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Does Manowar Hate America? [UPDATE]

By Casey Moffitt in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 8, 2014 4:00PM

Update, 1:36 p.m.: While the Concord Music Hall is closed until further notice due to a ceiling collapse, Manowar says tonight's show is on. "Hail to the faithful Manowarriors!"

The show will be at Logan Square Auditorium, according to Riot Fest:

Manowar is not cool. They never were cool, and they never will be cool. And they don't care that it's said in this space.

But Manowar is awesome.

There is something about those tunes that can bore a hole in your skull, tap into your Neanderthal gene and say, "Hey dude, it's metal time." It just makes you go berserk and puts a giant grin on your face.

There isn't anything quite like a big, dumb riff added to a driving beat with lyrics about the "true meaning" of metal to help you have a good time. Grab a six-pack of Busch beer, a couple of buddies and you've got an old-fashioned heavy metal party. See? It's not hard and you might enjoy yourself.

Frankly, there aren't too many bands that can deliver bigger, dumber riffs than Manowar. And not too many bands are louder live than Manowar. They have made the Guiness Book of World Records three times as the loudest rock band.

They are hellbent on pulverizing the enemies of metal into dust.

Manowar has just kicked off a nine-date U.S. tour that is making its way to Chicago Saturday night. But as we look closely at this upcoming tour, we dare ask the question, "Does Manowar hate America?"

Exhibit A is the fact that although the band consistently tours Europe, it rarely tours in its homeland. If you are a Manowar fan in the United States, it's been very difficult to see the quartet from Aurora, N.Y. live and in person. They have played a show here or a show there every once in a while. In 2011 they played in Cleveland, which is about as close as they've come to Chicago in a long time.

Even on this tour, people might be traveling great distances to see the show. There are very few Midwest opportunities to see Manowar and the band is skipping the East Coast completely, as well as the Pacific northwest.

So, it was exciting to see Manowar book a Chicago visit at the Concord Music Hall Saturday night on this brief jaunt. All it takes is a quick ride on the Blue Line to see the show. But that leads us to exhibit B.

Go ahead and try to get yourself a ticket and you'll see it's going to make your wallet a good $80 lighter. That price is pretty consistent with all other venues at which Manowar is playing on this tour. We have seen ticket prices as much as $100 at the door of some venues.

Sure, complaining about ticket prices is about as old as rock and roll itself. Sure, $80 wouldn't have gotten you in to see the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Crazy Horse or Fleetwood Mac in recent months. But we're not talking about the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Crazy Horse or Fleetwood Mac here. We're talking about Manowar, a rather buffoonish but otherwise fun metal act.

Who knows? It could be a dynamite show and maybe worth twice as much. But we'd never know because we don't really get a chance to catch a Manowar set too often around here, and dropping $80 could be a gamble not worth taking when we're discussing a metal act that formed way back in 1979. They've displayed a certain amount of skill on some of their albums, but where are those skills today? We're just not sure.

But someone is shelling out the dough. According to the Concord Web site, all the parking passes are sold out at an additional $15. If they can demand the money, good for them. Maybe they are using their sparse American touring as an economic advantage to drive up demand for a ticket.

Exhibit C in our exploration is the cover for Manowar's upcoming release. They have re-recorded 1988's Kings of Metal to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the album's original release and entitled it Kings of Metal MMXIV. This tour is in support of the new album.

The cover of the original Kings of Metal features an anonymous barbarian standing on top of a heap of rubble. Obviously this barbarian has single-handedly dispatched a slew of enemies of metal and is taking in the victory. On top of this heap are the flags of various nations lying in a disheveled mess. The only one standing somewhat upright is a tattered Old Glory.

The cover of the new Kings of Metal MMXIV shows our anonymous barbarian friend again standing on top of a heap of rubble. But this time he is flanked on either side with the flags of various nations flying gloriously. Conspicuously absent is the stars and stripes. That's right! The American flag isn't there!

What was wrong with the old Manowar album covers? Remember the overtly nationalistic cover of the band's post 9/11 release Warriors of the World? We see our barbarian proudly hoisting an unscathed American flag over his head as he thrusts his sword into the heart of a maimed enemy of metal. Today, Old Glory isn't even an after-thought for Manowar.
Obviously we're engaging in superlatives and hurling our premise off the top rope and into your living room - much like everything Manowar does. From the music to the lyrics to the stage show to the album covers, Manowar does everything larger than life. It's too bad they've priced so many people out of a potentially fun show with a rare Chicago appearance. Apparently this tour is for die-hard Manowarriors only. Casual fans and curiosity seekers have no place at these shows.

Oh, and if you're an enemy of metal, stay away from the Concord this Saturday night.

Manowar performs at the Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave. at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. Tickets are $75 plus fees. All ages.