Thursday, February 28, 2013

UFO + 4Bitten, Coal Exchange, Cardiff, 26/02/13

45 years on and the consumate professionals keep delivering the goods. UFO are one of the great British hard rock acts that have refused to die time and time again, and today they deserve a critical acclaim so often denied to them.
Tonight, yet again, they were simply magnificent. A great frontman in Phil Mogg with a never faltering voice, a top axeman in Vinnie Moore, their master sticksman Andy Parker, Paul Raymond the musical magician and a fine bass player in Rob de Luca. All this watched by a healthy crowd of around 1,000 on a bitterly cold evening in Cardiff Bay.
But before them, we had the rather good 4Bitten who supported the MSG 3 years ago on their UK jaunt. From the Rocksector Records stable, they have an album out called Delirium, and it's well worth a listen - very much down the line hard rock.
4 Bitten front woman, Fofi Roussos

If I have a criticism, they could do with an image makeover, the 4 band members looked like they were from 4 different bands.

And then, it was time for the main men. No intro tape, no announcement, no backdrop, just get on the stage and deliver 90 minutes of rock heaven.


Mr Phil Mogg, the ever present frontman

Vinnie Moore - superb

More Moggy

So what did they play? Well it's the staple 'Strangers In The Night' set supplemented by 3 from the latest CD, 'Seven Deadly Sins', Venus from 'Walk On Water' and Hell Driver from 'The Visitor'.

Set list

Lights Out
Mother Mary
Fight Night (you tube)
Let It Roll
Only You Can Rock Me (you tube)
Hell Driver
Love to Love
Burn Your House Down
Venus (you tube)
Too Hot To Handle
Rock Bottom
Doctor Doctor
Shoot Shoot

"I used to play with a Welshman....let's get really, really drunk"

More Vinnie

with Paul Raymond and Rob De Luca

There's pots more from the UK tour over on the unofficial UFO site here. And there's a decent review in the Welsh regional press as well (01/03/13) here, which is very complimentary and doesn't smack of 'old farts playing old metal', which we get too often.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Triaxis + Sepulchre + Beggarman's Beard, Hog and Hosper, Pontypool, 16/02/13

Another excellent night with the superb Triaxis ably supported by 2 up and coming bands at the rocking Hog and Hosper pub in Pontypool.
First up were Beggarman's Beard, a heavy, Nirvana soundalike, three piece from Gloucestershire, who entertained the faithful for 30 mins or so.

Beggarman's Beard

Following these were the even heavier Sepulchre with their doom, death and grind metal, a bit too heavy for moi, but the Swansea four piece were a good addition to the bill nonetheless.
Main act Triaxis have yet to fail to deliver to my eyes and ears and tonight was no exception. In fact, it was probably the best I've heard them.

With a set list now centred around 'Rage and Retribution', last year's follow up to 'Key To The Kingdom', the material has found a new maturity combining a classic British metal sound with dark, dark lyrics.

Set list (approx)

Sand And Silver
Under Blood Red Skies
Gates Of Damnation (you tube)
Sker Point
Some Things Are Worth Dying For (you tube)
And Shadows Creep (you tube)
Black Trinity

No Maiden covers tonight, but another loud and proud set from this polished 5 strong outfit.
They next play in Wales at Odin's, Ebbw Vale, Friday 26 April.

Triaxis...if you hadn't guessed already


Friday, February 15, 2013

Empire Of Fools, Merton Archer Band plus Richard Gardner, Steelhouse, 08/02/13

It was good to see the Steelhouse nights kick off for 2013 with three excellent acts bringing their sound to 'The Welfare'.
First up was local lad Richard Gardner warming up the early birds with his guitar/singer set, then we had experienced 4 piece, The Merton Archer Band, who gave a classic rocking sound including covers of Cream, Jethro Tull, Glenn Hughes, I think you get the picture. They were very good.
Main act of the night were Bristol's Empire Of Fools, who also should have been a four piece but played one light on the evening, and it showed as the sound seemed a little unfilled. But they're talented no doubt, and I look forward to seeing them again. Check them out on the my space link above.

Empire Of Fools plus guest
Away from the stage the main talking point was the launch of the Steelhouse Festival to be held Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th of July at Hafod-y-Dafal Farm, Aberbeeg Near Ebbw Vale.
The stunning news being confirmed was that one of the headliners is legendary guitarist Michael Schenker (ex UFO and Scorpions).

Rumours also spread around the club that the other headliner would be none other than NWOBHM legends Saxon, and this has now been confirmed.

Saxon on stage in Bristol in 2009

This has to be one of the best value festivals around, a full weekend of great rock for just £65, details here. Me? I'm already in. It'll be great.