Accept have done it again, delivered a concert out of this world. The band was in great shape and looked like they had a great time, the new guys really fit in and are doing a excellent job. The only thing I can put my finger on is that the set should have been longer. When they came off stage the crowd kept singing Balls to the wall as they walked home and I heard a lot of them saying that Accept was the best band today.
A crowd in excess of 18.000 people awaited Accept at their biggest festival show ever in Spain. And the band delivered. Drawing from a wealth of classic metal songs that can raise the dead, Accept were arguably the most powerful classic band at the festival. Yes, they may have a long carreer, but they have managed to reinvent themselves with the last three albums and remain up to date. Classics is what people sing, but new songs are what keep them fresh and they delivered a good mixture of both. From the opening salvo of “Stampede” until the closing with “Balls to the Wall” they played a set that was balanced and intense at the same time, with plenty of guitar solo faces from Wolf Hoffmann, old school raspiness from Mark Tornillo and a refurbished rhythm section where only Peter Baltes remains from the classic line-up and newcomers Uwe Lulis on drums and Christopher Williams on guitar showed that they deserve their place in the band.
Concert Review: ACCEPT; Kuopio Rock Cock 2015; July 31
BY: TJ FOWLER
I have lived here in Finland for about three and a half years, being transplanted from Tennessee into a heavy metal wonderland. In this span of time I have had great opportunities to cover bands I could only dream of back in my home state. One of these great opportunities has been getting the chance of covering the legendary ACCEPT.
The first time was in September of 2014 in Tampere in a moderately sized club and the band commanded the night like no other. This time however they were headlining day one of the Kuopio Rock Cock Festival and this would be my first time seeing them in a larger setting.
Living in Kuopio I have attended this festival every year since arriving here in 2012 and the festival never ceases to amaze in the acts they bring as headliners. Nightwish, Scorpions and now ACCEPT.
To say I was eager is an understatement. The band took the stage as the day had mostly faded away but still glimmers of light were peeking through the clouds which is the norm for long summer nights in Finland.
This night though, the people of Kuopio needed to beware what was lurking in the shadows because they were in danger of getting stampeded by a heavy metal titan.
ACCEPT stormed the stage and proceeded to stampede the audience with…well the song Stampede. The fans went ballistic and cheered the band every step of the way and the band kept rolling its metal wheels and launched into Stalingrad followed by London Leather Boys.
One after the other the band kept delivering hit after hit and the fans screamed in unison with the band. Whether it was Princess of the Dawn, Metal Heart or newer songs like Pandemic and Teutonic Terror, the Finnish fans made their country proud this night and gave the band 110% support. Even the fans off to the side in the drinking areas and not in the main crowd area were standing and head banging to the band.
In Fact, the city of Kuopio itself showed its pride. There were several police officers who actually came to the festival when ACCEPT went on stage to specifically see the band play because they were fans of the band.
The band wasin true form and sounded perfect, and they could have honestly used this show to record some live material. They sounded that good.
It should also be noted the band has a couple new members, guitarist Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams. I have to say these two guys have made excellent additions to the band and both had more of an active stage presence than some previous members and showed of some great showmanship. It is always great when all the members have some stage presence they can show the crowd. (Scroll down past photo to read more and see thank you video)
If you get the chance to see the band live on their current tour, don’t miss the opportunity, they will blow away any other act they go up against and were the highlight of Kuopio Rock.
My hats off to the band and to the festival itself for bringing them here.
To sum things up I want to use an analogy, I live in an area here in Kuopio called Petonen, roughly translated, it means beast. Well tonight I ran into that beast…in the form of the German Teutonic Metal Machine…ACCEPT!
