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Shepherds Bush Empire, London
23 April 2011
enjoyable St George's Day Massacre started, for some, at 4pm when 20 or
so fans (Myself included) were allowed to watch the soundcheck, and
spend some time with the band chatting, getting autographs, photos and
raised over £2000 for charity over the tour and will be taking the idea
on the world tour. But also chatting with the band, who have a lot of
time for their fans, it's just one of many reasons I love them so much.
An uncomfortably hot day, some refreshment was in order and I was able
to catch up with fellow GRTR! scribes Mark and Noel and Classic Rock's
Dave Ling before the show.
usual delays in the queue meant that we missed the first couple of
Fury UK songs, but they have come on well since I last saw them. A
hard metal take on some classic metal riffs – the odd hint of Dio to the
guitars here and there. The band have a new album out and are about to
tour Europe – going from strength to strength.
Wolfsbane have, after a couple of one-off reunions, fully
reformed. With a new EP available from their website and album under
way, it's full steam ahead.
This manic 4
piece (drummer in a sparkly suit playing madly) had a lot of fun despite
a sound problem or two, but Blaze Bayley did his best to get the crowd
going. The new track 'Did It For The Money' went down well, as did the
classic 'All Hell's Breaking Loose Down At Little Kathy Wilson's Place'.
All fears of
attendance being affected by the Easter weekend were put to the sword
when Saxon took to the stage, Saxon in London on St George's Day
is now fast becoming a successful tradition and the number of George
Cross flags on display proved that.
opening number 'Hammer Of The Gods' (the opening track of the
forthcoming new album) the band were as blistering as the crowd's
track 'Heavy Metal Thunder' saw the first of three George Cross flags
thrown onto the stage and dutifully draped over the drum kit by singer
frontman, Byford not only sings well but he talks with the crowd, he
connects with everyone, he holds stage, band and crowd as one. It's hard
to believe he's now 60, he sounds, looks and acts in better shape than
some singers half his age.
Surrender' was the first of several tracks from 1981's Denim & Leather,
which is celebrating its 30th anniversary; 'Play It Loud' from the album
getting a rare airing too.
Back to the
new album for 'Back In 79' which, like other tracks from the 00s, fits
in to the live set seamlessly despite being significantly different on
rocked, bassist Nibs Carter is a real powerhouse and drummer Nigel
Glockler on fantastic form too. Guitarists Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn
both soloed and traded riffs with aplomb.
that Saxon can mix new and old so well, mix things up in every set list
perfectly, and they still managed to miss out the 90s completely.
was a moment for everyone, from the modern metal and progressiveness to
the early 80s singalongs of 'Wheels Of Steel' and '747'.
like 'When Doomsday Comes' proved that the new album ‘Call To Arms' is
going to be popular.
I was able to chat with the whole band, as well as Blaze Bayley and Fury
UK after the show, which rounded off a damn fine evening.
Hammer Of The Gods/ Heavy Metal Thunder/ Never Surrender/ Motorcycle
Man/ Back In ‘79/ Got To Rock To Stay Alive/ Dallas 1pm/ Call To Arms/
Atilla The Hun/ Demon Sweeny Todd/ Battalions Of Steel/ And The Bands
Played On/ Man And Machine/ Eagle Has Landed/ Play It Loud/ When
Doomsday Comes/ To Hell And Back Again/ Denim And Leather/ Princess Of
Encore 1 - Crusader/747 (Strangers In The Night)
Encore 2 - Bass solo / Strong Arm Of The Law/ Guitar solo / Wheels Of
Gig review (Leamington)
Taylor writes: For the forth year in a row Saxon played on
St.George's Day and - what with it being on a Saturday, on a sorching
Bank Holiday weekend and on top of that it just so happens to be fellow
GRTR! contributer Jim Rowland's birthday - today had a feeling of 'El
Classico' all about it.
entertainment started early in the afternoon next door at the Aussie
hangout the Walkabout. Upstairs Fury UK were playing an acoustic
set in aid of the 'Help For Heroes' campaign. The three piece played
some new numbers from the 'A Way Of Life' album and sounded pretty nifty
too with 'Children Of The Sea' thrown in for good measure.
auction of goodies there was some tomfoolery antics from Metal Ed giving
us some AC/DC classics. I listened outside at the front whilst chatting
to old and new buddies whilst soaking up the sun.
was full of Saxon fans as well as QPR fans who were also in the
Walkabout who had just seen there team earn a valid point towards
promotion with a game against Cardiff which was shown on the big screen.
Everybody was in a good mood and the beer was going down fine.
By now the
skies had turned a little grey and the rain came down followed by a
rumble. Yes there was heavy metal thunder in the air.
to an Italian restaurant across the Green to celebrate Rowland's
birthday where our party was sitting opposite and only a roll throw away
from Saxon guitarist Doug Scarratt.
Once we had
filled ourselves and shared much jovial banter it was time to catch some
of the newly refomed Tamworth terriers Wolfsbane. The hairlines
may have receded and the waistlines thickened but the original four
piece were still a blast. Couldn't believe it myself, but the last time
I saw Wolfsbane was at the old Marquee Club in Wardour Street all the
way back in 1987.
are one of the first bands listed under the term 'Heavy Metal' and what
a pulsating set they delivered. It was the best I've seen from the band
at this venue and with a cluster of classics at the end of the set,
Saxon blew the roof off the Empire.
With a great
headbanging set like that, there was no way was the night was going to
simply end there. The O'Neil's pub on the other side of the Empire was
ram packed with Saxon fans sharing stories of the night.
boozer was closed I dragged Rowland and his partner Zelda back to my
gaff for some more Saxon and plenty of Deep Purple. It was a long
night with myself finally crashing out not too long before 7.47am (I was
no longer a stranger in the night). The following day ,we sat in the
sun- Woah!....And the bands played on.
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