After 40 kickass years, the boys from the UK are still killing it. The Mighty SAXON did it again, but this time at Canton Hall (a nice venue I might add) in Big D. You would think that after seeing the boys from South Yorkshire four times already, I would have been bored. HELL NO. Not a chance. SAXON is one of my very favorite bands. I have affinity for groups who debuted from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. That raw and powerful, in your face attitude, with heavy power chords and killer riffs, just makes me squirm like a kid at a show full of Labrador puppies..
This was one show I was tail wagging happy to not only attend, but do the write up for A&GS. The last time I saw SAXON was at Trees Dallas of all places. I had a meet and greet, brought an axe and original album still in the clear plastic wrap (Denim and Leather) and got autographs (NO!, Not selling). The boys were on tour with MOTORHEAD. By the time the Dallas show rolled around, Lemmy (RIP) was beginning to have real health issues and they cancelled their show. As a result, SAXON moved from The Bomb Factory to Trees. Hey, whatever, I got to meet the band and spend some time in the tour bus visiting with them. So, hell yeah, I was excited to see them again.
It was cold and rainy out, but local band DREAMKEEPER warmed up the stage with about a 30 minute set list. It was my first time seeing these guys and they did a pretty decent job, plus they have a debut album coming out sometime soon. Secondly, local band BEZEL kicked some major butt and rocked the house. I’ve seen BEZEL before once or twice so they were familiar. Solid guys.
As noted in previous write ups here on A&GS, I think SAXON get better with every album. The last two Battering Ram and Thunderbolt to me were some of their best works. One would think that after 40+ years of \m/etal \m/ahem, it might be getting rather dull. These guys are anything but dull. SAXON is: Biff Byford (vocals), Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt (guitars), Nibbs Carter (bass) and Nigel Glockler (drums) and a shit load of dedicated fans who keep coming back for more. A tighter band you probably won’t find. These guys sounded incredible.
SAXON treated us to a twenty tune set list. With as many albums (twenty-two) that they have, how does one pick only twenty songs? It was a great diversity pulled from various efforts. Heading the set was the title track from their one, “Thunderbolt”. Nothing like blowing the doors off the place in the first four minutes. Always crowd pleasers, the boys cranked it up with “Sacrifice”, “Strong Arm of the Law”, “Wheels of Steel”, “Denim and Leather” and “Dallas 1PM”.
A surprise for the evening was “Frozen Rainbow” from their debut album. It is a relatively slow ballad and quite the unexpected mellow tune that they don’t typically play live. It’s quite the contrast to “They Played Rock n’ Roll” which is their tribute to MOTÖRHEAD. Really a great song, with that very fast MOTÖRHEAD vibe. This song is great on Thunderbolt, but live there is no comparison. Finishing up the night were “Crusader”, “Princess of the Night”, and “747 (Strangers in the Night)”
Byford can still belt out the vocals. Though not as strong as in the past, but hell, we are all getting older, but I’m still very impressed with him. A very solid and familiar frontman. Quinn and Scarratt are great question and answer axe players and never, never, never disappoint. Carter is all over the stage and so full of energy, slinging that long mane of his everywhere that you might think his head might go flying off the stage and Mr. Glockler on skins…one of the best around, driving a consistent beat and feel for these great artists.
Still one of the greatest rock and roll bands in my not so humble opinion, SAXON doesn’t seem to have an ending and after 42 years of headbanging, are truly legendary. Plus they have some pretty fucking cool t-shirts!! Salude’
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH/M EHRLICH PHOTOGRAPHY