The honest truth is that ACCEPT is the whole reason we came to Balingen this year. When the festival was first announced, I distinctly remember sitting at my desk and thinking that Accept would be the obvious choice to headline the 20th Anniversary Festival. Then I thought back over all the times I’ve seen Accept, on small and mid-sized stages throughout the southeastern USA. Then I remember imagining what it would be like to see Accept on the huge outdoor festival stage, with thousands of people singing along every word to every song. Then I ordered our tickets to BYH Fest. True story. Now that the moment was finally here, I could barely contain my excitement. The stage looked amazing, featuring an enormous backdrop with the ‘Blind Rage’ cover art, a massive wall of double-stacked amps with the Accept logo from one end of the stage to the other, and a cool drum platform in the middle. That’s it. The taped intro to “Stampede” started and suddenly we were off to the races. Whatever lofty expectations I had for Accept on this night were well and truly shattered by their dominant performance. Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes effortlessly worked the stage from one end to the other, with frequent visits to the catwalk, individually and collectively. They bounded across the stage with an obvious joy and exuberance that belied their ages. Mark Tornillo demonstrated why he is the perfect frontman for this band, as he belts out the vocal lines with poise and power but knows when to step back and allow Wolf and Peter to take over. New guys Uwe Lulis (on guitar) and Christopher Williams (drums) seemed completely at home in the band. Both were marvelous players who seemed fully dialed in with their bandmates and committed to the cause. To be sure, Lulis mostly stayed out of the spotlight, but on a couple of occasions I saw Wolf motion for him to come over to center stage, or even out in the catwalk, to enjoy some time in the limelight. Wolf and Peter have both said in recent interviews that the band is tighter than ever in its new incarnation. Seeing is believing.
A curious aspect of this three-day festival was the opportunity to compare and contrast how different headliners do it. Unlike their predecessors on Thursday and Friday nights, Accept had almost no gimmicks, no props, no special effects (other than a few blasts of CO2 gas), and a few other little things. By and large, they let the music do the talking, relying on sheer energy, killer songs, and force of personality to win over the crowd. And did they ever. It was positively magical to hear the audience singing every word of so many songs, and adding rousing choirs during the singalong parts to songs like “Stalingrad,” “Princess of the Dawn,” “Metal Heart,” and of course “Balls to the Wall.” The band felt that way too, with Tornillo exclaiming with amazement, “You guys are killing it! Last band of a three-day festival and you’re all standing and screaming.” And we were. I felt like I was in a dreamstate seeing Wolf and Peter out there at the end of the catwalk, rocking out to their hearts’ content on the jammy extended version of “No Shelter.” New songs, old songs, everything was executed brilliantly, from the 80s romps through “Losers and Winners” and “Midnight Mover” to the fistful of new classics like “Dying Breed” and “Final Journey” from Blind Rage. Here’s an interesting fact: Accept played 10 songs from the Tornillo era tonight, and just 8 from the Dirkschneider period. Living in the past? I think not. You know, I wouldn’t have had it any other way (I did miss “Breaker,” though, first time I’ve seen them in recent years where they didn’t play that tune). Only moment where my heart jumped into my throat was during “Pandemic,” when Baltes dashed out onto the catwalk, then ran back to the mainstage at full speed, only to wipe out when he hit the stairs. For a split second, I imagined Peter being injured, unable to continue, the show screeching to a halt. But then Peter got back to his feet, raised his fists with a sheepish grin on his face, and resumed rocking as if nothing had happened. Both Wolf and Mark made a point of walking over to check on him, but he waved them off. A minute later, Peter was running back out onto the catwalk, sprinting to and fro, one fist in the air as if to tell us, “No worries folks. I got this.” And he did.
If the metal gods are kind to me, I will see Accept many more times before either (i) I go deaf or (ii) they call it a career. I will never see them better than they were tonight. This gig is one of those memories that I will lock away in my heart, forever and ever, bringing it out whenever I need a little sunshine, a little inspiration, a little pick-me-up to get through a tough day. Accept were the best band on the planet tonight. And I got to experience them. Thanks BYH! Setlist: Stampede, Stalingrad, London Leatherboys, Restless and Wild, Dying Breed, Final Journey, Shadow Soldiers, Losers and Winners, 200 Years, Midnight Mover, No Shelter, Princess of the Dawn, Dark Side of my Heart, Pandemic, Fast as a Shark. Encores: Metal Heart, Teutonic Terror, Balls to the Wall.
