By Anthony Siino
Saxon thinks this town knows how to rock.
To be fair, they said that while performing their song “This Town Rocks,” which I assume that they play in just about every town. But still. Saxon said we rock.
Regardless of how much we may or may not rock (we totally rock), Saxon somehow still rocked harder at the band’s Sunday show at Ace of Spades. The legendary purveyors of British steel, still burning bright like their New Wave of British Heavy Metal peers Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, Saxon brought the wheels of steel down here as their sixth stop on their North American tour commemorating 35 years of crusading.
The mighty Saxon dipped deep into those 35 years for the show, pulling out hits like “747,” “The Power and the Glory,” “Denim and Leather” and “Motorcycle Man,” all without letting on that most of these guys are, what, at least 60 now?
Age doesn’t stop the power of heavy metal, of course. These guys are old pros and they worked the crowd as such, with that blue-collar grace and charm that can only come from decades of living the touring life.
Between songs, vocalist Biff Byford alluded to the exhaustion of touring, noting that they’ve got shows in new cities every night and that it might be nice to take a break. But then again, for working musicians, there’s a certain urge that doesn’t care whether it’s your day off.
“Maybe we’ll just find a park and fucking play anyway,” Byford said in a tone that might have been in jest.
Most of the crowd leaned older, like they had been there for Saxon all along, with a healthy amount of young blood raised on NWOBHM showing promise for the next generation. So many Iron Maiden T-shirts; so many Kreator, Angel Witch and Overkill patches on faded denim vests. It was like being in high school with the heavy metal mop-heads all over again, and it was pure.
And the hundreds of metal maniacs loved every minute of Saxon’s show, game for all of the high-powered singalongs and nostalgic thrashing with classic tunes.
“It’s not too loud, is it? It’s not too hot, is it? Well, it’s not supposed to be comfortable,” Byford commented near the end of the show before ripping into yet another track.
Paul Quinn of Saxon // Paul Piazza