The Kentucky Headhunters at the O2 ABC2, Glasgow 10 Oct 2017

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Last Tuesday evening, I boarded the 5:25 to Glasgow accompanied by a new victim…sorry chaperone…. Let’s call him Mr A.  Much to my amusement, he commented several times that he was “scared, very scared.” I’ve no idea why! Lol

We were headed to perhaps the smallest show in my gig calendar this year. We were off to see The Kentucky Headhunters at Glasgow’s O2 ABC2, the tiny wee room.

When we arrived at the venue…have I mentioned before that the O2 ABC is my favourite venue?… there were two distinctly different queues forming. To the left was the longer queue for Gary Numan. To the right was the shorter more eclectic queue for the Kentucky Headhunters.

Shortly after seven the doors opened and we headed upstairs and into the dimly lit ABC2. Maybe Mr A was right to be afraid? Hee hee….

There were three bands on the bill for the evening. The first up were The Swamp Born Assassins, a local Glasgow band. These guys apparently have a loyal following of “Swampers” and the room was already filling up rapidly. They delivered a “swampy” set. The sound wasn’t the best to be honest. I’m not sure whether they were trying to channel their inner Delta blues vibe or where they thought they were going. It all seemed a little sloppy and rough around the edges for my personal taste but the “Swampers” behind me seemed to appreciate it. We’ll chalk this one up to experience.

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Next up were Bad Touch. I’d seen these boys from Norfolk support the Headhunters last year so had high expectations.

Bad Touch didn’t disappoint! This quintet sound so much better live than they do on CD and they sound pretty damn good on there too. They delivered a solid support set, encouraging the fans to cheer for the headliners and politely thanking the Headhunters for having them out with them again.

Highlights for me personally were 99% and Wise Water. Front man, Stevie Westwood, revealed that the Headhunters had asked that they add a song back into their set for the evening. Curiosity aroused, I waited with bated breath to hear what was coming next. Cue an awesome rendition of Whole Lotta Love before Bad Touch rounded things off with The Mountain. Eargasmic!

Almost as an afterthought, Stevie announced that it was guitarist, Seeks’ birthday, prompting a roudy rendition of Happy Birthday to the grinning birthday boy. Where was the cake???

Great set! Loved it! And, yes, Stevie, I still have complete hair envy!

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It might have taken the Kentucky Headhunters some thirty plus years to reach Glasgow, Scotland as opposed to Glasgow, Kentucky but these guys are making up for lost time. The four Southern rock giants may be older than your average band playing only their second UK tour but boy do they pack a punch! From the smile on Greg Martin’s face and the impish grin displayed by Dan Phelps, they were enjoying their return to the ABC2 almost as much as the fans.

Their all too short set (circa 80 minutes) covered tracks reaching back to their early days. Wearing his omnipresent shades, Richard Young told tales of how most of the songs came about, reminisced about their late friend Johnnie Johnson whose songs featured on the Meet Me In Bluesland album and, of course, reminded the crowd of just how proud they were of those youngsters, Black Stone Cherry. (Richard Young is the very proud daddy of one John Fred Young)

Watching Headhunters’ drummer Fred Young execute his drum solo, its clear to all  just who taught John Fred Young all he knows! Where does this man get his energy from? He’d put drummers half his age to shame with the energy and power of his performance. Superb!

Fans enjoyed Headhunters favourites Dumas Walker and Wishin’ Well amongst many others. They were treated to rousing renditions of classic tracks Davy Crockett, House Of The Rising Sun and my personal favourite, Spirit In The Sky. Love it!

Sadly all good things have to come to an end. To bring the evening to a close, the Headhunters were joined on stage, same as last year, by the boys from Bad Touch to bring the evening to a climax with a crowd-pleasing version of Hey Jude. Na na na, nananana, nananana, Hey Jude!

Hurry back, boys! And, judging from the smile on Mr A’s face and the twinkle in his eyes, he may be back on the rail with me next time too!

