Rock Fans became a Hoard for Saxon Tonight
Thursday night in Bristol was buzzing and all rock fans footsteps were heading to the O2 Academy for a trio of bands that promised to entertain. The connection that ran through the three acts was Motörhead as Girlschool the aperitif with sparkles, Fastway the taster buzzing and the main event Saxon on fire.
The venue was packed as Girlschool got the night warmed up, this was British Heavy Metal that was dramatic, entertaining with strong vocals and even the promise of a tongue in cheek promise of a drum solo. This was a perfect opportunity for drumming to be the intro but we didn’t wait long when the rest of the girls joined the party with huge riffs and depth of sound. With tracks from their new album Guilty As Sin, including Come The Revolution a call for change with guitars and bass that is raucous the driver to motivate a revolution! The set delighted the cheers and applause as they left the stage showed what promise the evening held.
Now for a shout out for the roadies who work unnoticed the change-overs, tonight were quick and effective, the sound was awesome and the lighting full on this all adds to the energy of live music.
Now for Fastaway, Classic heavy rock reformed in 2007 with acclaimed new album Dog Eat Dog we knew with Fast Eddie on guitar this was going to be an entertaining classic rock ride with the band. Toby Jepson on vocals was tremendous full of rock power and energy. The set pulled on the talents of the band with Deliver Me from their latest album and a tribute song Telephone dedicated to Lemmy, There was a lot of emotion for Lemmy on the stage and throughout the venue, who was here in musical spirit tonight. Fastaway delivered a very strong set of good old heavy rock that boomed through the venue. Now for the main act of the night, the anticipation was rising with every second until Biff Byford stepped on the stage.
The heavy rock crowd here for Saxon the chants were heartfelt as the music-driven Saxon Hoard stood and listened to the new wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) sound that everyone wanted to hear and tracks from the new album Battering Ram the motivation for the tour.
The venue was now bursting at the seams with the tiers full flags draped over balconies the mood was electric.
The set was one hundred percent Saxon with two exceptions the opening number It’s A Long Way To The Top the AC/DC anthem for the dramatic entrance and the Encore a tribute to Lemmy with Ace of Spades.
Biff Byford was tonight definitely master of the stage for the whole of the gig. The power is a gift from the talented musicians that surround him on stage, Nigel Glockler on drums provides booming bass drumming through to tom toms that sing the rock chant combine with bass delivered by Nibbs Carter this is a true powerhouse of a rhythm section. The guitars of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt gave depth of riffs that cascaded through the music acting as the punctuation of the lyrics reinforcing the anger, joy or fear being sung by Biff. Saxon are a band that stands and delivers honest, authentic rock full of drama. Tones and shapes that lead on to chorus’ that we can all sing back. This is music that charted our youth and continues to entertain from young to those with grey in our hair a united a Saxon hoard that has a treasure the heavy rock that is Saxon.
Opening with Battering Ram from the album of the same name we were in for a ride of deep joy. Many of the tracks tonight, like the first are the title tracks of the albums being dipped into tonight for our enjoyment. There is always something special about hearing tracks live and tonight is was pure delight, especially the tracks from the new album, Battering Ram. Queen of Hearts was outstanding but the highlight for me was Devils Footprint, gothic, eerie and atmospheric modern rock full of vitality. Long live Rock in every shape and form but especially Saxon’s interpretation. Sacrifice, was stunning with smoke that shrouded Biff and then as it faded away he picked up the next chorus, the crowd was mesmerized as they followed every move and pulled in every word to hold deep in our music memories to treasure. Biff the showman, got the best out if a very vocal crowd, he had us all in the palm of his hand. Frozen Rainbow took us back to the very beginning of the first album Saxon a power ballad that soars above all others.
Toby Jepson, from Fastway joined Biff on stage for an entertaining take on Wheels Of Steel; and we now had not battle of the bands but battle of the two halves of the venue. We may not be a hoard with axes but we were a vocal and competitive hoard. As the left side tried to out sing the right we responded to our team leaders Biff and Toby. The result, a heroic draw and a fun memory as we united together through music.
As the last notes of Ace of Spades faded away from Fast Eddie’s guitar who joined Saxon in this moving tribute. Bristol was rocked to the core tonight, live music is always special to Bluesdoodles and tonight is certainly one of the top highlights of 2016 can it be bettered we will wait and see.
Battering Ram – (Battering Ram)
Let Me Feel the Power The Inner Sanctum
Sacrifice – (Sacrifice)
Solid Ball of Rock (Solid Ball of Rock )
Never Surrender (Denim and Leather)
Frozen Rainbow (Saxon)
Stand Up and Be Counted (Wheels of Steel)
Devils Footprint (Battering Ram)
Strong Arm of the Law (Strong Arm of the Law)
Killing Ground (Killing Ground)
Eagle Has Landed (Eagle Has Landed)
Queen Of Hearts (Battering Ram)
And The Bands Played On (Denim and Leather)
Terminal (Unleash The Beast)
Dallas 1 PM (Strong Arm of the Law)
Wheels of Steel (Wheels of Steel)
Ace of Spades (Motörhead – Lemmy Tribute)