2015 05 23 Saxon 5199
SAXON

2015-05-22

210 Kapones

San Antonio, TX

Review by: Slim Jim Keller

Photos of Saxon from the show can be seen HERE.

 

I usually start a review with a little history about the band and I, where I first heard the band, what drew me to them, but this is Saxon we’re talking about. I don’t really need to give you any background to one of the most underrated influential bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

 

 


The band has been around pouring out albums of high quality head banging anathematic metal for the last 35 years. I’d go into a greatest hits list, but that would just give away the setlist as the band is actually on their 35th Anniversary Road Warriors Tour.

 

This show would only be my second Saxon show ever (see, I guess I am going to give you my history of Saxon after all). I caught them in NYC two years ago at B.B. Kings with Fozzy and was awestruck as how impressive Saxon is live. You’ve got bands that have been doing this for as long as they have, and they are ok. It is more nostalgia than power driving face ripping skull-fucking performances. Saxon still fucks your skull.

 

I said in my recent Queensrÿche show review and Armored Saint show review that San Antonio has a great metal following. I was impressed with the turn out for Queensrÿche the night before; I was floored by the turnout for Saxon this night. There were at least 2,000-2,500 people in the house for Armored Saint and Saxon all decked out in some very old school denim and leather. Back patches were de rigueur and worn with pride. I flashed back to a cold night in 1988 standing outside the Cow Palace waiting for the doors to open so I could see Metallica headline an arena for the first time on their Justice Tour. fast forward 27 years and I was home again. I was in denim and leather heaven.

 

After Armored Saint laid 210 Kapones to waste it was time for the Power & The Glory to take the stage and remind everyone why Saxon are true Heavy Metal Thunder.

 

After 35 years Biff Byford still sounds strong and mean on the microphone. His voice may be a bit grittier but since he never made the mistake of singing falsetto in his younger years, the band doesn’t have to tune down for him to hit his notes like so many old school bands do today.

 

Biff and Paul Quinn (guitars) may be the only remaining original members but really, Saxon’s sound was never unique in an Udo Dirkschneider vocal or Eddie Van Halen guitar tone kind of way. You knew it was Saxon because the sound was pure NWoBHM Saxon, Biff was Biff, and it was always anathematic fist pumping metal. Wheels of Steel, Motorcycle Man, 747 Strangers in the Night, Denim And Leather, Crusader, Power and the Glory… it just doesn’t end. After 35 years the band could play for 3.5 hours and still not play all of their ‘hits’ or best-known cuts and crowd favorites.

 
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Biff
mentioned to the crowd that San Antonio was their favorite town to play. Yeah, yeah, yeah, give the crowd a little tug and pull, pay em some lip service, fine. Then he mentions it again after the next song. Finally he tells the crowd that it isn’t bullshit that they truly lover performing in San Antonio because it is always the largest crowd they play to in the States. I don’t know about any other shows than the one I saw in NYC two years ago but I can attest that the crowd in San Antonio was 3 to 4 times the size of the B.B. Kings’ crowd. And if you’re playing to a larger crowd than a New York City crowd, then you’re probably telling the truth. So kudos to San Antonio for representing true metal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was the tornado warning. For those of you who weren’t in Texas that weekend we had complete shit weather. Rain, Hail, Tornados, 50 mile an hour winds, and more rain. Texas is a big motherfucking state, and half of it was under water by the end of the weekend. During the Armored Saint/Saxon show we had a full-blown tornado warning hit our area. And many were concerned they were going to call the show out of safety reasons. I’m sure most of you have never been in 210 Kapones big room (it was only the 3rd show ever performed there so far), but it’s an old warehouse with a tin roof. The only less safe place to be is a double wide. But the venue and the bands played on. The quote of the night has to go to Biff for the following, ‘We hear there’s a tornado warning outside and its coming our way. The rain is ferocious out there, but we’re going to hunker down and keep on playing till those tornados fuck right off!’ And play on they did. The stage lights died. ALL of the stage lights died. And the band played on. The venue couldn’t get the stage lights back up. And the band played on. The house lights finally came up. And the band played on. The house lights went off. And the band played on. The crowd broke out their cell phones to light the stage. And the band played on. The house lights finally came back on and stayed on. And the band played on. The stage lights never returned. And the band played on. The crowd lost their collective minds. And still the band played on.

 

 

For never having any real radio play in their 35 years, Saxon has a large and dedicated rabid following. In watching the crowd during the bands leading up to Saxon, I noted the age range to be from 17 to 70. And you wonder, who’s there for a local band, who’s there for Armored Saint, and who’s there for Saxon. I can tell you that every single person in the room that night were there for Saxon. Every single person new every single song and sang along with the band, threw their horns and screamed their heads off the entire set. You can tell when someone in the audience is just there enjoying a show, and when someone is a real fan of the band performing. They’re singing all the lyrics right back at the band, they’re head banging in time and time changes to the song, they’re cheering when the first notes of a song are performed because they know what song is coming. And that appeared to be each and every person in 210 Kapones that Saturday night.



Saxon doesn’t many dates at a time in the US. But they do hit hear at least once a year it seems lately. So do yourself a favor and travel far and long and go see Saxon live. You deserve to get schooled in the old fashioned art of Denim and Leather again. You’ll thank me later.