Saxon @ Amager Bio (DK), KB (SE), Trägår’n (SE)

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SAXON / GIRLSCHOOL (DK) / PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS (SE)

Date: 26th November, 2016 (DK) / 27th November, 2016 (SE) / 29th November, 2016 (SE)
Venue: Amager Bio (DK), KB (SE), Trägår’n (SE)
Ticket: 250 DKK (€33.5/$36) / 380SEK (€40/$42.5)
Promoter: Amager Bio / KB & KB West
Photos: the camera Metal Thunder Erika


As always when SAXON show up around here, I clean up the schedule and then get the tickets to go and see them - the more times the better. This time I didn’t even have to try very hard to catch them three times, still that didn’t feel enough as the last notes petered out at the Gothenburg show, the third and last one.

First, it was the Amager Bio show in Copenhagen and what made this tour even more special were the opening acts - for this date, it was GIRLSCHOOL which made it almost a year anniversary of the last tour featuring the two bands, then with MOTÖRHEAD as the headliner. Unfortunately, when I for once didn’t wait outside as the doors opened, of course it started early so I missed the photo opportunity for GIRLSCHOOL as I got in just during the last notes of “I Spy”. Apart from that mishap, it was still a decent part of the show left to enjoy and I must say I enjoyed this one very much. This stage suited the band much better than the massive arena stage.

It was a good drive on GIRLSCHOOL even if the crowd was a bit slow, but I really enjoyed both “Come The Revolution” and the MOTÖRHEAD-oozing “Take It Like A Band” from the fantastic 2015 release “Guilty As Sin”. It’s always good to see that the classic bands can deliver new songs and not only live on their historical status. And the show continued in a very good way, Jackie Chambers delivered some really nice solos challenging the front row for some reaction and was successful with it.

Another highlight was “Yeah Right”; easy to sing along to and works perfectly with a beer in hand. During the show, GIRLSCHOOL paid tribute to their fallen friends in MOTÖRHEAD - if they hadn’t, it would have been strange. But they also gave some kudos to one of their road team saying he was just a boy when started working for them but they’d made a man out of him. It sounded funny and the band started giggling saying that didn’t sound too good. And that really set the mark for the show; it was fun to watch GIRLSCHOOL play and they had a very good time on stage. Add to this the whole bunch of good songs with “Yeah Right” being another favorite. And then, of course THE GUN classic “Race With The Devil” which GIRLSCHOOL are doing a fantastic version of as well as their own hit “Emergency”. Even if the crowd was a bit dull throughout the show, it got better and better of course, this was a real energy boost. Just seeing the band enjoying their time on stage was a great moment.

GIRLSCHOOL setlist:

01. “Demolition Boys”
02. “Hit And Run”
03. “I Spy”
04. “Come The Revolution”
05. “Take It Like A Band”
06. “Future Flash”
07. “Watch Your Step”
08. “Yeah Right”
09. “Race With The Devil” (THE GUN cover)
10. “Emergency”

On the other side of the bridge, PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS joined the fold instead. I like the samples I’ve heard online it certainly is exciting to see a legend like Phil on a small stage as the one at KB in Malmö. As expected, they added a few MOTÖRHEAD classics into the set; “Nothing Up My Sleeve” came as a surprise, not the most obvious one. Also, “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”, as MOTÖRHEAD stopped playing that some years ago. It’s always a pleasure to hear these songs live and Phil’s BASTARD SONS did a very good job on stage, it sounded thick and powerful, enough MOTÖRHEAD but also enough their own sound to be really exciting. PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SON’s own music is of course also straight forward Hard Rock, with a touch of Stoner influences though which was particularly prominent in fantastic “Spiders” from their recently released self-titled EP.

I understand why they chose to play sets as they did; it’s hard for new bands to get any real attention - also, that the EP only had been out a week or so before the shows doesn’t help much with having people familiar with the songs. Still, I think the balance between own songs and covers could have been a bit more 50/50. In Gothenburg, one more, “Rock Out” was added to the set. Again, a really good track so it seems PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS have a good future ahead. It was also very good to see the crowds’ reaction to the MOTÖRHEAD classics, those in particular. The singing was immense and in Malmö, Phil and Co. almost beat the response SAXON got for their classics while doing “Born To Raise Hell” and “Ace Of Spades”. None of those really came in as a surprise as a part of the set. An extremely heavy version of the BLACK SABBATH classic “Sweet Leaf”, introduced as Phil’s favorite song from the band. Also, HAWKWIND’s “Silver Machine” came in as a surprise but didn’t work as well as the rest of the set. I really enjoyed these shows, it was more fun in Malmö since it all got more intimate in the small KB club, but it worked really well on a bigger stage in Gothenburg too. But again, it’s a bit of a shame that PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS didn’t play more of their own songs.

PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS setlist (Malmö):

01. “Big Mouth”
02. “Nothing Up My Sleeve” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
03. “Spiders”
04. “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
05. “Take Aim”
06. “Born To Raise Hell” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
07. “Sweet Leaf” (BLACK SABBATH cover)
08. “Ace Of Spades” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
09. “Eat The Rich” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
10. “Silver Machine” (HAWKWIND cover)
11. “Killed By Death” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)

PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS setlist (Gothenburg):

01. “Big Mouth”
02. “Nothing Up My Sleeve” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
03. “Spiders”
04. “R.A.M.O.N.E.S” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
05. “Take Aim”
06. “Born To Raise Hell” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
07. “Sweet Leaf” (BLACK SABBATH cover)
08. “Ace Of Spades” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
09. “Eat The Rich” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
10. “Silver Machine” (HAWKWIND cover)
11. “Rock Out” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)
12. “Going To Brazil” (MOTÖRHEAD cover)

PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS (Malmö)

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS (Gothenburg)

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ Trägår’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ Trägår’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ Trägår’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons @ Trägår’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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SAXON must be the band I’ve seen the most times live. I tried to count them but couldn’t really come to any conclusion; it should be well over 40 at least but not as many as 60... somewhere around there. The thing is, I’m still as excited to see them year after year as I was when I got my first opportunity. SAXON always deliver, always are top notch and beat most other bands around when it comes to create a vibrant live show with minimal use of effects.