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Alter Bridge at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin 07 Oct 2017

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Last Saturday I flew to Dublin to catch Alter Bridge’s show at the Olympia Theatre.

After the  rave reviews  their summer visit to the Emerald Isle received I was excited to be seeing them perform in this intimate venue. (It holds circa 1250)

As I mentioned in my earlier review of the show at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, I suspect that this leg of the tour should be renamed “The Ornate Last Hero Tour”.

Humour me a moment. I love old Victorian theatres. Love the cornicing, the balconies and private boxes and the gilt edging. The Olympia Theatre is stunning inside! It was like being inside a room made out of fancy piped Royal icing.

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Settled on the rail for the evening, I waited with bated breath for this sold out show to commence.

As Lions opened the evening with a similar set to the one they played a couple of nights previously. It might have been my imagination but front man, Austin Dickinson (yes, he’s Bruce Dickinson’s son) seemed to have reined it in a bit.

This quintet delivered a punchy energetic performance and soon had the crowd on side. You can almost excuse Austin’s imitation of his iconic father as he pours his heart and soul into proceedings. Highlight for me this time was Bury My Dead.

Solid effort, boys.

The lights dimmed, the familiar intro tape played and the crowd cheered wildly.

Alter Bridge were in the room!

They opened their eighteen song set with a storming version of Farther Than The Sun. Right from the off, the band seemed at ease and in playful good humour. Before Tomorrow Comes followed slickly on then one of my favourites, Ghost Of Days Gone By.

The Irish fans were in fine voice and the floor was bouncing under my feet.

Broken Wings made a return to the set two songs later. This was only the second time I’d heard this song played live and it was every bit a stunning as I recalled it sounding four years ago.

A few songs later, Myles announced that they were going to play something that they hadn’t played for almost ten years. (I believe its actually around seven years) – Burn It Down, from the One Day Remains album. Great song and the fans were ecstatic at hearing it again. Hope it stays on the set for a while.

Next Mark Tremonti stepped up to the mic to take the lead on Waters Rising. As ever, he poured his heart and soul into the song.

Myles was then passed his acoustic guitar by the faithful Ian Keith. As he chatted to the fans, he revealed that his parents were in the box to his right, just above where I was standing. Their presence earned them a huge appreciative cheer from the fans. With a glint of mischief in his eyes, Myles declared that this was a “bit like Simon and Garfunkel for them” and that this song was for them. For the rest of us, it was Watch Over You. Watching Myles sing this beautiful ballad to his mum and dad was a truly magical moment. Probably the best rendition I’ve had the pleasure to hear. I’m pretty sure it was met with parental approval.

Decibel levels were restored as  the acoustic interlude was followed by the thunderous Ties That Bind.

As ever, Blackbird was a high point of the night. Perhaps it  was the fact that the band had family with them or perhaps it’s just that Blackbird is an amazing song but this too was an emotionally charged moment.

Open Your Eyes has gradually worked its way back through the set but remains as popular as ever with all present.

As he introduced Metalingus, Myles told his folks to watch as something special was about to happen. Mid-song and in a playful frame of mind, Myles had the fans on each side of the room sing off against each other then, as is now the norm, had us all crouch down ready to jump up on his cue. Another magical moment that I’m pretty sure Mr & Mrs Kennedy appreciated.

Show Me A Leader rounded off the main set.

As the band stepped off stage momentarily, the fans kept cheering and singing. When the band returned for their final three song encore, Mark played a brief accompaniment to the fans chanting much to their delight.

The encore opened with The last Hero, a monster of a song live.

Myles calmed things down a bit with the beautiful In Loving Memory. This song is truly spine tingling and again there was barely a dry eye in the house.

The evening’s guitar duel followed. It was a close fought contest up on stage but I think it ended in a draw. Mark and Myles may beg to differ but Myles should have been allowed to win in front of his folks.

Much as I love Rise Today, for me it is always tinged with sadness as it signifies the end.

