Fifteen years after they last played New York City, German metal legends Accept proudly (and quite loudly) invaded the Gramercy Theatre in New York this past Saturday night to unleash a two-hour, fifteen-minute set of classic Teutonic thunder, covering all aspects of their career from their beginnings to their first reunion with original frontman Udo Dirkschneider in the mid-1990s. The crowd of more than 700 old school metalheads — people wore everything from Bathory and Iron Maiden t-shirts to denim jackets with back patches featuring every band from Helloween to Sacred Reich — soaked in the aura of the event. As many people, even the trio of hosts from That Metal Show, joked, it looked, smelled and sounded like 1985 all over again.
The gig was a momentous occasion for not only being Accept’s first U.S. gig since 1995 but their very first anywhere with new frontman Mark Tornillo, formerly of TT Quick fame, who tackled Udo’s vocal parts with aplomb, sounding like his sonic sibling while retaining his own personality. So the combination of local frontman does good with the return of a legendary band that has aged well made the show a sellout event. The rabid audience ate it all up, from the majestic opener “Metal Heart” (during which guitarist Wolf Hoffmann quoted Beethoven’s “Für Elise” during his solo) to the anthem of dissent “I Don’t Wanna Be Like You,” new songs “The Abyss” and “Teutonic Terror” through to the famous closing numbers “Fast As A Shark” and “Balls To The Wall”. The crowd singalongs during that latter track and “Princess Of The Dawn” proved how loyal the audience was, and how long many had waited for this day. Also noteworthy was the classical instrumetal interlude (yes, I misspelled that on purpose) featuring famous melodies performed by Accept in the past and on Hoffman’s superlative solo album Classical. (Hopefully he’ll perform that orchestral concert in Germany that he’s dreamed about. Wolf said backstage that he would still like to do it, but logistically it is quite tricky to put together.)
As you read this, Accept — singer Tornillo, guitarists Hoffman and Herman Frank, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann — are touring Germany and will open two dates for AC/DC later this month. With any luck, once their new album arrives in September, they will launch a full-scale U.S. tour. Then the rest of America will be able to the metal maelstrom that they unleashed upon a frenzied and grateful New York audience.