As a tradition, AC/DC’s “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)” blasted out of the speakers as the lights went out, and this was the same procedure for all shows and the response from the crowd was deafening. For the Swedish shows, the response had been very good for Phil Campbell and Co. too, but it went up one more level when SAXON hit the stage. Also, the Copenhagen crowd woke up when it was play-time for SAXON. New “Battering Ram” opened the set and it’s good to see that the crowds had taken in the new songs also. It has been like this for some years now, new SAXON songs also work very good in the set and the crowd has done its homework in a very good manner. Of course, there are always a few plunkers who only know “Denim & Leather” or “Crusader” but hey, at least they paid for the ticket and helped pack out the venues.

It’s always a bit of a stress to get things done in the photo-pit for the first three songs, so I can’t really say how the first and “Heavy Metal Thunder” sounded. First, because it’s hard to catch these guys with the camera even in broad daylight and then because they come extremely close which is yet another distraction. For “Sacrifice”, it calmed down a bit, mainly because the light is very tough for shooting that song. Dramatic and very visual for sure but the extreme red and blue make the camera almost blind. On the other hand, now the rest could catch up and damn, the band sound good too.

A few songs into the Copenhagen set, I started thinking if the energy was a little lower than usual. Also, that “Never Surrender” was listed on the sheets on stage but that SAXON skipped that one didn’t feel normal. The fact that they add and toss around songs, yes, but not completely strike one out from the set. After a magnificent version of “The Eagle Has Landed”, Biff announced he was suffering from a real man-cold and was struggling hard on stage, and continued with that they needed to take it a bit slow for the rest of the show he was met with booing. Everything was restored when SAXON kicked off the “ballad” “20.000 Ft” as a follow-up to that statement a rather confused crowd didn’t know where to go but of course brought on a big cheer. And if this is what happens on a bad SAXON day (that it feels a little bit less energetic than normal and maybe, just maybe, Biff cut a few notes short), it just shows again that they are one of the best live-acts around.

Another thing that adds on to that statement is that you can always count on some difference between the shows. Usually the crowd gets to choose on a few songs, it was “The Eagle Has Landed” and “Broken Heroes” in Malmö and the response for both was so and so. Biff then threw in “Crusader” as well and the reaction from the crowd was crazy loud. In Gothenburg, the selection was between “Eagle”, “Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy” and “Broken Heroes” and since it was a tie between the latter two, both was added to the set per regular SAXON manners. In Gothenburg, both “Never Surrender” and “Terminal Velocity” was added to the set, the latter since someone had pointed out the Gothenburg date marked the anniversary release of the “Unleash The Beast” album. If that was true or not, if it really marked any date, doesn’t really matter. It’s a fantastic song and always a pleasure to hear live.

That the classics would go down well was no surprise but I was a bit surprised though after the Copenhagen show that “Denim & Leather” was exchanged with “Ace Of Spades” as a tribute to Lemmy, and that “Crusader” was cut from the set completely. It’s great to see that all it takes is for Biff to point at Paul Quinn and everyone in the house knows what is to come. “Princess Of The Night” closed the set in all three cities. There was actually one more date added to the tour after I’d set my schedule, one in Ronneby, directly after the Gothenburg show. And I was thinking long and hard while driving after that fantastic Gothenburg show if I could make it to Ronneby as well... The last of the three shows won, doubtless. Biff’s cold was gone and Trägår’n was packed out to the last place. SAXON always go down good at that place of course but it was still better than times before. So, looking back, it was definitely necessary to see the three shows. All was good and there were slight changes in the set from night to night and, with the ending in Gothenburg, I can’t really wait for the next tour.

SAXON setlist ( Malmö):

01. Intro - “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)” (AC/DC song)
02. “Battering Ram”
03. “Heavy Metal Thunder”
04. “Sacrifice”
05. “Solid Ball Of Rock”
06. “Chasing The Bullet”
07. “Stand Up And Be Counted”
08. “The Devil's Footprint”
09. “Strong Arm Of The Law”
10. “Crusader”
11. “20,000 Ft”
12. “Queen Of Hearts”
13. “And The Bands Played On”
14. “Dallas 1 PM”
15. “Wheels Of Steel”
16. “Let Me Feel Your Power”
17. “747 (Strangers In The Night)”
18. “Denim And Leather”
19. “Princess Of The Night”

SAXON setlist (Gothenburg):

01. Intro - “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)” (AC/DC song)
02. “Battering Ram”
03. “Heavy Metal Thunder”
04. “Sacrifice”
05. “Solid Ball Of Rock”
06. “Terminal Velocity”
07. “Never Surrender”
08. "Stand Up And Be Counted”
09. “The Devil's Footprint”
10. “Strong Arm Of The Law”
11. “Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy”
12. “Broken Heroes”
13. “20,000 Ft”
14. “Queen Of Hearts”
15. “And The Bands Played On”
16. “Dallas 1 PM”
17. “Crusader”
18. “Wheels Of Steel”
19. “Let Me Feel Your Power”
20. “747 (Strangers In The Night)”
21. “Denim And Leather”
22. “Princess Of The Night”

SAXON (Copenhagen)

Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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SAXON (Malmö)

Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ KB, Malmo (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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SAXON (Gothenburg)

Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Saxon @ Tragar’n, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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