Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Saxon @ Rams Head Live 5/15/2015

Went to see aging New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) rockers Saxon at Rams Head Live, and saw Ariel y Ilen, Gori y Omar, Neil n Michelle (and brood!), dude. Ariel's friend, Miss sketchyLindsey, Lyndsey, Blake, Dorothy, Chris Crazy-Wolf, Jay, Ray, and Maery and her husband, and of course Rock n Roll Experience! There was an opener (Cinder Road), but I got there after they were done.


There was not a huge turnout for the metal legends on this Friday, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately as a nice change from the oversold Nightwish show the night before. There were still a few hundred in attendance. The top floor/balcony was closed off, so this definitely was not a packed show at all (Capacity, about 1,500). This was my first time seeing Saxon ever, so I was very excited to cross these guys off my bucket list!

No Denim or Leather

Merch wise, there a ridiculous $75 hoodie, $15 drum sticks, $25 baseball cap, an overpriced #10 lanyard, and some boring $30 shirts. I didn't purchase anything, but almost felt like I should, since they probably lugged it all the way from Britain. I don't think I saw any Cinder Road merch (apparently it was on the side of the stage?).

True metal warriors

Saxon on this tour is made up of grandma metal Biff Byford (vocals) and guitarist Paul Quinn as the original members, with Doug Scarratt (guitars), energetic Nibbs Carter (bass), and (I think) Nigel Glockler (drums). 

Whose jacket is that?

When Saxon finally started a little before 9:30, the older crowd was seeming to get a second wind, an was pretty loud! Biff and the boys sounded pretty strong, and apart from a few technical mix issues, were pretty consistent. Biff had some sort of echo on his vocals that seemed to go through cycles and be too much on some songs, and nigh perfect on others! I think that was really the only complaint soundwise. There were some younger fans, with their parents, present. At one point, someone threw a Saxon jacket on stage, and Biff wore it. Michelle stripped and got her signed Saxon vest up near the drum kit as well!

Pretty Spry
A little Headbanging

Biff is about 64 years old, and I was fearing that his running and jumping (!!) at some points during the show would cut it short! The bassist was the most energetic of all of them, and playing like a wildman! Thankfully I was completely wrong, and these leathery fathers of metal  kept up the pace for nearly all of their one and a half hour set. The twin guitar work was such sweet music to my ears, and was really the highlight of each song.

The crowd was pretty receptive, singing/shouting along, pumping fists, and a little headbanging. One enthusiastic girl near the left side of the stage was constantly moving, and even got a running start to headbang in place (I've never seen that, with all the shows I've been to). She was having a ball, and wasn't hurting anyone, so that's fine. I was feeling a little tired from last night and the long Baltimore drive myself, but these great songs did not permit my neck to rest.

Setlist wise, they played mostly hits and some oddities (The kind of lame "This Town Rocks", newer songs the excellent "Sacrifice" and the decent "Battalions of Steel"). Of course we would have loved "Strong Arm of the Law," "Never Surrender," "Broken Heroes," etc. but there is only so much time and so many songs from 20 (!) albums to choose from! A pretty rock solid set, all things considered.

Overall: A pretty solid show, but lacking the energy that Nightwish and Sabaton brought to Silver Spring. It was great seeing Biff and the boys live and loud, but couldn't they have chosen an opener, or even a closer location than godforsakenBaltimore? Regardless, I would definitely recommend seeing the true metal of SAXON again, no question.

Next show: AMARANTHE

Saxon (9:20- 10:49)

  • Motorcycle Man 
  • Sacrifice 
  • Power and the Glory 
  • And the Bands Played On 
  • To Hell and Back Again 
  • Solid Ball of Rock 
  • This Town Rocks 
  • Dallas 1 PM 
  • 20,000 Ft 
  • The Eagle Has Landed 
  • Battalions of Steel 
  • Princess of the Night 
  • Crusader 
  • Heavy Metal Thunder 

  • Wheels of Steel 
  • Denim and Leather 
Updated Cinder Box to Cinder Road. OOPS