Accept played Count’s Vamp’d on Saturday, September 13, 2014.
Accept’s journey through the world of hard rock and heavy metal has been an interesting one, to say the least. The band came of age in the mid 1980s with classic albums like Restless and Wild, Balls to the Wall, and Metal Heart, all of which contained their share of anthems. These German metal icons tore it up back in their heyday, and still command an international following to this day.
Several years back, the group saw the departure of classic vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, filling the void with American vocalist Mark Tornillo, formerly of TT Quick. In a few short years, Accept proved that they were only getting started when it came to rocking the world, putting out a trio of LPs that were there best in well over a decade – Blood of the Nations, Stalingrad, and their latest studio album, Blind Rage. In a few short years, the Tornillo-fronted version of Accept completely changed things and revitalized the band; Tornillo brings his own thing to the table, but can also tackle songs originally sung by Udo Dirkschneider with ease and confidence alike.
Accept launched a tour for the Blind Rage album in September of 2014, announcing that there would be a mere four American dates to kick off said tour, before it reached other international outlets, where the band tends to be revered on a larger scale (it is not uncommon for heavy metal bands to be more popular in Europe than in North America). Still, when I found out that one of those American dates was going to be in my hometown of Las Vegas, you cannot imagine my excitement.
Count’s Vamp’d is owned by Danny “The Count” Koker, famed for his role on the American television series Pawn Stars and Counting Cars, both of which air on the History Channel. The venue has become known to Las Vegas rockers as the ultimate stop for local, national, and international talent alike. The fact that they were able to book a band like Accept for one of only four American shows should say something.
The first thing I noticed when I got to Vamp’d for this show was the crowds. The venue was packed tighter than I believe I have ever seen it – insert random “Balls to the Wall” joke here. The crowds alone should show how much of a following the band still has. Hell, the band even had no merchandise for sale because they sold out of it all in California the previous night! Anyone who says heavy metal is dead clearly is not familiar with the legacy Accept has built, and continues to build upon.
Local favorites Electric Messiah started off the show, and definitely did a great job getting the crowd geared up. I have seen these guys at Vamp'd countless times, and they have continued to win me over, over the course of the past year or so. It is great to see these hometown heroes doing their part to keep rock and roll alive in the City of Sin.
As soon as the quintet took the stage, one thing immediately become apparent – this was going to be a HARD and HEAVY show – and I spelled those words in all caps for a reason! The pounding of the drums, the blistering guitar solos, and Tornillo’s vocals all raged through the speakers with an unrivaled ferocity I have never seen any other band that played Vamp’d even come close to. My eardrums were pounding the whole time. Even now, nearly a whole day later, I still have a ringing in my ears that is not going away. This was one of the hardest, heaviest, and loudest shows I have ever seen. I do not care how loud you think your band is, you have a long way to go if you want to come anywhere near Accept.
When it comes to entertaining a crowd of heavy metal maniacs, there are so many factors that have to be taken into consideration. Can the band still deliver when it comes to a live performance? What should the setlist be comprised of? Fans, crew, and the band are often contemplating these questions, and it is so rare that everything in a show comes together perfectly. This performance from Accept was the rare PERFECT concert. Wolf Hoffmann’s solos, Mark Tornillo’s vocals, every slap of the bass from Peter Baltes, to say that this bad delivers when it comes to live concerts is the understatement of the century. Some bands are up there on stage due to contractual obligations and just to earn a living. Not Accept. These guys have an unrivaled camaraderie and stage presence, and you can tell they love getting up there on stage and doing what they do. As an author/critic, I get to see probably at least 50 rock and roll shows a year out here in Sin City. Accept’s live performance last night is not only the best rock/metal concert I have seen so far in 2014, it is one of the best rock/metal shows I have ever seen, PERIOD.
The setlist is something else that deserves praise. Balancing a setlist between new album cuts and classic hits is not an easy task. But Accept has found that balance. With a setlist that straddles the balance between the three Tornillo albums and the classic material originally sung by Udo Dirkschneider, there is definitely something for all of the fans here. This Accept fan immediately fell in love with the Blind Rage album when it came out; getting to hear said songs live and in person from the band was an unforgettable experience. Tracks like Teutonic Terror and Stalingrad have become instant classics, but the band definitely did not skimp on the classics either, with gems like Balls to the Wall, Metal Heart, London Leatherboys, and Fast as a Shark. The crowd’s reactions are solid proof that the band is still going strong when it comes to delivering on this front.
Seriously, as a long time headbanger, I cannot praise Accept’s Vamp’d show enough. Here is a band that never gave into modern rock trends, staying true to doing things their own way, and always maintaining a strong fanbase as a result. Blind Rage is arguably the band’s strongest studio album in years, and on top of that, the group is still doing what they do best, live and in person. No other band plays this hard and heavy in person, with an unrivaled prowess that other groups cannot even come close too. If you see Accept live and in person on this tour, you will be seeing one of the greatest heavy metal shows of your life. Perfect setlist, perfect performances, this is hard rock and heavy metal at its absolute finest. Do not pass up a chance to see these hard rock legends doing what they do best!
-Taylor T. Carlson, author of STEELcyclopedia – The Titans of Hard Rock