All too soon, the show was over. Picks were flicked out into the crowd (earlier in the evening Brian had even managed to get one up into the box where his family were seated), drumsticks were tossed and set lists handed to the lucky few. Sadly not me on this occasion…..someday.

Tired and happy and with a song in their hearts, the fans trooped out, heading towards Temple Bar to continue the party.

Probably the best Alter bridge show I’ve been to and most definitely well worth the 4.45am start to the day.

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Alter Bridge at the Usher Hall , Edinburgh 05 Oct 17

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Having spent the first part of the week sulking about having missed the shows at the Royal Albert Hall, it was with great expectations that I set off for the Usher Hall in Edinburgh.

With a rail space secured for the evening, I watched as this beautiful venue filled up behind me. (I have a theory that the band are playing the most ornate venues only on this short UK and Ireland run.)

As Lions opened proceedings for the evening. There is no denying the parental influence on this band. Fronted by Bruce Dickinson’s son, Austin, this quintet delivered an eight song set. If Mr Dickinson jr had done less talking (and swearing) it could easily have been nine. Don’t get me wrong, these guys have bags of potential and did an admirable job as the only support act for the evening but, at times, it felt as though Austin was trying too hard to imitate his father. He has a great voice but needs to find his own identity on stage.

Ten out of ten though for getting the crowd moving. Highlight was me personally was World On Fire. Great song.

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As the lights dimmed just after nine and the familiar intro tape played, the Usher Hall reverberated to chants of “Alter Bridge. Alter Bridge. Alter Bridge.”

Much to my great delight, they opened their two hour set with The End Is Here. First time I’ve heard this song played live and I sincerely hope it won’t be the last. A hidden gem from the early days. The smile on Myles Kennedy’s face said it all!

Alter Bridge had promised to deliver a different set for this second UK run of The Last Hero tour and they dug deep into the archives to the delight of the fans.

Their set opener was followed by a powerhouse trio of White Knuckles, Crows On A Wire and One Day Remains.

All four members of the band seemed relaxed and looked to be enjoying themselves. Perhaps it was because the pressure of those high profile London shows had lifted but the Scottish fans benefited from it.

I was relieved to see one of my personal favourites had remained on the set – Ghost Of Days Gone By. Love it! Flawless performance by all.

A disturbance in the crowd at the start of My Champion dampened the atmosphere momentarily and Myles articulated his personal feelings about unacceptable behaviour quite succinctly.

Waters Rising saw Mark Tremonti take the lead vocal next. Another faultless vocal performance from Mr Tremonti. It would be nice to hear him get a second song at some point in the future.

Then a second dream came true moment for me personally as Myles played both Wonderful Life and Watch Over You. Stunningly beautiful.

Myles was at his playful best during Metalingus. As is gradually becoming the norm, he had us all crouch down ready to jump up on his cue. He held us down there a long time! Jumping up was a bit of a challenge!

I don’t think there are any new words left to ably describe Blackbird. From the first note emotions are at a peak. The power and the passion that all members of the band pour into this song every single time is incredible. Goosebumps moment!

The main body of the set was rounded off with Open Your Eyes and Show Me A Leader.

 After a few moments of a breather (and time for the band to check up on young Cooper Marshall, Brian’s son, who was at the side of the stage with his toy swords) Alter Bridge returned for an encore that opened with the beautiful Cry Of Achilles. The third dream come true moment came next as the band played In Loving Memory. I’ll not lie…there was a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. So much raw emotion in one song.

So how do you follow that? Well, if you’re Mark and Myles you follow it with a guitar duel. I’m no musician but their prowess is incredible and not lost on my uneducated ears. Think we’ll call that one a Mark Tremonti win! Sorry, Myles.

As ever Alter Bridge brought the show to an end with Rise Today.

Incredible show in an incredibly beautiful venue.

Can’t wait to do it all again in Dublin in a couple days.

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Alter Bridge – Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities

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Having pre-ordered two different bundles (CD boxset and 4 piece picture disc vinyl) via Napalm Records way back in June, it feels like I’ve waited forever for this live album to be releases.

