Saxon + Quireboys @ The Assembly, Leamington Spa – Thursday 18th April 2013


Review by Peter Keevil. Pictures by Rich Ward

8666947956_9bc97c4bc7_nThe Quireboys are survivors, rock n roll troubadours; still plying their Faces-esque to all who will hear them. What they do, they do well. It’s good time British blues barroom rock n roll.

Frontman Spike leads his vagabond cast suitably bedecked in headscarf, red carnation in lapel and a gold chain waist-watch. Slightly inebriated he is a charming rogue – still sounding like a cockney Rod Stewart, he grins, swaggers and gruffs his way into our hearts.

Classics like ‘Hey You’ and ‘7 o’clock’ still cut the mustard interspersed with new songs from an album due out in June.

The Quireboys have the floor. Let’s dance.

Like The Quireboys, Saxon are also survivors but unlike them have managed to ride the waves of time to be relevant to today’s metal crowd. They’re still turning out studio work of a highest calibre and coupled with such a strong back catalogue means that Leamington Assembly contains a sizeable mix of young and old.

Saxon are treating this as a warm-up date, which is a shame because we have caught them too early in the tour but it does make it that little more interesting, if like me, you have seen them on many occasions. I am of course obliged to mention that Saxon were my first ever live band, 7th Dec 1979, supporting Motorhead on their Bomber tour. I was 15 and it changed my world.

It’s good to see that Biff and Co believe in their new material and are not coasting off the back of the glory years. They include no less than 7 songs from their most recent album – Sacrifice. They also call upon some of the more rare tracks of their past and give them a well deserved airing to an appreciative crowd. ‘Ride Like the Wind’, ‘To Hell and Back Again’, ‘Rock n Roll Gypsies’ sit comfortably alongside the new material and the likes of ‘Power & The Glory’.

8665848793_a64a9118dd_nBut it does leave much of the main set bereft of any ‘true’ classics for some considerable time and although a fan of the newer material, it did make me feel they should have slotted in an old friend here and there throughout.

We also had the unusual scenario of Biff reading the lyrics of at least 2 new songs ‘Guardians of the Tomb’ and ‘Warriors of the Road’; they were on his monitor so we spent much of these watching the top of his head as he bent forward to read. A little bizarre for one so established but if it’s good enough for Ozzy…

But hey, if you can call upon a back catalogue that includes the likes of: ‘Dallas 1pm’, ‘747 Strangers In The Night’, ‘Wheels Of Steel’ and then close the show with, ‘Strong Arm of the Law’, ‘Denim and Leather’ and ‘Princess of the Night’, who I am I to quibble that I chose the warm up date to witness these legends in action once again.

Wheels of terror
Power and the glory
Made in Belfast
Ride like the wind
To hell and back again
I gotta rock (to stay alive)
Night of the wolf
Drum solo
Requiem we will remember
Guardians of the tomb
Never surrender
Rock n roll gypsies
Stand up and fight
Dallas 1pm
747 strangers in the night
Wheels of steel

Warriors of the road
Strong arm of the law
Denim and leather
Princess of the night

See more of Rich’s pics here;