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Carling Academy, Islington - 15 February 2008


Despite celebrating their 40th birthday and having influenced a range of acts from Guns n Roses to Jimmy Barnes, enduring Scottish rockers Nazareth oddly struggle for mass popularity in the UK; only just over 200 people attending this hastily organized London show.

Star of the show as ever was vocalist Dan McCafferty, who at over 60 still has his sandpaper voice intact, not to mention an improbably thick head of greying curls. It was something of a shock to the system though to see him swigging mineral water.

Guitarist Jimmy Murrison fits the Nazareth sound perfectly, though I wished he would engage more with the audience, and father and son Pete and Lee Agnew provide an inevitably tight rhythm section.


Opening with Beggars Day, moments after me and a friend lamented we had never seen it played live, they mixed the usual favourites such as Razamanaz, This Flight Tonight, My White Bicycle and the slide guitar overload of Bad Bad Boy, with less predictable tracks like Whisky Drinkin' Woman, although I could have done without the reggae-flavoured Big Boy.

Yet they also heavily plugged their forthcoming album The News, their first in a decade. The likes of the hard rocking Keep on Travelling, Day at the Beach with a guitar sound that reminded me of the Black Crowes, and the commercial chorus of Enough Love all stood up well against their back catalogue.

No Nazareth gig would be complete without McCafferty's passionate treatment of Love Hurts, then the killer riff of Hair of the Dog, with the singer playing a bagpipe solo, though Expect No Mercy was a surprise set closer.

Their breakthrough hit Broken Down Angel sent the crowd home with a singalong and although the set was a disappointing 85 minutes, there is plenty of life in these veterans yet.


Review and photos by Andy Nathan

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