Monday, April 29, 2013

Saxon + The Quireboys, O2 Academy, Bristol, 28/04/13

British legends Saxon have going for more years than they'd care to admit but tonight they delivered a stunningly powerful set, which can compare with anything their younger counterparts could manage.

Promoting their Sacrifice album, the set drew heavily early on from the new material, but later on it was sing a long time with all the older classics getting a good airing.

First up though were The Quireboys (I missed Redline) who I've seen many times almost unintentionally, but they rarely disappoint. If you close your eyes, you hear all the Small Faces influence as they make their way through the honky tonk rockers, rounded off with Hey You and 7 O'clock. They did a fantastic warm up job.

The Quireboys

And then it was time from the main men. The O2 Academy in Bristol was rightly packed for these British heavy metal legends - what a revival they've had in the last 10 years, after the doldrums of the 90s, when they'd play to audiences of 250 sometimes.

Nibbs Carter and Biff Byford

They've never sold out. Always combining classic rock riffs with influences from the newer strains of metal. The new album, Sacrifice, is much in that vain, and it's the title track which kicks us off tonight.

Nibbs with Doug Scarratt

In fact, the new album is featured heavily with Made In Belfast, Guardians Of The Tomb, Stand Up And Fight and Wheels Of Terror all getting an airing.

Riffmaster, Paul Quinn

But it was the old classics which got the most enthusiastic receptions: Never Surrender, And The Bands Played On, Heavy Metal Thunder, Dallas 1PM, Strong Arm Of The Law, The Power And The Glory, 747 Strangers In The Night and finally Princess Of The Night.

Quite simply, superb.

This is a band as good as they've ever been, and it's pleasing to see them getting the size of audiences they deserve. Catch them as the headliners of the Steelhouse Festival in July.

...thank you...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Absolva + Triaxis + Spiral Dive, Odin's Rock Club, Hilltop, Ebbw Vale, 26/04/13

It was a heavy, heavy night up at Odin's Rock Club, now relocated in the unlikely surroundings of the Sports and Social Club on the Hilltop estate in Ebbw Vale, with 4 acts of frantic riffage to entertain the faithful on a cold April evening.

Spiral Dive

I missed the first act, so 4 piece Spiral Dive were on by the time I got there.

Taking their cue from Black Sabbath, Ozzy and Zak Wylde's Black Label Society, they entertained the mainly seated crowd for 35 loud minutes, even giving us a burst of 'Symptom Of The Universe'.


Next up were Steel Daff favourites, Triaxis. With a triumphant Hammerfest appearance behind them, their fan base is growing, and so it should be with 2 fabulous Long Players out there (old school see), and motorway mileage which would put a travelling salesman to shame.

Frontwoman Krissie Kirby

Tonight they overcame some technical difficulties to deliver a 40 minute set based largely upon their latest output, Rage and Retribution - all bar 'Lies', although 'Sker Point' has been a set staple for some time. Namely, Sand and Silver, And Shadows Creep, Under Blood Red Skies etc.

Solo monster Glyn Williams

Pleasingly, Triaxis attracted the largest standing audience of the evening, and by the time 'Black Trinity' had left our ringing ears (complete with 'The Trooper' refrain), an appreciate reception was given.

Giles (drums), Owen (bass) and Glyn

The female front: CJ (guitar) and Krissie

Owen and Glyn


Headline act for the evening were Absolva. Formed from the ashes of Fury UK, Luke Appleton has moved on to be the bassist in Iced Earth, Absolva are stablemates of Triaxis on the Rocksector Record label. Brother Chris is the main man here and has formed a new act who combine material from their album, 'Flames of Justice' with material from Fury UK.

Absolva main man, Chris Appleton

Tom Atkinson and Chris

To be frank it was a disappointing crowd for such a good band, with several punters disappearing at around the 11 o'clock time that Absolva came on.

They certainly hit you hard, and their power could have filled a much bigger (and better) venue.

Bassist, Dan Bate

So with ears ringing, it was out into the cold of the mountain air, a balmy 2C in late April. Brrr.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock, O2 Academy, Bristol, 17/04/13

Legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker brought his 'Temple Of Rock' tour to Bristol on this Wednesday evening and delighted the gathered crowd with a selection of material from his former years in the Scorpions, UFO and the MSG, as well as the current incarnation.

Live Scorpions: Francis Buchholz and Michael Schenker

with Doogie White on vocals

The first part of the set contained mainly MSG material such as Into The Arena, Assault Attack, Armed and Ready, Attack of the Mad Axeman, and from the Bonnet era, Rock My Nights Away.

from the classic Scorps line-up: Buchholz and Herman 'the German' Rarebell

The main man

the band with Wayne Findlay on keyboards

The Scorpions material showcased included Lovedrive, Another Piece Of Meat, Holiday, Rock You Like A Hurricane and Blackout.

The latter part of the set was mostly UFO numbers such as Only You Can Rock Me, Let It Roll, Too Hot To Handle, Lights Out, Rock Bottom and, of course, to close, Doctor Doctor.

All in all a superb night of classic rock, played by some of the finest in the genre (there's years of experience there). Here's to the next time, which will be on a mountain somewhere high above Ebbw Vale at the Steelhouse Festival, where they headline the Sunday night.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ebbw Vale 66 Glamorgan Wanderers 17, SWALEC Championship, 23/04/13

Ebbw Vale secured another league title, that of the inaugural SWALEC Championship, by hammering the Wanderers and running in 10 tries.

There were joyous scenes at the final whistle as the Championship trophy was presented in front of the faithful Ebbw Addicts:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ebbw Vale 36 Cardiff Met University 6, SWALEC Championship, 13/04/13

Ebbw Vale overcame miserable overhead conditions and a mudbath of a pitch to outplay the students of Cardiff Met Uni (UWIC), and take another huge step towards the SWALEC Championship title.
With Bargoed losing at Blackwood, Ebbw now need just 12 more league points and could clinch the title at Llanharan next Saturday.
Today, the Steelmen had too much forward power for the plucky visitors to cope with. The pack was magnificiently led by captain and Man of the Match, Damien Hudd, whilst half back Dai Jones and Josh Lewis were constantly sniping around, after holes had been punched by the rampant back row, especially No 8 Spencer Gibson.
Ebbw scored 6 tries, Gibson, Jones, Ronnie Kynes, Will Owen, Wes Cunliffe and Lewis.


The next home match is on Tuesday at home to Blackwood.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Corralejo, Fuerteventura, 26/03 - 06/04/13

Some pics from the 2nd half of our Easter holiday in Corralejo, Fuerteventura.

The resort


The villa

The booze


 The food

The bands

in Rock Island Bar... Corner Rock...

...and in the Rock Cafe

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Madrid, 22/03/13 - 26/03/13

Ok, some here's some pics from Part 1 of our Easter holiday, 4 days in Madrid.
The Bear and the Strawberry Tree in Puerta del Sol

Palacio Real

Everything in Spain is measured from 'zero kilometros'

El Mercado in Cava de San Miguel

Now this is a starter: Garlic Soup with belly pork and a fried egg

Botin's - officially the oldest restaurant in the world (est 1725)

A 'small' beer
Real Madrid CF

A few of the 9 European Cups

CR7's spot in the dressing room

On the metro

Rugby? In Madrid? At Marca Sports Cafe.


An energy fix

The world famous Museo del Prado

Our sort of bar

Some late night paella