”Forever” lasted until 8 September, the release date for Alter Bridge’s Live At The O2 Arena + Rarities album.

We’ll come back to the Rarities bit in a moment.

Live At The O2 Arena is Alter Bridge’s third live album, following on the heels of the highly acclaimed Live In Amsterdam and Live At Wembley.

Personally, I feel that live albums are aimed more at the existing die-hard fan market then at the “gathering new fans” market. This record deserves to excel in both arenas.

Spread over two CDs, Alter Bridge treat their fans to the full seventeen song set as performed on the evening of 24 November 2016 at London’s iconic O2 Arena. The set itself is fairly balanced with songs from all five of the band’s studio albums and includes all the firm fan favourites. It’s a mammoth listen! The quality of the recording and production leave you feeling as though you are right there on the rail watching as well as listening.

There’s no question about the calibre of Alter Bridge’s performance on the night ( or on any other night for that fact) They nailed it! All four member’s contributions can clearly be heard consistently throughout the record. From Brian Marshall’s thundering bass to Mark Tremonti’s expertly executed guitars; from the pounding rhythm of Scott Phillips’ drums to the soaring vocals of Myles Kennedy- each is balanced perfectly here and complimented by the passionate voices of the 20 000 Alter Bridge fans in the audience.

I’m not going to break this review down to track by track level. We’d be here all night! This live record is an eargasmic listening experience and captures the vibe of the live show for all to enjoy again and again.

Two wee minor criticisms ( and they are minor). I’d have liked to hear a little more of Myles’ interaction  with the crowd between songs. He’s not as “chatty” as some frontmen but he’s not as distant as this album implies by it’s lack of chat.  My second  minor gripe is that the two bonus live tracks, Poison In Your Veins and My Champion (both recorded at Manchester Arena the night before) feel “stuck on” at the end here. Yes, I know they are bonus tracks and that they may have not made the cut for the London set list and did feature throughout the rest of the UK arena tour, but they are out of place here. Every Alter Bridge fan knows that when you hear Rise Today that the end of the night is rapidly approaching. I feel it should have been the final track on the live CD with the bonus live tracks perhaps sitting better on the third CD in the set, B-sides and Rarities.

The B-sides and Rarities CD , the third and final disc in the boxset, delivers eleven tracks, two of which have never been  heard before now, Cruel Sun and Solace, both from the One Day Remains era. With a haunting start, Cruel Sun is reminiscent of Soundgarden with hints of Myles’ earlier band The Mayfield Four. It’s an immense song but I can see why it wasn’t a natural fit on One Day Remains. Solace on the other hand  is a true gem of a track. Why has this awesome song been kept hidden for thirteen years, boys? I love it! I truly hope that Solace finally get its chance and finds its own niche in the band’s set. ..perhaps at the upcoming Royal Albert Hall shows? The remaining nine tracks have all appeared on either US Best Buy special editions, UK deluxe editions or Japanese special editions. Die hard fans may have already sourced these but it is fantastic to finally have them all gathered together on one CD. A CD that doesn’t sound like it is made up of B-sides. This CD could hold its own as an album in its own right. Leaves you wondering what else these boys have hidden in their archives?…..

All in all, this is an immense  sonic journey from the opening track on the first CD, The Writing On The Wall, to the last track on the third CD, Symphony Of Agony ( this was incorrectly titled Last Of Our Kind by the record label on the UK special edition of The Last Hero). Play it loud! Your neighbours will thank you for it!

