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UFO, SAXON, JARED JAMES NICHOLS In Akron, OH With Photos!

By Geoff Ketler, Cleveland Contributor
Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 11:18 AM


Lights Out At The Tangier In Akron

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All Photos By Geoff Ketler/Aces High Photography

The tour that was so nice, they decided to do it twice. Back for yet another British invasion after wrapping a spring US tour merely months ago was the twin English attack of UFO and SAXON with JARED JAMES NICHOLS supporting all shows. Instead of the often raucous House of Blues or Cleveland Agora, it was Akron, Ohio’s The Tangier that played host on this leg of the tour; trading general admission and barricades for club seating, a restaurant atmosphere and crystal chandeliers.

SAXON vocalist Biff Byford would later describe the venue as “Dracula’s lair” – the dim-lit, velvet-clad cabaret room was thumping quickly with the soulful rock of JARED JAMES NICHOLS. The Wisconsinite, who was back for his second tour of duty with this bill made quick work of the small stage. The trio, rounded out by Erik Sandin and Dennis Holm powered through a short set of blues and classic rock that had that 70’s vibe in a very MOUNTAIN kind of way.

A quick set change meant it was time for the mighty SAXON. The aggressive “Battering Ram” kicked things into high gear. Navigating the minute stage took some special care as the quintet really cramped the available space. From the get-go, bassist Nibbs Carter perched up on his monitor and wildly spun his hair. He relentlessly worked the crowd – a tall task considering the fact that we were all cozy sitting at our booths and tables, eating, drinking and the like. Quick tip: if you are ever in the area, the Mediterranean pizza and chicken wings are dynamite.

Vocalist Biff Byford made it clear that there were no “tapes” or “hard drives”; this was straight up rock and roll. This was even more evident when Biff started taking requests from the audience. Shouts of “The Eagle Has Landed”, “Crusader” cascaded down from the 3-tiered club. SAXON held nothing back, despite the intimate setting. The entire set was ultra-aggressive and played with superb precision.

Setlist:

  • “Battering Ram”
  • “This Town Rocks”
  • “Sacrifice”
  • “Ride Like The Wind” (CRISTOPHER CROSS Cover)
  • “Power And The Glory”
  • “747 (Strangers In The Night)”
  • “Motorcycle Man”
  • “Heavy Metal Thunder”
  • “The Eagle Has Landed”
  • “Dallas 1PM”
  • “Crusader”
  • “Princess Of The Night”
  • “Wheels Of Steel”
After nearly five decades of rock n’ roll, UFO is still out taking their elite catalogue to audiences everywhere. We are not talking about destination, fly-in weekend gigs either. UFO hit the States twice this year the old fashioned way, with a tour bus and off dates that were few and far between. The evening was kicked off by “We Belong To The Night” – a throwback to the Paul Chapman era of the band. With the recent release of a covers album, I would have figured that maybe a select track would have been incorporated into the set, but the set was still weighted with a couple of tracks off of 2015’s A Conspiracy Of Stars among the usual suspects.

Phil Mogg's English charm and playful banter between songs are a show in itself. If the vocal cords ever fail him, he definitely has a future in comedy. Sporting his new clean-shaved head, Phil asked several bald members of the audience for tips and tricks; “Are you a razor or electric shaver guy?” The opening couple of songs had their audio issues. “That, ladies and gentlemen is called feedback” quipped Phil.

Guitarist Vinnie Moore owned the set. He spent the majority of the night near center-stage, rocking back and forth, effortlessly playing with precision and emotion. “Rock Bottom” included the epic guitar solo break that was promptly nailed by Vinnie. The proggy “Love To Love” managed to get people out of their seats. The night showcased just a taste of UFO's prolific storied career before closing with the encore of “Mother Mary” and “Shoot Shoot”.

Setlist:

  • “We Belong To The Night”
  • “Run Boy Run”
  • “Let It Roll”
  • “Ain’t No Baby”
  • “Lights Out”
  • “Only You Can Rock Me”
  • “Burn Your House Down”
  • “Cherry”
  • “Love To Love”
  • “Too Hot To Handle”
  • “Messiah Of Love”
  • “Rock Bottom” (Vinnie Moore solo)
  • “Doctor Doctor”
Encore:
  • “Mother Mary”
  • “Shoot Shoot”
Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Geoff Ketler/Aces High Photography


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