The Journey is Long for This Canadian Heavy Metal Band
The Heavy Metal band, Anvil, shattered eardrums at the Fairfax Cinema on Monday night with a live performance that followed a sold out showing of their documentary, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” directed by Sacha Gervasi.
The story focuses on two aging Canadian rockers, Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner, who have been working their asses off to achieve major stardom for over thirty years. The film is both funny and touching. It is a compelling portrait of a lifelong friendship that started when these guys were in their early teens.
We first meet Anvil at a 1984 a stadium show in Japan where they share the bill with acts such as Bon Jovi, the Scorpions and Whitesnake — all of whom went on to became major rock stars stars.
Interviews with musicians such as Slash, (formerly with Guns and Roses) reveals that Anvil was the group everyone thought could change the face of heavy metal. Sadly we find them stuck in tedious day jobs in snowy Toronto, occasionally playing dumpy bars, yet still hoping and struggling to become rock legends some twenty-five years later.
The film follows Anvil through a disastrous European tour, examines the tensions that occasionally permeates the band and the heartbreak their relentless pursuit of success causes their families.
This band dreams big and never gives up. Gervasi manages to make us feel their struggle. We root for their attempt at a comeback album and ultimately follow them back to Japan where in a final emotional scene, they once again perform to a huge crowd who not only know all their songs but also shower them with love and affection.
At the Fairfax Cinema on Monday night, the director introduced the movie and made no secret of the fact that he too loves these guys. He was their former roadie back in the day, and even lost his virginity on tour with Anvil as a sixteen year old.
The capacity audience was with Gervasi from the opening frame. When the movie ended, the band members raced down the isles, picked up their instruments and wowed the crowd with a short but excellent and set. Many people sang along with the lyrics while others stood on seats to get a better view of Anvil. Camera’s flashed everywhere.
Afterward, Reiner and Kudrow signed CD’s and Anvil merchandise in the lobby, posing and chatting with old and new fans alike.
For a few hours on Monday night Anvil’s dream was a reality. We can only hope the dream continues and that this fun and well made documentary helps propel them to the heights that should have been theirs starting back in the 80’s. Not only for their sheer tenacity, but also for the fact that they are a great metal band, Anvil deserve to win.
Check out the movie’s website here: http://www.anvilthemovie.com