Man did I need an Accept fix! After seeing the band nearly a dozen times, for the first two reunion albums, I’d only seen them twice for Blind Rage: Wacken, a year ago and their return to Gramercy, in NYC at the start of the current world tour (which has yet to set down in North America, apart from scattered handful of dates). There have been some changes in the line-up since, but the principles remain intact, although there’s a dichotomy between the mainstays. There’s Peter Baltes, the smiling, perpetually headbanging bassist, with curly hair flopping in time to the music. If the late Jim Henson ever designed a can’t sit still, ADHD Muppet (had he started a few decades later, surely he would have), it probably would look like the ageless Baltes. To his side, the bald, face-pulling guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. Like a guitar wielding cobra, Hoffman coils himself, striking with steel string fangs. Zap! Don’t worry, the bite is infectious and without antidote. Succumb to the inevitable.
24 amp stacks, a dozen to each side are illuminated before showtime, the Accept, crossed guitar logo in place of any company name. Drummer Christopher Williams comes on and smashed an introduction on the circular (70s) gong behind his massive kit, as the boys kicked into ‘Stampede’. The 17 song was almost exactly split between new and old, with ‘London Leatherboys’ cropping up third, Mark Tornillo, more confident than ever, now that the first round of cuts are over, working the crowd, out on the gangplank, yet returning to the stage and nailing the final lyric, just as he turns to face the audience. It was a noisy, fast guitar set, containing ‘Restless & Wild’ (a surprise coming so early, in the fourth slot), the welcome return of ‘No Shelter’, ‘Pandemic’ (where Hoffmann drops to his knees) and Tyrolean ditty introduced ‘Fast As A Shark’. If ever there were a call for strobes (in spades), it’s this, heads down, balls out, piece of metal! That final pair actual close out the proper set.
‘Dying Breed’ was under blue lights, while ‘Final Journey’ saw jets of compressed “steam” shot skyward, with just the drummer, Wolf and Peter (or is that Peter & the Wolf, Prokofiev?) onstage. ‘Shadow Soldier’ is one dear to Tornillo’s heart, always onstage in a military cap. Purple lights for ‘Losers & Winners’, Wolf and Peter sharing the same mic, on the bassist’s side of the stage. ‘Midnight Mover’, another welcome returnee, would see the two of them alone on the catwalk, trading licks, as Tornillo waits onstage, keeping time. Baltes began ‘Princess Of The Dawn’ atop the variegated riser, while the guitarist made a rare solo appearance on the opposite side of the stage. The first chorus see Wolf with arms outstretched, cuing the crowd to sing along. Deep blues and fog onstage, without prodding, they continue to sing, even though Hoffmann never plays a note. As Peter towels off, they go directly into unusual green lit ‘Dark Side Of My Heart’, where the roles are reversed” Mark on the catwalk and the venerable duo onstage, headbanging. The aforementioned ‘Shark’ ends with the two guitarists center stage, to a huge ovation, as the stage goes black. Almost everyone knows it’s not over and what remains, as illuminated amps, pink lights and plenty of smoke hasten their return, implored by Hoffman (arm in the air) for the opening strains of ‘Metal Heart’. ‘Teutonic Terror’ and the ubiquitous ‘Balls To The Wall’ follow, capping not only another victory, but unofficial end of the festival.
Their critically acclaimed return with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS in 2010 opened the Metal Sky for the German band ACCEPT – after a 15 year hiatus – with a Bang! They stayed on the move with a second album STALINGRAD – in 2012 as always supported by a worldwide tour. 2014 they started with an impressive album release – BLIND RAGE – at the top of European charts and entries worldwide, gracing the rock magazines from around the globe from Sweden to South America, racing through Asia, Australia, Europe, North & South America – sold out shows as well as being part of the biggest International Music Festivals until December, that was BLIND RAGE Tour PART 1. April 2015 they continued with BLIND RAGE TOUR Part 2 which will end in Europe mid December.
The schedule has been pretty demanding and not everybody could stand the test of times…. poster child of fitness Wolf Hoffmann and his “ALTER EGO” Peter Baltes are pushing the envelope and have the greatest fun outdoing each other on stage – holding up the trademark of ACCEPT’s stage performance of mostly 2 hours: Fan, Power, Groove and Speed. Mark Tornillo can hold his own and is a formidable force on stage and very much loved by the fans.
