The British Invasion Tour of 2017 featuring UFO and Saxon,with special guests Jared James Nichols pulled it’s proverbial trigger at Scout Bar in Houston Tx, March 9th. Nichols and his power trio primed the crowd of over 200 with their particular brand of rockin blues. Guaranteeing this Texas audience will remember Nichols name.
As the predominantly standing room only venue filled close to capacity, Scout Bar went dark and a palpable anticipation filtered through the room. With strains of AC/DC accompanying them, Saxon took the stage to a roar of approval at approximately 8:45pm.
Opening their set with the title track from 2015’s Battering Ram ,the vocals of singer Peter “Biff” Byford are as powerful and recognizable as it was in 1977 when Saxon was conceived.
Guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt deliver crackling, chewy, crisp , tandem guitar licks. Nibbs Carter is a constant deep surge of bass playing rock and roll undulation. Nigel Glockler keeps a warriors cadence from deep behind his drum set, all but hidden from view.
With twenty-one studio albums to choose from, Saxon managed to select thirteen songs to strongly represent their forty year career span. This photographer-reviewer was given a set list that varies depending on where the band is playing, what dates etc.., but on this night in Houston the set list was:
This Town Rocks
Power And The Glory
Rock and Roll Gypsies
Queen Of Hearts
Heavy Metal Thunder
Princess Of The Night
Our Houston crowd was beyond receptive to everything Saxon fed us. Classics such as “Power and Glory” hit us all with sweet nostalgia while the latest release “Battering Ram” lived up to it’s name in the best possible way. Engaging and approachable, taking time to truly connect with their audience, it was over entirely too quickly.
After what seemed to be a fairly prolonged unfortunate series of technical difficulties,headliner UFO finally stormed their stage at approximately 10:15 pm. The band is touring to promote their newest album A Conspiracy Of Stars as well as deliver their much beloved classics. An eagerly awaiting sea of the British band’s fans were served up “Long Gone” to kick off the set.
Frontman and original member Phil Mogg still has the energy and power to deliver the vocal goods as well as a sense of humor during his audience interactions.
Simultaneously rocking both the keyboard and delivering his recognizable left handed guitar style, Paul Raymond made a few very brief appearances from behind the keyboard much to the audience’s delight. Vinnie Moore’s diabolic guitar wizardry screamed and ripped while bassist Rob De Luca’s smooth bottomless baritone thrums throughout. On drums, original member Andy Parker’s infectious beat kept the entire band on point.
Run Boy Run
Ain’t No Baby
Only You Can Rock Me
Burn Your House Down
Too Hot To Handle
Messiah Of Love
Love To Love
The ceiling seemed to explode with cheers when long time fan favorite “ Lights Out” began but audience reception was pretty fantastic and appreciative from the first note to the very last. UFO covered a wide variety of songs off of their twenty two studio albums. Firing on all cylinders with the classics “Only You Can Rock Me” and “Too Hot To Handle”. This night ended on a triumphant high, with “Doctor Doctor” followed by “Shoot Shoot”.
Long live the Invasion!