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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The View From The Back Of The Room: UFO

UFO & 4Bitten, Coal Exchange Cardiff

Into the bowels of the magnificent Coal Exchange for a night of classic Hard rock from a band that have always been quoted as Iron Maiden's main influence and have maintained a stable line up for nearly 40 years with only the guitarists changing. This was a gig I was looking forward to as I have never seen UFO live before. The same cannot be said for the 300 person plus crowd (which looked small in the huge room) who were all UFO fanatics, which also meant I was the youngest person in the crowd!

So onto the show itself

4Bitten

Hailing from Greece 4Bitten have completely bypassed me and I'm a bit annoyed that they have. The band play riff heavy, hard rock with a metallic sheen and are led by the Zakk Wylde like guitars of George M and the powerful vocals of Fofi Roussos. The songs were tight, heavy and melodic with all of the band playing with professionalism. The band were equally adept to heavy rockers and soaring radio friendly ballads which meant to me they sounded a lot like American band Hydrogyn which is not a bad thing. They were a tight, professional meat and potatoes rock band that were a good opener for the intensely partisan crowd. Someone to just kick off proceedings without stealing the spotlight. 7/10

UFO

As the band walked on stage the excitement was building and then the opening chords of Lights Out hit and the very vocal crowd erupted. The band looked on form with special mention to frontman Phil Mogg who still has a fantastic voice, delivers it with real power and conviction. Next was Mother Mary and then two from Seven Deadly, the bands newest album (and the reason for this tour) which slot in well with the classic material. The drumming of the co-founder member Andy Parker was excellent, as were the keys and rhythm guitars of co-founder member Paul Raymond both of whom have been doing this too long to mess anything up and know how to keep the band chugging along. The contribution from new boy bassist Lars Lehmann was also great he has the skills and also the slightly dangerous edge of erstwhile former bassist Pete Way. Most of the praise can go to guitarist Vinnie Moore who despite the criticism levelled at him (mainly because he's not Schenker or Paul Chapman) is a simply fantastic guitarist putting his own spin on every solo and maintaining all of the classic riffs. Back to the set which was filled with some hilarious banter from Mogg who stylised himself as a man uncle. The band went back to the classics with Cherry and Let It Roll before returning to Seven Deadly. With all of the newer material out of the way it was classics until the end with the sing-along Only You Can Rock Me, the proggy Love To Love which showed off Moore's guitar abilities at their best, the set ended with Too Hot To Handle and Rock Bottom which still has a killer riff to this day and broke out into a great guitar showcase instrumental before the song returned and ended the set and elicited huge cheers. A quick note about the sound which started out a little muddy but then returned to the almost perfect mix that the Coal Exchange has become synonymous with. For the encore again it was classics with their (possibly) best known song Doctor Doctor which was followed by Shoot Shoot and got the crowd jumping. This was a great set from a band that have lasted in the music business this long and are still at the top of their game showing that class is forever. 9/10
   

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