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The One and Only - ANVIL

Anvil perform live at The Edge Lounge in Ajax. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

By: Jay Broderick

Ajax, Ontario - In our lifetimes, we will come across many bands, and many songs. Many of them will burn their mark in our hearts, and will be held in high regard. But there are only a couple that will be truly worthy of this stature in the annals of rock and roll. Their legacies will live on in infamy... forever!! On May 2, 2024, one of these truly significant, historical bands rolled into Ajax, Ontario's The Edge Lounge. Ladies and Gentlemen... The One and Only, ANVIL!!!

In September of 2022, I had the pleasure to cover Canada's legendary band Anvil at this same venue (check out that story here), so my excitement to learn of the band's return in 2024 was of little surprise. As soon as I saw the news, I reached out to the promoter Black Moon Entertainment's Shamus Black requesting credentials to cover this show. With the band on the road promoting their most recent album One and Only, I didn't want to miss this one. Time is a funny thing, so it's important to always catch a legend when they are near.

With 2 other acts on the bill, I arrived at The Edge early. I love to chill before a show, so I'm one of these guys that always gets to a venue with plenty of time to spare. When I arrived on this night, I met up with Shamus and introduced myself. This was our first official meeting, although I have seen him around this venue on other occasions. And as luck would have it, Shamus was chilling with Anvil front man Steve "Lips" Kudlow, and we had a formal introduction. Call me a geek, but this was a very cool experience. I mean, it was Lips!!!!


Shawn Stoneman of Skeleton Lake. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

If you are from the GTA, you will know that the Town of Ajax is in a region of Ontario called Durham Region. Just east of Ajax is the City of Oshawa, and this is the home of tonight's opening band. The stoner sludge rockers Skeleton Lake got the show off the ground. As the lights went down, the kick ass 3-piece (my favourite band setup) took position with guitarist Shawn Stoneman in in his typical skeleton makeup. A long trench coat style jacket with hood finished off the costume, and the band got off the ground with the Black Sabbath introduction to "War Pigs", and we were off!

Skeleton Lake has an amazing driving beat, and got some amazing crowd participation with a sing-along to their rendition of the Glenn Campbell track "Rhinestone Cowboy". I can honestly say I have never heard anything quite like this. It was very different, and super cool! By the presence in the crowd at this early juncture, these guys have garnered some followers, and kick started the night into overdrive!


Alexandra Augustine performs live in Ajax. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Next up on the docket was another Oshawa band called My Own Addiction. This 4-piece consisting of lead vocalist Alexandra Augustine, guitarist Andrew Losier, bassist Tim Reesor, and Todd Burrows on drums have been featured on local radio station 94.9 The Rock's Generation Next. Having only formed in 2022, the band recorded their first full length in 2023, and have quickly started to turn some heads.

A number of the fans in the crowd tonight were speaking of the band, saying things like "Have you seen these guys? They're great!". Once I saw the band take their positions on the floor, I knew there was something to this. The band's singer Alexandra Augustine was very reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. Decked in pink jacket and pink platform boots, she had the look of a rock star, as did the rest of the band. They all had a very professional air about them. The band starts their set with the very rockin' "Dr's Orders". Full of energy, with Augustine kicking up her boots, and bouncing around, the band is clearly in their element here.

My Own Addiction's 35 minute set was really great. Alexandra Augustine did a fantastic job getting the crowd "Fired Up" during the whole set, and not just during that track from the band. She engaged the crowd, had fans dancing with her, and even got them joining in with vocals during the sex-filled last track "I Want You". The band is definitely making some headway.


Anvil perform live at The Edge Lounge in Ajax. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

What can you possibly say differently about a band that has made their mark on the heavy metal world for 46 years? These guys are literal legends, and the greatest thing is that they are Toronto's own! A band that gained massive following in the 1980s... from right here!

