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Saxon/UFO


Date: 4/1/17
Venue: BB King Blues Club, Manhattan, NYC
Report By: Rich Catino

 


So Saxon have released 21 albums since 1979, with their more recent (“Battering Ram) in 2015. Not one to tour America often, in the past several years they have made more frequent visits. The bands three original/classic lineup members - Biff Byford on vocals and guitarist Paul Quinn are still joined by long time drummer Nigel Glockler, Nibbs Carter on bass. Doug Scarratt is on second guitar since 1996 and the great “Unleash the Beast” album in 1997 (to which I have yet to hear something from in the US). Now that you are all caught up…with the three longest standing members in their mid 60s, and heavy head banging songs like the title tracks to “Battering Ram” and “Sacrifice”, age clearly is not an issue. Biff still banging his head, with Nibbs always windmilling (the headbangers hair swirl).
With the only two newer songs past the 80s, the rest of the set was (as usual) Americanized, pulling from the early 80s albums “Wheels Of Steel” up to “Crusader”. I get it, they were the most popular albums in America, but still – you have another 13 to pull from – and some songs that hold up to those classics from “Metalhead” in 1997, “Killing Ground” (2001), and “Lionheart” (2004), to name a few. I think “Innocence Is No Excuse” from 1985 is solid too. Clearly much better tunes from these records, in place of ‘This Town Rocks’? “Motorcycle Man’ was dedicated to the late Lemmy (Motorhead), and Byford said Never Surrender’ wasn’t played on the tour yet. A couple changes from the NYC show the night before.
So, you think Saxon have been around for a long time? UFO’s got nine more years, and as many albums. The debut came out in 1970, with guitarist Michael Schenker joining the band for a string of albums which made them a household name (“Phenomenon” in 1974- “Strangers in the Night” in 79). Vinnie Moore has been on guitar since the album “You Are Here” in 2004 up through the latest “A Conspiracy of Stars” in 2015. With Paul Raymond on keyboards/ rhythm guitar on and off since the late 70s, same with drummer Andy Parker, the very recognizable voice of Phil Mogg is the only original member.
Again, another band who are no spring chickens, ‘Run Boy Run’ and ‘Messiah of Love’ from the latest album still rocks with a hard edge. Good to hear rocker ‘We Belong to the Night’ from the Paul Chapman album “Mechanix” and a driving ‘Long Gone’ off “The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent”. Mogg is a very relaxed soulful singer and still got it (listen to ‘Baby Blue’), while Moore and Rob De Luca on bass more mobile and energetic. Like Saxon, UFO also have their batch of classics the crowd await to hear – ‘Let It Roll’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, the ballady ‘Love to Love’, ‘Rock Bottom’, ‘Doctor Doctor’, and their biggest hit ‘Lights Out’. Encore ‘Mother Mary’ was an audience request. Want to do your homework the right way for UFO, just check out the live album “Strangers in the Night”.

 
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