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Saturday, 5 November 2016

A View From The Back Of The Room: UFO (Live Review By Paul)

UFO – Tramshed Cardiff

I've reviewed UFO a couple of times for the Musipedia so regular readers will be aware of my unrestrained love for Mr Mogg and co, from way back in the early 1980s when Pete Way was still holding it together and Paul Chapman filled Michael Schenker’s shoes. Every time band tour and hit the Welsh Capital, I feel it is my duty to trot along for an evening of high quality classic rock.

One thing UFO also manage to deliver with clockwork regularity is a pretty weak support act and this show was no exception. Now I have no real understanding about the rock scene in Russia and in some respects, based mainly on my stereotypical prejudices, I would imagine that any band from that part of the world has to work very hard to  get a supporting slot with a band as established and well respected as UFO. Nevertheless, we speak as we find and St Petersburg outfit Reds’Cool (5) were not only hampered by a pretty dire moniker but also a sound last heard in about 1988. Competent enough, the band were pretty routine with singer Slava Spark (oh really?) demonstrating that he had not only read but thoroughly digested the Sebastian Bach book on front man phraseology and posturing. Dedicating Stranger’s Eyes to “all the pretty ladies” was hysterical, given the demographic of the UFO audience whilst 2013’s title track Bad Story at least garnered a bit of rock painting by numbers audience participation. The band received a pretty appreciative reception but did nothing to get my flotilla moving.

At the reasonable hour of 8:45pm, the legends that are UFO (9) ambled onto the stage and proceeded to deliver an hour and three quarters masterclass in classic rock. Opening with the timeless We Belong To The Night, the band threw a couple of older rarities into the set including second track Ain't No Baby from Obsession. Whilst Vinnie Moore always catches the eye with his sublime soloing, frontman Phil Mogg is the focal point for much of the evening. Whether he is slightly intoxicated or just showing signs of typical old age is a matter to debate, but his banter between songs is at times entertaining and at other times a little irritating. The latter as a result of his tendency to talk away from the mic to the front row to the expense of half the audience.

Regardless of his banter and chat, Mogg retains the voice that has always been the UFO sound and on oldies like  Lights Out, which received a massive response and Only You Can Rock Me his voice was superb. The newer stuff got an airing too, with a couple from last year’s excellent Conspiracy Of Stars, Burn Your House Down from Seven Deadly and a special treat with Venus from 1995’s Walk On Water. As ever, the reliable Andy Parker, Rob Da Luca and Paul Raymond played a solid supporting role and by the time Rock Bottom rolled in, the crowd were fully engaged and clapping along. Encores of the inevitable Doctor Doctor and Shoot Shoot closed the set as UFO once again proved that with age comes great quality. Always entertaining, always fun. This is a band who are always worth a watch.

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