The Mighty SAXON…the gentlemen metalheads from South Yorkshire, England are Biff Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt on guitar, Nibbs Carter on bass and Nigel Glocker (drums). SAXON was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to come out of the underground in the late 70’s along with bands like GIRLSCHOOL, MOTÖRHEAD, IRON MAIDEN and DEF LEPPARD.
As many of you probably know the guys started on the U.S. tour supporting MOTÖRHEAD with CROBOT. Unfortunately, frontman Lemmy became ill with altitude sickness. He performed several days later in San Antonio, and had to leave the stage and the band canceled the rest of their tour in the States taking CROBOT with them. We at A&GS wish him well and a speedy recovery, of course.
As a result, SAXON became the lone wolf headliner on an already scheduled tour. They went into action, working with the local venues and scheduling local bands ahead of them. One such place was Dallas, Texas. Here in Big D, the gig was moved from larger venue The Bomb Factory, to smaller (but no less awesome) club Trees, booking fortunate local bands BLACKOUT and MUTHALOAD to warm up the amps. Kudos to them for responding so quickly.
SAXON lit up the crowd with the hard-hitting title track from soon to be released Battering Ram (October 16 via UDR Music). The curtain opens, the band walks onto the stage in the dark…no big intro, the crowd goes crazy and within 20 seconds I was blown backward with the juggernaut of the title track only to be pushed from behind by the fans moving in toward the stage.
I was pinned in an all out blue collar metal assault at the stage and was enjoying every bit of it. This is one ass-kicking song. Thirty-five years and these guys don’t let up. This album I think will be one of their best. “Battering Ram” is released on video, so you need to check it out HERE.
The band followed up with “This Town Rocks”, “Sacrifice”, “Power and the Glory” and “Solid Ball of Rock”. All crowd pleasers and an excellent way to warm up the fans. I always love going to shows where the crowd knows the words to the songs; makes it that much better as everyone is really into the show and it’s a great way to connect.
The heavy metal assault continued with “Dallas 1pm”, which is a powerful tune about John F. Kennedy’s assassination in downtown Dallas in 1963. It is one of my personal favorites and was almost a sure bet to be included. “Backs to the Wall”, “Suzie Hold On”, “The Eagle Has Landed”, “Never Surrender” and “Heavy Metal Thunder” finished off the top ten soul-pounding onslaught. On and on: “Rock N Roll Gypsies” “Ride Like the Wind”, “747” (the band’s personal favorite), “Crusader”, “Princess of the Night”, “Wheels of Steel” and “Strong Arm of the Law” followed and the set ended with metal anthem “Denim and Leather”. What a great setlist of 19 songs!
I saw SAXON at the House of Blues Dallas several years ago, but nothing could compare to the very personal venue that is Trees. The Bomb Factory would have been great, but there is nothing like being at the stage, four feet from one of the most successful metal bands in the world. Prior to the show I had the good fortune to hang with the now headliners, for about an hour with about a half dozen fans, in the tour bus. SAXON played for us three songs, not yet released, off the new album. What a treat to be a part of that “mysterious secret” and I’m not talking.
The gentlemen of SAXON, and I will call them that, are cordial and warmly welcome their fans. It is nice they take time to appreciate them on a personal basis. The “class and kick ass” from the UK was in full form on Elm Street in Deep Ellum on Friday night.
I feel completely honoured (spelled that for my UK friends) to have met these incredible musicians, to shake their hands and not only get a taste of them doing what they do best, but also getting to spend some time with the guys just shooting the breeze, seeing the smiles on their faces and appreciation in their eyes. SAXON are heavy metal monsters with genuine class. They remember their roots, which is probably what has made them so successful for so long.
Cheers to one of the greatest heavy metal bands on the planet. In spite of the circumstances, they stepped up and took it like a band.