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Mean Fiddler, London Sunday 13 June 2004

Sadly this gig had been moved downstairs to the smaller Mean Fiddler from the Astoria above due to clashing with the England v France game. Having said that it was still a good-sized turnout - over 500 plus. Stroke of luck in that the support act, Tyla Gang were a no-show. They feature Dogs D'Amor `vocalist' Tyla and I can rest easy in the knowledge that I've missed a torturous half-hour of his `talents'.

Despite no support act BOC still took to the stage late and the bizarre thing with the Mean Fiddler is that the band has to walk through the audience to reach the stage. Hardly anyone recognized the members of BOC as they wound their way through the crowd! Opening with `R U Ready To Rock' was a masterstroke as it gets the audience involved from the start and it was going to be a good night I could tell from the crowd's reaction tot he next song, `E.T.I.'.

A different set form last year's UK tour in that no song past 1983 got an airing, so sadly no `I Wanna See You In Black,' `Pocket' or `Dance On Stilts'. But we did get `Cities On Flame With Rock `n' Roll', `Career of Evil' and a rare treat in `The Last Days Of May'. Slightly disjointed version of `Shooting Shark' and Buck Dharma was enjoying singing `Burnin' For You'. `Godzilla' saw a bass and drum solo - why do drums solos unless you try something other than bashing your kit? Only the late, great Cozy Powell with his version of `1812 Overture', Rush's Neal Peart and Carl Palmer do decent drum solos for my liking.

Of course `Don't Fear The Reaper' closed the set in fine style. The band play so well together and age may have them looking like your favourate uncles (the most scary thing on stage being drummer Bobby Rondinelli's hair!) but behind the smiles they play some fearsome music still and long may they continue.

Encore time saw `Black Blade' - a great tune and a chance for Buck Dharma and Allen Lanier to trade guitar solos. Closing the set was the poignant `Golden Age Of Leather', which in twenty years of seeing BOC live I've never seen them perform live. A fitting close to a great night of rock `n roll. Go see this band as they are a `must see' for any self-respecting rock fan.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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