Volbeat @ Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham – 26 November 2016

After sets from Like A Storm and Gojira, Volbeat are main support to Alter Bridge on their current UK arena tour and tonight playing to the “queen of the Midlands” – the city of  Nottingham.

With the Motorpoint Arena packed out and a feeling of high anticipation at this early hour, you might think the headline band were about to hit the stage. This goes to show the popularity of Danish metallers Volbeat, and what a great choice they are for the Alter Bridge tour line-up. Currently promoting their sixth studio album ‘Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie’ Michael Poulsen and Co. kick off with ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’ before heading straight into fan favourite, the sultry tale of ‘Lola Montez’ from 2013’s ‘Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies‘.

“There’s a lot of people here” say Poulsen, clearly enjoying the opportunity. “Did Gojira take your face off?” he enquires with a laugh. After relaying Volbeat’s pleasure in being involved on this tour, he talks about being brought up in Denmark on Johnny Cash, and before we know it we’re into a quick ‘Ring of Fire’ intro to ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’.

For anybody ill-informed about who’s playing tonight the band perform in front of a massive Volbeat back-drop, as ‘Dead But Rising’, ’16 Dollars’ and ‘For Evigt’ all go down a storm. Lead guitarist Rob Caggiano struts and poses up front, and for ‘Evelyn’ Napalm Death vocalist Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway joins proceedings, with Poulsen – not for the first time – trying to encourage a circle pit.

‘Black Rose’ is followed by the frontman commenting on somebody wearing ear-plugs: “It’s good that you wear them, otherwise you’ll get fired by AC/DC!” he says. I’m guessing this is meant to be a joke but it pretty much falls on its arse. Never mind it’s a good enough excuse to knock out a few bars of ‘Back In Black’  with Poulsen proving that if ever a Brian Johnson impersonator is required, then he should be up for consideration.

No doubt about it, the crowd are right behind Volbeat tonight and with ‘Seal the Deal’ and ‘Still Counting’ bringing their set to a close, this is probably one of the strongest and well received support slots I’ve seen in a while. I imagine the Danes will be back to our shores very soon.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston