Live at the Saban Theater

Beverly Hills, CA

September 7th, 2017

Review and photos by Travis Baumann

Accept are many things to many people. They are classic heavy metal to the children of the 60's and 70's where they paid their dues and created songs that have prevailed against the test of time. These songs marked my childhood and introduced me to a different world of music.

Beyond that legacy, they have since endeared themselves to the current pulse of metal-seeking audiences and proved that they are also a powerful force in the world of modern metal. Their latest release, "The Rise of Chaos" showcases their ability to provide sweeping anthems that speak to everyone, but also the ability to write considerably moving and compassionate songs that show there is intense heart behind this rock and roll exterior.

The latest release brings plenty of old-school riffs and lyrics but many of the tracks are also bordering on power metal, speed metal, classic metal, and even a touch of gothic metal at times.

After a 14 year hiatus, the band resurrected in 2010. "Rise of Chaos" marks their fourth album since reforming and continues the trend to buck previous expectations as I personally feel these four albums eclipse previous efforts, and that is saying a lot.

Accept return to the Saban Theater for a showcase effort preparing for a larger tour including Japan, Australia and a few select cities here in North America.

Founding guitarist Wolf Hoffmann leads the pack along with cofounding bassist Peter Baltes. Mark Tornillo came on board as vocalist with their reformation, and continues to impressively belt out the old favorites from past eras as well as their new material with equal fervor. Joining this crew are a couple of new members since they came through Los Angeles last, including guitarist Uwe Lulis and Christopher Williams on drums.

Accept opened the show with "Die by the Sword" from the new album. Immediately sweeping the audience up to their feet, they chose a perfect song in way of introduction to the new material as well as starting off the concert with a bang.

The set list was composed of a number of songs chosen from the new album, a select few songs from each of their previous three albums, and then the bulk of the performance was made up of a greatest hits bonanza taken predominantly from their first three releases.

"Stalingrad" was up next, the title track from their powerful 2012 release, followed by the anthemic "Restless and Wild" marking 35 years since their debut album of the same name. "London Leatherboys" notched off their sophomore album from 1983 and then "Living for Tonite" coming from the "Metal Heart" album rounded out the big three early releases.

With these first five songs they readily encapsulated the entire career of Accept, spanning their latest albums all the way back to the original trilogy that marked their path in the metal world. Mark took a moment to address the audience and make sure everyone was having a good time.

The Saban is an unusual venue for a metal show as it normally hosts crooners, comedians, or award shows. The seated venue was entirely on their feet and head banging to the amazing riffs coming from the stage. I have seen Wolf in action many times but I am still left in awe at his prowess on the strings.

Mark said they were going to play a number of songs from the new album and kicked it off with "Koolaid". While the song references the iconic Jonestown massacre with cyanide tainted Koolaid, it also applies to the world at large, "Don't drink the Koolaid, no matter what the Preacher says" can be used as a general statement of don't buy into the bullshit the world is peddling.

They followed that up with "Carry the Weight" a song for current times stating that if you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, it will turn your heart to stone.

"Analog Man" is a throw back to more light-hearted Accept material as the lyrics say, "My cell phone is smarter than me... I'm just an old school son of a bitch". They finished off the round of new material with "No Regrets" before moving backwards in time once more.

They did "Final Journey" from the previous album "Blind Rage" and then stepped back one more album to "Shadow Soldiers" from "Stalingrad". I love all of these albums from 2010 on, and would have loved more off of these releases, but the audience was packed with fans from the days of old and they were clamoring for some of the good 'ol favorites.

"Neon Nights" brought it in spades and even the oldest of fans was jumping and singing along to the hit from their first release. Sticking with the "Restless and Wild" album for another fan favorite, they hit upon probably my top song of theirs from that era with "Princess of the Dawn".

Moving forward in time from there, they hit upon their 1985 masterpiece, "Metal Heart" for a couple in a row with "Midnight Mover" and "Up to the Limit".

The only track from the mid-era between 1985 and 2010 was the title track from "Objection Overruled" which was cool to see live as I don't recall them doing this song on previous tours.

Touching upon their amazing 2010 album, "Blood of the Nations" they gave us "Pandemic", one of their modern day anthems preaching of a "metal disease". They finished off the main set with another sure-fire favorite, "Fast as a Shark" from their debut album.

After a short break with the crowd screaming for more, they returned to the stage with the title track from "Metal Heart" before giving us one last song from the modern era with "Teutonic Terror". The audience were all making chopping motions with their hands in unison for the chorus "Give them the axe!"

They had one more to play and everyone knew what was coming. Their biggest claim to fame has always been about balls. An anthem specifically about not letting "them" take advantage of you and put your "Balls to the Wall". The audience sang along with every line for the extended take on the classic tune and as the band finished up the final chords, everyone in the house had a smile on their face.

21 songs not counting Wolf's amazing solos, just over two hours... Accept put on one hell of a show, covering 35 years of head-banging monsters. It was a fantastic experience that was shared by band and audience alike.

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