 

10/10

Set List ( cd 1 & 2)

The Writing On The Wall

Come To Life

Addicted To Pain

Ghost Of Days Gone By

Cry Of Achilles

The Other Side

Farther Than The Sun

Ties That Bind

Waters Rising

Crows On A Wire

Watch Over You

Isolation

Blackbird

Metalingus

Open Your Eyes

Show Me A Leader

Rise Today

 

Bonus Tracks

Poison In Your Veins

My Champion

 

B-sides + Rarities

 

Breathe

Cruel Sun

Solace

New Way To Live

The Damage Done

We Don’t Care At All

Zero

Home

Never Born To Follow

Never Say Die (Outright)

Symphony Of Agony (Last Of Our Kind)

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(images sourced via Google- credits to their owners)

 

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The Cadillac Three – Legacy

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To be honest, I’m not sure how I first stumbled across The Cadillac Three but it’s safe to say I’ve had “Peace Love & Dixie” ringing my ears ever since! With tickets for their November show in Glasgow long since purchased, I’ve eagerly awaited the release of their third studio album, Legacy.

For those not in the know, TC3 are a trio who have known each other since high school, who hail from Nashville, Tennessee and who proudly play a 21st Century blend of rock’n’roll, Southern rock that’s all tied up with strands of country music.

Legacy was released on Big Machine Records on 25th August and boasts eleven tracks all written and produced by the boys in TC3 – Jaren Johnston (vocals/guitar), Kelby Ray (lap steel guitar) and Neil Mason (drums).

Opening track Cadillacin’ sets the tone right from the off. “It’s all about style. It’s all about cool.” The song is full of swagger and has a really catchy riff. Swathed in his trademark gravel tones, Jaren’s vocals add the perfect element of dirt here.

Boys, I’m in the passenger seat, buckled up and ready for the rest of the ride with this record!

If Legacy highlights one thing, it’s the maturity of TC3 and really puts the stamp -or should that be stomp- on their unique sound.

Current single, Dang If We Didn’t, manages to perfect a nigh on impossible feat in that it mixes a radio friendly, feel good vibe with genuine raw passion for the song. “Dang if we didn’t get drunk last night,” sings Jaren. By halfway through the song, I can taste the whiskey on my lips, see that shot of tequila getting lined up and am feeling the hangover approaching.. ha ha.

It’s fair to say that alcohol of one sort or another gets  a regular mention in many TC3 songs.

There are three tracks though on here that show a softer, more mature and even romantic side to these good ol’ boys.

Hank And Jesus is the first of those. A soft ballad reflecting on growing up. Hank is a certain Mr Williams and Jesus – well, you can work that one out. “Thank Daddy for Hank. Thank Mama for Jesus. Between the vinyl and the bible it was everything I needed.”

Love Me Like Liquor, featuring Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Lori McKenna, is a slow sultry (alcohol themed) ballad. Think last dance of the night. You know, the slow smoochy one. “Love me like liquor, touch me like tequila” and so the comparisons go on far into the night. Gorgeous.

Title track, Legacy, rounds things off. It’s stripped back and lays the emotions bare for all to see right from the start.  If there is one song that is the jewel in the crown of this album, this song is it. Their coming of age masterpiece

While I’ve perhaps highlighted the softer elements of Legacy, there’s still plenty of energy and swampy swaggering rock’n’roll on offer, particularly  in Tennessee and Demolition Man. TC3 can add the dirty riffs and groove fuelled stomp as good as the rest of them.

Do yourself a favour, fetch a drink, buy the album and crank up the volume. Your neighbours will love you for it.

 

10/10

 

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

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Iron Maiden at SSE Hydro, Glasgow 16 May 2017

It’s been six years since Iron Maiden played Glasgow and, I’ll be honest here, I swithered about going to see them this time round. However, common sense prevailed and tickets were duly procured.

Three firsts happened before we were even in the venue, Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena.

The first of these is that we made it to the car park without taking a wrong turn. (We miss that turn every time!)

The second was that Boy Child and I found ourselves queuing in warm, evening sunshine. (Every other time we’ve visited this venue it’s been cold, dark, windy and usually raining.)

And the third? Well, this was the first arena show I’d attended when it was just Boy Child and I. No chaperones. Just a mother and son outing.

As we queued in the sunshine, we counted up the number of shows we’ve been to together. This one marked the twenty sixth mother and son outing.

Doors were soon open though and the arena bowl beckoned us in once more.