Obviously, they do not slow down – the opposite. Wolf Hoffmann quote: We need to let it all come out and time is the essence. We are happiest when we are on stage and what a nerve wrecking thrill it is to write a new album and jump on stage and perform it… We are on it again ….but – we will take our time. Fans know, they can count on us – we will deliver…. but no rush. We might tape our show at the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany and release that in between.”
The band is on Tour again – FASTER…..HARDER….. LOUDER
Obrigado fãs brasileiros pela calorosa recepção que nos foi dada! Adoramos cada minuto e a energia entre VOCÊS e a banda foi fantástica! Foi INESQUECÍVEL o tempo que passamos com vocês! OBRIGADO aos nossos colegas músicos e OBRIGADO aos promotores! Obrigado a TODOS que fizeram deste evento tão especial!
Nos veremos em breve!
Sao Paulo is great! Fans came from all over and here you see ACCEPT at their first autograph signing session, that lasted 2 hours at the prestigious REFERENCE Music Store. The signing was arranged by WARWICK/FRAMUS. Old and new fans had a great time with the band and everybody is looking forward to see the band ROCKING on stage at the MONSTERS OF ROCKtomorrow!!!!!
Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images.
ACCEPT… Wolf Hoffmann… Peter Baltes… Mark Tornillo… Uwe Lulis… Christopher Williams… proudly announce their upcoming BLIND RAGE TOUR 2015 Part II! See you in MEXICO, BRAZIL, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, POLAND, SLOVAKIA, FINLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVENIA, FRANCE, SPAIN, AUSTRIA, DENMARK, SWEDEN, BELGIUM and MORE to come!
ACCEPT – 2014 Was the Best Year in Their Career So Far!
BLIND RAGE #1 on the sales charts in GERMANY & FINLAND.
Various entries in international Charts.
Winner of ALBUM OF THE YEAR categories in several countries by the strongest Metal Bibles in Europe, METAL HAMMER, HARD ROCK, SWEDEN ROCK #1.
45 shows in 20 countries.
SOLD OUT shows in 9 countries.
Headliner at most prestigious and talked about European Festivals including the Metal Paradise (with “special event show”) WACKEN OPEN AIR, WOODSTOCK and the amazing three quarter of a million fan strong 2014 a charity event for Children Hospitals in Poland.
Touring Europe, North America, Australia and Asia – 4 Continents in 2014 and not yet finished!
BLIND RAGE WORLD TOUR Part 2 is on the move again, returning to South America with OZZY OSBOURNE, KISS, JUDAS PRIEST, MOTORHEAD and many other GREATS! Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and MORE are already in their intense battle plan for 2015!
The PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE for ACCEPT was and still is beyond the band’s imagination, but not beyond their reach! We all know, they could not have come so far without their fans and the endless gifted people who are working so hard for ACCEPT! Thank you… to all of them from….. all of us with the promise, that we will come back – better and stronger and even more devoted than the last time!
ACCEPT Renew & Expand a Worldwide BOOKING DEAL with CONTINENTAL CONCERTS in Germany
Gerald Wilkes, longtime business partner of Gaby Hoffmann, is expanding his European Deal with ACCEPT and will be the worldwide Booking Agent as of January 1st 2015.
Gaby Hoffmann: “We have a very close relationship with Gerald and many successful tours, specially the BLIND RAGE World Tour in 2014, and growing logistic demands present a need for us to fasten the seat belts and go into the next round. We believe all touring business in one hand will make it more efficient for all of us and for all our partners around the world. The new tour schedule with even more countries, for instance AUSTRALIA, where ACCEPT opened a brand new market for themselves in 2014, started with sold out shows and needs special attention. Concerts in Asia, Africa, Middle East etc are on the menu and we need a strong partner with international connections to open more markets for us.”
