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Old 10-04-2011, 02:31 AM
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treghet treghet is offline
Altars of Radness
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,797
Saxon -- Santa Ana, CA -- October 2nd, 2011

In today's world, the NWOBHM has mostly died out with only a number the major bands remaining, for better or for worse. On the heels of the release of their nineteenth studio album, Call to Arms, which has been well received by fans, Saxon would embark on a world tour. They would prove to the world one city at a time that they are still going just as strong as they were in the '80s.

I arrived at just before the first band was scheduled to go on and I was surprised to find that the venue was already packed. Of all the previous shows I've been to at the Galaxy Theater, I've never seen this great of a turnout. The opening band, Anger as Art, started playing only a few minutes after I sat at a table. I had never listened to them before and the sound was somewhat muddy, so I had a hard time following the songs. From what I could tell, they were decent musicians, but nothing too special.

After them was Ruthless, local power metal band from the '80s. Not being a power metal fan, I didn't know what to expect from them, but I ended up enjoying their set. There sound was nice and clear and they were not the washed up band I thought they might be. It was notable that their stage presence was a bit too rockstar-ish, but they put on a great performance.
  1. Gates of Hell
  2. Metal Without Mercy
  3. Systematic Terror
  4. Child of Hate
  5. Bury the Axe
  6. Laceration

I was expecting Saxon to be next, but apparently the lineup on the venue's website was wrong. Borealis began setting up their equipment on stage. I had never heard of them beforehand, and I wish it had stayed that way. I will say that they were a talented group, but those vocals and keyboards were annoying the living hell out of me. I could not stand them at all. Also, I noticed that vocalist had a water bottle holder attached to the mic stand with a tube that ran up to the mic. When he started drinking from it between songs I almost broke out laughing. I try not to rip on bands for non-music related topics, but this was too hilarious to not mention.

Finally it was time for the British legends, Saxon. They opened with the epic "Hammer of the Gods", which is arguably the best song they've written in years. Biff's powerful vocals, the thundering drums, and classic headbanging riffs roared throughout the room. This was heavy metal. The crowd cheered wildly after each song and the band seemed genuinely impressed. They marched onward, playing a mixture of old and new songs. I noticed Biff signed a few record sleeves between verses. Soon enough they were going off stage before returning for the encores. The set seemed to go by too quickly, as I was enjoying every moment of it. "Power and the Glory", "Strong Arm of the Law", and "747 (Strangers in the Night)" were absolutely incredible live. While I admit I would have preferred a few more classics in the set instead of seven new songs, the band's performance was top notch, with Biff sounding better than ever, so I can't really complain. Saxon has not lost steam, even decades after their prime era.
  1. Hammer of the Gods
  2. Heavy Metal Thunder
  3. Never Surrender
  4. Chasing the Bullet
  5. Motorcycle Man
  6. Back in '79
  7. And the Bands Played On
  8. Battalions of Steel
  9. Call to Arms
  10. Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy
  11. Mists of Avalon
  12. This Town Rocks
  13. When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory)
  14. Denim and Leather
  15. Afterburner
  16. Princess of the Night
    ---
  17. Crusader
  18. 747 (Strangers in the Night)
    -- Doug Scarratt guitar solo --
  19. Power and the Glory
  20. Strong Arm of the Law
  21. Wheels of Steel
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