Dirkschneider, Elm Street, The Whisky, March 22, 2018
The almighty Dirkschneider made a grand and epic return to the Southland on their Back To The Roots Part 2 tour, playing a dynamic set of Accept classics at the world famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip. Fronted by the legendary Udo Dirkschneider, the collective absolutely raged to a packed house of metal fans who sang along rapturous to each and every song. Udo has expressed a wish to leave all of the Accept material behind, and focus on his namesake project U.D.O. in the years ahead. Dirkschneider is a celebration of the glorious past, with Udo and his band traveling across the world for one final performance of these songs the iconic vocalist made very famous with his tenure in Accept. Billed as an absolute farewell to past, Dirkschneider presented a rock solid performance that nearly blew the roof off the notorious venue.
Dirkschneider kicked off their set with the ravishing refrains of The Beast Inside from their scandalously underrated Death Row manifesto –and it was clearly right from the start that the Udo brigade was more than ready to melt faces within the throes of Tinseltown. Aiming High from Russian Roulette and then Bulletproof from Objection Overruled continued the artillery of Accept deep cuts, absolutely thrilling the audience with their shotgun ferocity. Midnight Mover from Metal Heart inspired a rabid response from the audience – and the Accept hits just kept on arriving with a skilled precision. Udo and his comrades would perform them all with a ton of passion and vitality! London Leatherboys, Breaker, Screaming For A Lovebite and a whole lot more from the Accept catalog – all tremendously alive and inspired within the intimate confines of the Whisky!
What an absolutely first rate band Dirkschneider possessed, presenting these legacy cuts with the verve and splendor they so rightfully deserved. Udo is definitely in top form – that amazing trademark voice and diabolical stage presence still an absolute thrill to witness! The thunderous dual guitar assault was unleashed courtesy of Andrey Smirnov (Master, Everlast) and Bill Hudson (Once Human, Westfield Massacre). The commanding rhythm section was tight as hell, featuring the rip roaring talents of longtime U.D.O. co-conspirator Fitty Wienhold on bass, and Sven Dirkschneider (yup, Udo’s son) on drums. Knowing that this could very well the last time this lineup plays songs such as London Leatherboys, Fast As A Shark, and Balls To The Wall is bittersweet indeed, and yet Dirkschneider left the audience with a whole lot of memories to cherish for a lifetime. And now on to the future, as U.D.O. expects to be back in the Southland later on this year to celebrate their own treasure trove of hard rocking tapestries.
Hitting the road in direct support of Dirkschneider was Elm Street from Melbourne, Australia, presenting an exhilarating set of kickass heavy metal. Touring the states in support of their Knock Em Out With A Metal Fist on Massacre Records, Elm Street slammed headfirst into an intensive set that really caught the attention on a crowd hell-bent for their fix of Accept tunes. Opening with the one-two slam punch to the senses of Face The Reaper and Kiss The Canvas, Elm Street placed the pedal to the metal in a vast and ferocious way.
One of the many highlights of the Elm Street set was when the band brought Luke Man from Leatherwolf onstage to incinerate the Whisky away with a glorious cover of the Quiet Riot classic Bang Your Head (Metal Health). Elm Street’s own blistering lineup of talent includes the participation of Ben Batres on vocals and rhythm guitar, Aaron Adie on lead guitar, Nick Ivkovic on bass, and Tomislav Perkovic on drums. These guys are the true thunder from down under and their memorable songs and epic live shows are not to be missed! With ;erformances this persuasive, expect Elm Street to be headlining their own tours the next time they show up to pillage and party with us all here in the States.
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)