Gerald Wilkes: “CONTINENTAL CONCERTS and I are really proud about expanding our successful relationship with ACCEPT! This is a big step for us and we believe that the band is stronger than ever and that there are still a lot of territories that ACCEPT will conquer in the future. I have been working with the band for so many years and it feels great to have such a close continuous relationship for such a long time.”
Famous, genius writer MALCOLM DOME, who has followed ACCEPT for 30 years was at ACCEPT’s LONDON SHOW!
Despite the fact, that the band had the most SOLD OUT SHOWS in their touring history with the BLIND RAGE 2014 World Tour, they just missed the SOLD OUT mark at the beautiful FORUM!!! Wolf Hoffmann states: The audience has been fantastic and PETER & I said after a few minutes into is HOLY SHIT .. we better come back to the UK!
As the veteran Germans play The Forum, the band’s Wolf Hoffmann talks to Classic Rock
Accept are not content to be a nostalgia band. In fact, current album Blind Rage did something they’ve never experienced before.
“For the first time ever we had a number one album in Germany. It took us by surprise. We didn’t know this would be a successful period. Three albums and five years with Mark Tornillo (vocals) and we are strong.”
So, it’s no surprise that the band’s contemporary vigour is reflected in their live setlist. Unlike many of their peers they feel confident enough to pepper their performance with material from Blind Rage, and it’s immediate predecessors Blood Of The Nations (2010) and Stalingrad (2012).
“There are very few bands who are trying really hard to make relevant new albums”, says guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. “A lot of our friends take the attitude that nobody wants anything new from them, so they go out and play old stuff. We don’t want to suck up to our past and rest on our laurels. We are opening a new chapter.”
In London, the band get pumping with no less than four modern tracks, slicing through Stampede, Stalingrad, Hellfire and 200 Years. And the audience enthusiasm is at such a high level you’d never have know these don’t come from their glory days in the 80s.
“It’s tricky putting together a setlist, but it’s a good problem to have. Now half of the set is new stuff and half of it is old. People really seem to like the fact that we are playing a shit load from Blind Rage. It’s remarkable to see the brand new songs going down as well as the songs which have been around for 30 years.”
It’s only with the double pack of Losers and Winners and London Leather Boys that the band ease their way back 30 years. Tornillo’s vocals actually have a lot more in common with Brian Johnson than with Udo Dirkschneider. In fact, his whole stage persona brings to mind the AC/DC master, and not just because he wears a hat. He has a stage bonhomie and grinning residue that lends a certain relaxed edge to everything.
“Maybe it was because we were away for so long [effectively a decade from 1997], and feel we still have something to prove. It’s a new era, and we wanted Blind Rageto leave a permanent mark. This is a new time, and we have to prove ourselves all over again.”
“Do we get enough acknowledgement from people for our influence in metal? We’re quite happy with the respect we get from the music industry. Yes, we were the first metal band out of Germany. At the start, we were kids who dreamt of touring the world. And you had to go outside of Germany to be a professional musician. We weren’t really accepted in Germany until we came back from the States in 1984. But it’s always said that a lot of German metal bands were formed after Accept made our mark. Indirectly we did help to create the German metal scene. But that was never what we set out to do. So, it’s hard for me to take credit.”
The encore again mixes old and new, with the mid-paced madness of Teutonic Terror linking the flamboyant Metal Heart and the always welcome finale, Balls To The Wall. It’s a crisp, plunging way to finish off the night.
“I was into The Beatles and Jethro Tull early on. I listened to the latter’s Stand Up all day long. My sister had it, and I’d play it all the time.”
The one disappointment about the gig is the modest turn out. Accept should be capable of packing places like this. Yet while it’s ultimately too big for their present stature, the performance is of arena headlining stature, which is where Accept belong.
“We wanted to move forward, and present ourselves in a nice environment, which is why we did The Forum this time. We haven’t given up on the UK. Metal is enjoying a resurgence there, so we want to play more shows in the future.”
The smiles on everyone’s face at the end, band and fans alike, says it all. Accept have the sort of commitment and charismatic determination that this writer first witnessed in 1980, when the youthful band headlined the Markthalle in Hamburg. Living in the past? No, using it as a springboard into a bright future. Turning Wildness into Rage.