The House of Blues hosted UFO, Saxon and Jared James Nichols last Tuesday. The concert was sold-out with the walk-up crowd. Many of the fans were interested in the appearance of Saxon, while others wanted to hear UFO. Perhaps it was the cold damp evening outside or people arriving late after work. Regardless, the Cleveland House of Blues offered a great night of entertainment between the two British Bands, along with American born artist, Jared James Nichols.
Jared James Nichols
The crowd arrived slowly, which was a shame as many people missed the opener, Jared James Nichols. This young axe-master definitely hit the HOB with some of the hardest rocking Blues I’ve heard in decades. After hearing the Chicago born guitarist, opening for Zak Wylde last year in Cleveland; I was completely blown away by his style, talented skill and the band members. So it was exciting to discover he would return to the North Coast again!
I never thought I’d live long enough or ever hear the Hard Rock sound of the early 70’s become fashionable again. That was until I heard Jared James Nichols. Listening to him perform is pure enjoyment. The young man is so blessed to be inspired musically with his mixture of Hard Rock and Blues accentuating with incredible passion! It’s no wonder Zak Wylde would invite this artist to tour with him.
Drummer, Dennis Holm.
Jared James Nichols and his band took us on a detailed journey with their original tunes that flowed magnificently from the first chord to the last. The drummer was a beast as he kept the tempo tight as he primitively beat the skins and brass into oblivion The bassist, Eric Sandin was firing the notes away like a monster as he swayed and pivoted across the stage. This is a powerful trio of dynamite live!
Jared performed mainly tunes from his awesome release, ‘Old Glory & The Wild Revival’ Musically, one tune had a Led Zeppelin/Uriah Heep feel to the rhythms. Several songs had that Texas Boogie feel of early ZZ Top. The raw feel of the music with it’s roots exposed was an inspiring romp into my younger years. The show featured a scorching extended solo by James and he literally blew those in attendance away. This guy is a monster of a player!
Another original sounded so much like Jimi Hendrix between the vocals of James, the music and the solo, that I thought he was Jimi! The band gave us their unique version of Mountain’s, “Mississippi Queen”. At one point of the song, the band performed two different time signatures for 16 or 32 bars with a deviating rhythm in the background; as James unleashed embellishments that would make Leslie West smile. This was brilliant from a compositional standpoint and extremely captivating to hear!
When you hear James Jared Nichols it’s like listening to Billy Gibbons, Zak Wylde, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page all over again. Fresh, clean and incredibly powerful! I could compare him to a young John Sykes too. Whatever his influences were, I certainly want to hear more from this artist!
Jared James Nichols Photo Gallery.
SAXON unleashed a fury of blistering metal. Having not seen the band before and somewhat unfamiliar with their tunes, I found the band and music quite enjoyable. The British band definitely love Cleveland and the fans displayed there appreciation loudly! Biff Byford asked the fans if Cleveland rocks and the response was overwhelming. The English charm and exuberance demonstrated his ability to engage the audience between his songs.
Lead Vocalist, Biff Byford.
The band was a blast of metal taking no prisoners as they whisked through their material. The power and decibels of sound was apparent from beginning to end. The history of the band was represented through their one of their tunes from the latest CD, ‘Battering Ram‘ were also included. SAXON have perfected their performances like a well-oiled machine.
Drummer, Nigel Glockler.
Biff Byford astounded the fans with his stage presence, voice and outstretched arms. Despite his age, Biff his voice is in fine shape as he touches the fans. Drummer, Nigel Glockler was a beast as he lavished the band through double-bass drums speed rhythms or just heavy metal beats. The guitarist beamed his solos across the venue with splintering accuracy and shrill technique. Bassist, Nibbs Carter gave us an all-out assault of the bottom-end as he strode through the stage lighting.
The English masters of Heavy Metal served us “Battering Ram” from the new CD, ‘ Battering Ram ‘ to open the show proving they are still atop their game. Subsequent songs included, “This Town Rocks”, “Strong Arm of The Law” , “The Power and The Glory” and “The Eagle Has as Landed”. The band gave us stellar renditions of “Walls of Steel” along with “Denim and Leather as encore numbers.
Although the band was spent, the fans wanted more music; but it wasn’t meant to be. The men had one thing in mind at the HOB and had accomplished their feat. Biff Byford had the crowd loving every minute as the band expressed themselves through a great show of power with majestic moments throughout. It was a splendorous show, armed with blistering tunes from one of the heavyweights of the British music scene.
Lead Guitarist, Paul Quinn.
SAXON impressed me as they drove their tunes home hard and heavy. This band has a lot of life left in them and can rock with the best. If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch SAXON in-concert I suggest you do. If you are a fan, it’s quite apparent you already know the drill!
Saxon Photo Gallery.
UFO is another band I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing on tour. The hit the stage running with “Mother Mary”. The band continued their onslaught of powerful music with “Long Gone”, “Run Boy Run”, and the fans favorite of “Lights Out”. By this point, the romp was on as UFO took us through there stable of tunes designed to carry you away!
Front-Man, Lead Vocalist Phil Mogg.
I was surprised UFO didn’t feature any tunes from their latest release, ‘A Conspiracy of Stars’. The fans didn’t mind as they wanted the hit songs performed in all their glory and UFO gave us just that. The set continued with “Baby Blue”, “Only You Can Rock Me”, “Let It Roll”, “Burn Your House Down”, “Too Hot To Handle” and “Messiah of Love”.
Drummer, Andy Parker (Left) and Bassist, Rob De Luca (Right).
The encore was great with powerful renditions of “Love To Love” and “Rock Bottom”. I was discouraged that “Venus” was excluded from the set-list, but UFO rarely tours the USA and the opportunity doesn’t come around often to see the band in action. The band drove the HOB with accuracy and astounding musical and vocal appeal.
Lead singer, Phil Mogg was a pleasure to see onstage between his rich brooding vocals and veteran leadership. The amazing resemblance at times vocally to Ian Gillian of Deep Purple is eerie! His mature, stage presence was a treat to witness! It’s clear the vocalist has taken care of himself over the years as he smoothly delivered the tone of the delivery. The English charm presented onstage was something I miss in today’s era of bands.
Phil represents the same category of English front-men such as: Ian Gillian, David Coverdale, Robert Plant and David Byron. It was an honor to witness his performance! His classy, professional and polished presence was a sight as he expounded his vocal ability!
Lead Guitarist, Vinnie Moore shredded the solos and captivated the crowd with his technique. Calibrated with systemic fret runs and riveting highlights the guitarist let everyone know he is a power to be reckoned with!
Keyboardist/Guitarist, Paul Raymond switched between instruments often. On some tunes played both as he revved-up the songs with orchestration, riffs and energy. His purposeful domain was held near the keyboard, sometimes stepping to the front of the stage and smiling at some fans, only to move back in the shadows behind the keyboard setup.
Drummer Andy Parker kept the band in the groove as he walloped the kit with power and sonic precision. The original member permeated the tunes with his accents and grandiose rhythm! It was great seeing a man his age still able to punch UFO into space!
Bassist, Rob De Luca gave us staggered bass lines as he drove the music. Robb steered his way down and up the neck like a madman! This guy clearly knows the technique of his instrument as he gravitated across the stage.
UFO Photo Gallery.