When the band gets their set going, it's an all out jam. Front man Steve "Lips" Kudlow makes his way out into the crowd. He never shies away from getting up close and personal. I don't know about you, but I always get a little giddy when I'm up close and personal with my musical heroes. Of course they're just people, but this is "Lips"! I mean, come on!!

When we get our first break in the action, Kudlow bellows out "HELLO AJAX!! We've been here 3 times, and this is the best crowd yet!" I have to admit, there are more folks in attendance in this very tight nit club than when I saw the band in 2022. It just adds another element when there are bodies around, but I definitely thing there are still a lot more people who should be here. Ultimately, they are the ones missing out.

Robb Reiner performs live in Ajax, ON. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

For the band's track "Legal at Last", about the legalizing of marijuana in Canada, Lips takes a moment to chat about the country's Prime Minister saying "The only good thing that Trudeau did!!" and immediately, the crowd bursts into the increasingly more popular chant "Fuck Trudeau!". Clearly, the band is enamored with that bit of work JT "got right". The band's GOAT drummer Robb Reiner smiles as a joint hangs from his lips. Chris Robertson is his silly self with those fantastic facial expressions, and at the outset of the band's song "Winged Assassin", Robertson plucks out the bass intro and then heads into the crowd chanting "Hey! Hey!". It's simply fun to watch. Even in their late 60s, the band also sounds as good as ever. Kudlow's voice sounds like he's 45 years younger, and the fingering of his electric 6 string is superb. He's still got some pipes boy, holding notes during "Free as the Wind".

Now, not all was rosy. Nothing the band did in the least. You see, this night was game 6 of the Toronto Maple Leafs' first round series against the Boston Bruins. With the Leafs down 3-2 in the series, a win is sending it back to Boston for game 7. I think very unfortunately, the game did seem to draw some of the attention away from the band, as the crowd tried to double task. At one point, Lips tells the crowd that the band is just warming up and asks if they're warmed up yet. There is minimal reaction to which the singer replies "You guys sound like you're ready to get your pillows and go to sleep. COME ON AJAX!!" To this, the crowd actually wakes up from their trance and more raucous applause. They continue to get more engaged during "Forged in Fire" as they vocalise the "oohs" and "ahhs" during the guitar solo, but their attention wanes as the Leafs make it 2-0. They give a thunderous roar at the goal, and I immediately think "this is the Toronto Maple Leafs people! They're going to break your hearts! WHY do you continue to give them your blood? I mean THIS IS FUCKING ANVIL ON STAGE!!"

Steve Kudlow performs live at The Edge Lounge in Ajax. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

A common occurrence at an Anvil concert is the proverbial vibrator guitar solo. This show was no exception. During the band's classic hit "Mothra", Lips pulls out his tool, and away he goes! This always brings a roar from the crowd, but it's not just a circus act. Kudlow actually shreds with this in his arsenal, and it's such a great moment at every Anvil concert. And what else? The famed solo of arguably one of the greatest drummers of all time. Kudlow introduces Reiner saying "Right now we're going to unleash the best drummer I've ever seen.", and Reiner goes into a 5 minute drum solo. It's truly enough to blow your mind watching this superstar pound the skins. Seriously... if you've seen it, you know what I mean. And if you haven't, what's wrong with you???

Closing out the night was the band's smash hit "Metal on Metal". It's the one everybody wants to hear. I think it's worthy of the admiration as well! Lips comes out into the crowd again for one last hurrah, and the night comes to an end.

Chris Robertson of Anvil. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

As strong and mighty as Anvil continues to be, at some point the shows will end. It'll be a sad time in the lore of heavy metal. If you're a music lover, or specifically a metal lover, and you have never seen this act from Toronto, then you'll want to do yourself a favour. Don't leave yourself in a position where you end up saying "Damn! I wish I had seen those guys!". And Cribbs, while you have seen Anvil, I apologize for not reaching out to check out this show. Would have been cool. Especially since the likes of Greg Parnell and Brian Wilson were in the house.


Anvil Online

show date: May 2, 2024


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