Shinedown were the support band for the evening. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Shinedown fan but I have to admit that they had been a bit “off the boil” the last couple of times I’d seen them live so I was more than a little concerned as we stood a couple of rows off the rail.

Purple light swathed the huge Shinedown backdrop as the pa system played Prince (definite improvement from 2016’s meditation tape!) My concerns were still twitching a little however Shinedown blasted their way into their hour long set with Adrenaline. This was closely followed by Fly From Inside and, after a little vocal coaching for the crowd from Brent Smith, Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom). What an opening trio!

It was a joy to see these guys back on top form and commanding the stage. It’s a pity, certainly from where we were standing, that the audience weren’t more enthusiastic. C’est la vie!

Current single, How Did You Love, from the album Threat To Survival, slowed things down a little before Shinedown revved the crowd back up with Unity, Enemies, the awesome Second Chance and Cut The Cord.

Around us the arena was rapidly filling up and the crowd’s enthusiasm for these guys was growing with it.

All four members of Shinedown were in top form. It’s always a joy to behold Eric Bass’s frenetic performance and, yay I got a pick from this guy! Zach Myers made a few ventures over to our side of the room , looking all too like Ed Sheeran’s long lost brother. Up at the back on drums, Barry Kerch’s dreads were flying all night. Sign of a great performance.

All too soon Brent Smith was thanking the crowd, thanking Iron Maiden for having them along and introducing the epic Sound of Madness to close out their set.

It’s never goodbye. It’s just till next time. It sure is. We’ll be there next time for sure!

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The well-oiled machine that is the Iron Maiden stage crew swarmed all over the stage for the next half hour as they transformed the setting into Mayan ruins.

Shortly before nine, the lights dimmed once more and two video screens either side of the stage played an animation of Eddie journeying through the Mayan temple as the walls crashed down around him and us from the sound effects.

On stage, smoke billowed from a cauldron on the runway above the drum kit. The sconces were lit and the intro for If Eternity Should Fail began. Druid like, Bruce Dickinson emerged behind the cauldron, gazing into its smoking depths. His distinctive voice rang true over the capacity crowd. With a flash of lights and flames, the rest of Iron Maiden joined in and the Scottish fans went wild. The crowd around us erupted!

Iron Maiden’s fifteen song set was top heavy with tracks from their latest album, The Book Of Souls, as was to be expected. With a back catalogue as extensive as theirs, there may have been some fans who left a couple of hours later wishing that they’d played their favourite track. If they’d played everyone’s favourites these guys would have been playing till dawn.

Wrathchild and Children of the Damned proved that some thirty five years down the line they still stood the test of time. Both sounded as fresh as they did circa 1982.

Every member of Iron Maiden looked to be having a blast out on stage. If the band are enjoying themselves then you know you are in a for a hell of a night.

Dave Murray was positioned in front of us and was grinning all night. When Steve Harris bounded over there was a piercing intensity to his gaze as he scanned the throngs of fans in front of him. One thing all of them quickly had in common was the fact that the sweat was pouring off them. Iron Maiden play hard!

One of the highlights from The Book of Souls was The Red And The Black. It’s probably my personal  from the album and live it was awesome! All ten and a half minutes of eargasmic awesomeness.

The mighty The Trooper followed. With a patriotic Eddie backdrop, Bruce Dickinson emerged on the walkway above and behind drummer, Nicko McBrain, in his distinguished red military jacket waving a huge Union Jack flag. As he prowled the huge stage, the Scottish fans proved they were still in fine voice.

Title track from the album The Book Of Souls saw the arrival on stage of Eddie. Wielding a short handled axe, he roamed the stage menacingly, pausing for a few moments to “play” with Janick Gers who ran rings round the towering Eddie as he sprinted round through his legs in taunting circles. Eventually Eddie came face to face with Bruce, who after a short tussle, ripped his heart from his chest and held his trophy aloft for the fans to see. Awesome performance with just the right level of gruesome theatricals.

