Saxon @ KB, Malmö (SE)

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SAXON / DIRTY PASSION

Date: 09th March, 2014
Venue: KB
Ticket: 350SEK (€37/$51)
Promoter: KB/ICS


After the SAXON gig at KB I understand how Sardines feel on a warm summer day; the ones that’s been packed into a jar and left out in the sun that is. It’s only on a few occasions I’ve seen this many visitors at KB actually.

DIRTY PASSION was assigned to open for SAXON this evening. I can’t say they’ve made a really strong impression on me on previous shows. It’s been ok and it is good party music. For that sake I think they suited very well as a warm-up for SAXON. Also, I like guitarists Chrisse’s style of playing because I enjoy when a guitar player manages to incorporate melody and attitude in the riffs and solos. And he sure does. It feels a bit ignorant to say this but frankly, waiting for SAXON and the show they put on afterwards the reminiscence of DIRTY PASSION is rather vague. They did a good job warming the crowd up, that’s for sure and many seemed to enjoy what they saw but still, it’s almost impossible to match a band like SAXON.

Even if it was packed and warm when DIRTY PASSION played, it was nothing compared to what was to come; it was really hard to move inside the venue and go to the bar not even to the toilet. The roadie flashed the light to indicate everything was ready and at 9pm sharp SAXON kicked of their show with the title track from latest release “Sacrifice”. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the crowd’s reception during this one. Sure, it was a lot of new fans in the front but everyone around me seemed to be fully charged. And not to be too condescending, it’s rather normal that the guys discovering SAXON in the early 80’s tend to just want to hear the classics. Luckily not this time! Sure, “Heavy Metal Thunder” got a bit more of a cheer but taking in consideration how brutal and good that track is, it’s no wonder.

And then it just rose from there; “Power And The Glory” always work very well live, and why not, it is an amazing song. But for me, one of the best moments was absolutely “Stallions Of The Highway”, a song not played enough live I’d say. The show continued with a mix of new and old songs and about halfway into the concert Biff started talking to some young guys in the front row, asking how old they were. For the next question, what songs they wanted to hear the whole crowd started screaming out suggestions but since no track-request really took over it all just sounded like a regular in-between songs cheer. Biff directed the microphone to the young guy in the front asking him to introduce the next song so “Hammer Of The Gods” was presented in a very high-pitched voice.

Also somewhere in the middle Biff mentioned that SAXON would to play two songs; one from “Innocence Is No Excuse” and one from “Crusader”. The title tracks are of course the ones being screamed the most from the crowd but SAXON had other on their agenda. First out is “Sailing To America”; an awesome song not played live enough, not the times I’ve seen SAXON (which should be well over 30 now). However, it didn’t work as good as “Rock’n’Roll Gypsy” which followed. It’s fun to see the crowd going nuts for these a bit more unusual songs also. At that point in time the venue was boiling hot but neither SAXON nor the crowd was slowing down a bit. Compared to last time I saw SAXON, at Amager Bio in Copenhagen some ten months ago, the band seemed extremely happy. Not that it was anything to complain about then either but both Doug Scarratt and Paul Quinn were showing off and posing like crazy during their solos.

I really like Doug’s way of paying guitar, the blues are still there but it’s still raw and edgy. I think it was for “Solid Ball Of Rock” where he did an amazing solo, keeping the melody but still going on in the old-school Guitar-hero kind of fashion. Very nice I’d say. “Strangers In The Night” was introduced as your song (we from Scandinavia that is), some got it immediately and started screaming. Some didn’t and just looked surprised over the reaction by the next person in the crowd. Once the song had started it was back to normal craziness in the crowd. In Sweden there’s a regulation that the volume at concerts can’t go over 105dB which isn't very much actually. Sometimes in very small clubs it is quite good but for medium-sized clubs as KB and then bigger venues it is just ridiculous. Biff thought so too and demonstrated how 100dB would sound by and asking everyone to get quiet and screamed “this is what 100 decibels sound like straight out without the mic.

Occasionally Biff was throwing bottles of water to the crowd and it was fun to watch people’s reaction when they got water-splashes on them. Some thought it was the coolest ever and some looked very annoyed trying to dry off whatever hit them. Of course, everyone was soaking wet (and crazy drunk also) so I should have worried more about what was splattering off the crowd neighbor rather than some bottled water. There are a few things with this concert that sticks out; first of all, I love it that the newer material was almost as well received as the old hits. “Night Of The Wolf” was a perfect example; it is an awesome groovy track and brought on a lot of Headbanging, from the ones that could move that is. Again, I’ve never seen KB as packed as this before. Then, with SAXON, it never gets boring to hear the classics and it never gets old to battle in screaming with the crowd on the other side of the venue. This is of course due to Biff’s cheerfulness and attitude, he and the band is having a lot of fun on stage and the joy is spread throughout the venue. Nothing is forced, sometimes the crowd is being taunted for not jumping or screaming enough and Biff claiming he’s older and that it’s hotter on stage, so there’s no excuse for us on the floor not to follow. Always with twinkle!

“Wheels Of Steel” and “Denim And Leather” closed the show and left the crowd screaming for more. It’s fascinating that SAXON always play for two hours. Normally 90 minutes is the standard and now, for many bands just one hour sets it. But not here, so we’re talking value for money in more sense than one, even if two hours felt short here... But luckily SAXON promised to be back on a full European tour in the fall and I can’t wait for those dates to be confirmed!