Monday, September 15, 2014

Accept at the Gramercy Theatre

Mark Tornillo
The origins of heavy metal band Accept can be traced to a band called Band X in 1968 in Solingen, Germany. Numerous personnel changes plagued the band's professional aspirations until Accept performed at one of Germany's first rock festivals in 1976. Accept achieved commercial success with its fifth studio album, 1983's Balls to the Wall, and played an early role in the development of speed and thrash metal in the mid-1980s. Accept split in 1989, regrouped in 1993, split again in 1997, reunited briefly in 2005, and reunited again in 2009 with Mark Tornillo, formerly of New Jersey's T.T. Quick, replacing original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider. Accept presently consists of Tornillo , original members Wolf Hoffmann on lead guitar and Peter Baltes on bass, Herman Frank on rhythm guitar, and Stefan Schwarzmann on drums. This version of Accept released three albums, Blood of the Nations (2010), Stalingrad (2012) and Blind Rage (2014).

The refitted lineup debuted at the Gramercy Theatre in May 2010, Accept's first American concert in 15 years. Accept returned to the scene of the crime tonight for a one-off East Coast warm-up concert in preparation for a fall tour of Europe. The two-hour concert centered mostly on newer songs, but sprinkled in older songs as well. The band opened with "Stampede" from the new album, "Stalingrad" and "Hellfire" from the 2012 album, and "200 Years" from the current album. Only after establishing that the new songs rocked as hard as the vintage breed, the band revisited songs from the 1980s, including "Losers and Winners", "London Leatherboys" and "Starlight." All the while, Tornillo rasped and roared and worked the crowd, and Hoffman likewise played stunning guitar licks while playing up to the audience. Enormous riffs dominated, and repeated catch phrases left no doubt as to the titles of the anthem-like songs. Schwarzmann's familiar double bass drum attack launched "Fast As A Shark," which closed the proper set. For an encore, the now shirtless Tornillo led Accept in a suite of old songs, beginning with "Metal Heart," where cheerleader Hoffmann led an audience choir of "whoa whoas," followed by "Teutonic Terror" and "Balls to the Wall," the last one eliciting yet another singalong. Accept's European warm-up was a successful evening of classic pedal-to-the-metal.

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