Fear Of The Dark, my all time favourite Maiden song, followed. The gentle hi hats from Nicko introduced the immediately recognisable intro. Instantly, the fans were singing along to it. Bruce’s voice sounded as strong as ever as the crowd erupted into a writhing mass in front of him. Glasgow sure does love this song!

“Scream for me, Scotland,” declared Bruce at the end of Fear Of The Dark. He didn’t need to ask twice. The fans obliged at a deafening volume as the band launched into the final song of the main set , Iron Maiden.

With red eyes blazing,  a Mayan Eddie head emerged at the back of the stage. The flaming sconces remained lit and Iron Maiden rounded out their main set as energetically as they had begun.

After a brief pause, Iron Maiden returned to the stage for a three song encore. The iconic voice over tape echoed round the arena, introducing encore opener The Number Of The Beast, another anthem that has stood the test of time. As huge flames shot up into the air behind him, Bruce led the Glasgow choir once more. Behind Janick Gers, the huge inflatable horned Beast gazed down menacingly upon proceedings.

Blood Brothers followed before Iron Maiden brought the evening to a climax with Wasted Years. Awesome end to an incredible set.

I’ll not lie here, I was totally wasted after this. My legs were like jelly and the world was beginning to spin through dehydration and heat exhaustion. Down at the front of the crowd, it had been hot as hell, sweaty and odorous (thanks to the guy in front of me who really needed to check his underwear) and it had been a boisterous two hours. I was battered and bruised (I’m still bruised) but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Don’t leave it another six years, guys, please. Haste ye back!

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Biters – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Biters cover

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be is Atlanta quartet, Biters, latest album. Released on 19th May via Earache Records it’s a long anticipated follow up to 2015’s critically acclaimed Electric Blood.

This record is not so much an album to be added to your collection but is a musical time machine.

Biters take their listeners on a whirlwind 33 minute, 10 stop trip through the 1970’s with a foray into the 1980’s.

The first stop is Let It Roll. Instantly catchy. Toe tapping. This is a strong choice for an opening track and sets the scene nicely for the journey ahead.

Stone Cold Love that follows is a stronger choice of track, launching the listener into the glam rock hey day of the 1970’s. Vocalist Tuk Smith is definitely channelling his inner Marc Bolan here. Love this track.

A couple of songs further along our sonic journey and we voyage into the mid-1980’s. There’s a distinctive pop vibe in the air. Perhaps a swing away from their rock roots but Don’t Turn This Good Heart Bad is a first rate, radio friendly tune with perhaps a hint of Brian Adams. A subtle diversion from the classic sounds of the 1970’s that these boys excel at.

The next track Gypsy Rose is one of my personal favourites on this album. This is a classic 1970’s stomp. It’s Sweet, Mud, Slade and the Bay City Rollers all squeezed into 3 mins 8 secs of prime glam rock. Having had the pleasure of seeing Biters live last month, this is a monster live that the Glasgow fans lapped up. Love it!

The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be is full of surprises. One of these is Vulture City. Just when you think you’ve got Biters’ genre sussed, they toss in a dose of punk. This one oozes anger and angst. Right from the off, the head’s nodding to this one. Great track.

Biters change the mood with the following song and slow things down with Hollywood. Love the piano intro here. Hollywood is a powerful sweeping ballad. Tuk’s vocals are raw and emotion filled. Who doesn’t dream of a star on Hollywood Boulevard? Beautiful.

When I saw Biters supporting Blackberry Smoke last month, the final song on this record was on the set list. The audience were treated to a story of how this song came into being after a few drunken band adventures or should that be mis-adventures in Helsinki before finally boarding their flight home. Goin’ Back To Georgia is the only track, in my humble opinion, to hint at their southern rock roots. You can take the boy out of Atlanta….well you know the rest! This is a gentle ballad. It’s an emotional song about going home, something every weary traveller the world over can relate to. Stunning song to bring our time travelling to an end.

This record takes you on an incredible sonic journey spanning decades and, quite simply, I love it.

 

10/10

Biters

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