaters, they were full blown arenas and the stage show was going to match the size of the space. The tour came through Pennsylvania this past week and stopped at the Santander Arena in Reading, a venue that has been on the rise in popularity this year and seems to have invented themselves in 2014.

Volbeat took the stage promptly at 7:40 to an arena that was packed to the brim, the floor was an ocean of bodies who were mostly wearing Volbeat t-shirts and the seats were full of fans of all ages that were just as excited for the band to take the stage for their hour and a half set. Their stage was dramatically lit in shades of blue as the marched out one by one and began splitting ear drums as they tore into “Doc Holiday” to get the evening started. Volbeat are loud, possibly the loudest around touring right now, but in a way that is incredibly enjoyable to listen to live. Michael Poulsen’s vocals never get drowned out by the instrumentals and are often times so powerful that his words could be heard echoing outside the venue according to fans who got to the show late. Whether or not that is true I can’t say but I will testify to the fact that when they step on stage they turn the intensity up to 11 and keep it there until the end of their set only taking to slow things down when talking to the crowd in between songs.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

Volbeat is a band that considers their fans family, that much is certain by the way that they address them in between songs and all the attention the band gives them during the show. I’ve never heard a more appreciative thank you speech then the one Michael Poulsen gave early in the night when he said that it was their first time in Reading and how thankful they were that Volbeat has caught on here in the states. He didn’t stop smiling the entire show, nor did Rob Caggaino, Anders Kjølholm or Jon Larsen.

Volbeat has had more critical success in the past few months here in the states than the majority of bands in the hard rock/metal genre with multiple songs from their most recent release “Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies” earning lots of radio play time. As a result their fanbase has grown tenfold and people have begun to dig into their full library learning not just songs from that album but all of them back to the start. How do I know this? Well nearly everyone in the Santander Arena was singing along from start to finish during their set, those are real genuine fans right there who took the time to learn every word of every song. Needless to say the results were breathtaking, especially during “Lola Montez” when the band stopped playing in the beginning of the song and let the crowd take over for about 30 seconds before starting back into the song.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

Volbeat’s setlist was very much designed to please all the fans in attendance because it contained a fair amount of material from across their library as well as few tracks new to this tour. Don’t get too excited because the new tracks were only covers but hearing them cover “I Only Want to Be With You” by Dusty Springfield was a received surprise and makes me wonder if the band might sneak that a studio version of that track onto their next album, only time will tell I suppose.

Volbeat Setlist from October 1st – Reading, Pennsylvania

Doc Holliday
Hallelujah Goat
Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
Ring of Fire
Sad Man’s Tongue
Heaven nor Hell / A Warrior’s Call
16 Dollars
Lola Montez
Dead but Rising
I Only Want to Be with You (Dusty Springfield cover)
The Lonesome Rider / Pearl Hart
The Mirror and the Ripper
The Hangman’s Body Count
Fallen
Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
Still Counting

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

It is safe to say that Volbeat will have some new material out soon and that they will have much needed break from the road before that album is released as well. It feels like they haven’t left America for months due to their constant tour schedule that has seen them not only be a part of this tour with Five Finger Death Punch but also headline their own tour and hit just about every major festival along the way. All this hard work and touring has paid off greatly for them and their live show has only improved as a result, Volbeat has never sounded tighter on stage as a unit but it extends far beyond just their performance.

The band looks, acts, and performs with so much happiness and energy that you can truly tell that they love where they are right now. When they walk out on stage they can literally see all the hard work they have put in here in the States because each tour has been in a bigger venue to a bigger crowd. Volbeat will be back, when I can’t say for certain but I will say that it will be bigger, better and louder than ever before. Volbeat are almost at the top in the United States and once they reach it I don’t think anything will be able to knock them off that peak.

Be sure to check out Sight of Sound’s Exclusive photo gallery of the Reading, Pennsylvania show from Matt Christine Photography :

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