Steelhouse Festival has been forced into a late change ahead of this year’s event. However, the hugely positive outcome of this is that the mighty SAXON are now headlining Steelhouse Saturday, 30th of July.

This will be the metal legend’s only UK festival appearance of 2022. They will be performing a ‘40th Anniversary Greatest Hits’ set.  

In a statement about the line-up change, promoters Mikey and Max said, “We have been informed by Ace Frehley’s representatives that, due to unforeseen circumstances on his part, he needs to cancel his entire European tour including his appearance at Steelhouse”. 

They continue, “Our most heartfelt thanks to the mighty SAXON. A bona fide British metal institution who have gone above and beyond to make this happen and in the process make Steelhouse 2022 an even more mouth-watering prospect. Every song in this set is a true metal classic.”

Biff Byford of SAXON said, “We’ve been asked to step in and headline Steelhouse Festival, Saturday 30th July. We love playing there so happy to help out. We’re doing our 40th anniversary set list so all the big songs. And it’s our only UK festival this year so see you in Wales. Fill your heads with heavy metal thunder”


Steelhouse Festival was honoured to be voted ‘Best Festival’ by the followers and members of the NWOCRsocial community at the end of 2021. 

2021, in the face of overwhelming odds, was a resounding success – marking as it did the 10thSteelhouse Festival. 2022 has a lot to live up to, but is well on the way to being the best ever with an outstanding line-up and production upgrades including its biggest ever stage. Weekend and all day tickets are now on sale; demand has been such that Glamping sold out faster than ever.

Tickets Here

With its unique mountain top setting on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons, this family friendly great value event has built up a true following and a real heritage of its own since its establishment in 2011. Previous performers at The Steelhouse Festival have included Thin Lizzy, Glenn Hughes, Myles Kennedy, Black Star Riders, The Wildhearts, Thunder, The Darkness, UFO, Uriah Heep, Europe, Rival Sons, Saxon, Anvil, Michael Schenker, and Skindred. The event now includes a larger stage, an official Friday night, more glamping and we are working once more with our media partner Planet Rock.

Saxon have been a mainstay in my life since I was 13 years old. My school pal Tigger gave me a cassette of their Strong Arm Metal compilation, and my life changed the moment I pressed play on that TDK C90 and Strong Arm of the Law came chugging out of the speakers. They introduced me to the world of heavy metal, and I have been a fan ever since. The band have had their ups and downs, but despite this they have (mainly) stuck to their trademark traditional metal sound. Of course, their most successful period was in the 80s starting as a forerunner of the NWOBHM movement, but they were head and shoulders above many of the other bands that faded away, except for Iron Maiden and Motorhead (yes, I do consider Motorhead a NWOBHM band!). Saxon flew the flag of heavy metal all over the world and influenced many of the bands to come after them in the thrash movement. A band you may have heard of called Metallica played one of their earliest gigs supporting Saxon. (Don’t mention the fan incident!)

Saxon have had an amazingly prolific career and their latest effort Carpe Diem is unbelievably their 23rd studio album. The band have released a fantastic succession of albums in the last eleven years or so starting with Call to Arms in 2011, along with other highlights in Sacrifice, Battering Ram, and Thunderbolt. I would say this period is up there with their strongest material. Many would argue that a major aspect in the quality of their more recent material would be in no small part due to producer extraordinaire and part-time member of Judas Priest, Andy Sneap. (Fun fact: Andy produced an album called Sugarbuzz by the band Whatever in the 90s, and this scribe played drums in the band! He was also our live sound engineer and loves a Phall curry!).

The production on Carpe Diem is incredible as we have come to expect from Sneap, I must also comment on Biff Byford’s voice. He sounds as good (if not better) as he did back in the early days of Saxon, no small feat for a man who recently suffered a heart attack, not sure if that’s where the album’s title came from, but Seize the Day seems apt!  The opening of the album’s title track starts off with an atmospheric intro before a drum flourish gives way to a scream from Biff that could be something from Wheels of Steel! No sign of Biff retiring any time soon!

Carpe Diem gives us ten leather studded tracks of headbanging glory as only the Barnsley big teasers can deliver. This album does seem to be a bit more stripped down and lean compared to the other recent albums. This is no bad thing of course, big riffs courtesy of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt, pounding bass lines from the forever new kid Nibbs Carter, and the constantly outstanding Nigel Glockler in the engine room show the young un’s how to do this ‘eavy metal business. The title track is a head down, balls-out barnstormer with some glorious riffage and vocal gymnastics from Mr Byford, bloody marvelous!

Covid inspired track Remember the Fallen kicks off with another big chugging riff and kind of reminds me of another Saxon track about human disaster, Red Alert from their 1988 album Destiny, that song being about the Chernobyl incident. Saxon have always had great songs about historical events, The Eagle has Landed, Dallas 1 PM etc.. (I swear I learned so much more about history from metal bands that I ever did in school!) The track has a great video to go with it too with lots of news footage of the pandemic.

 The entire album embraces Saxon’s signature sound and like many other of the giants of metal still around, you know exactly who it is instantly. Age of Steam steams along (sorry!) nicely with Nibs and Nigel locking as tightly as the proverbial duck’s backside! The pace slows a little for the epic ‘The Pilgrimage’ but we are soon back in breakneck territory for the brilliant ‘Dambusters’ (I can’t believe Saxon haven’t had a song about the RAF bombers before!), Glockler again shows why he is one of metals most influential drummers here with his double bass barrage. The album continues to impress with more fantastic, blazing metal with tracks like ‘Super Nova’, ‘All For One’, and the brilliant ‘Lady in Gray’.

Saxon has proven yet again why their metal eagle continues to fly so high. As I write this, the band is playing to sold-out audiences in Manchester and London with Uriah Heep, Diamond Head, and Girlschool in support. Carpe Diem is another quality collection of songs to add to their legacy, Saxon has done it again, right, I’m off to Seize the Day!

Buy Here

Author: Kenny Kendrick

Recorded at Brockfield Hall near York, UK, with a firm eye on the old school way using Marshall cabs, Marshall amps, real drums and produced by Biff Byford with Jacky Lehmann recording and mixing, Saxon approach the likes of Motörhead’s ‘Bomber’ (with added whistle!), Toto’s ‘Hold The Line’, Black Sabbath’s ‘Evil Woman’ and a raucous Deep Purple’s ‘Speed King’ with refreshingly warm, unfiltered, “vintage” sounding renditions.

Continues Byford: “We wanted to do an album based on our influences, the songs and bands that inspired us to write what we did and still do.”

Byford does, indeed, take on some new vocal challenges, which he duly smashes on the likes of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker’. The net result is that whether cranking up a heavyweight take on Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Immigrant Song’ or throwing down AC/DC’s ‘Problem Child’, Saxon does a supreme job of entertaining both themselves and their audience throughout Inspirations.

 

Follow Saxon on:
www.facebook.com/SaxonOfficial
www.instagram.com/saxon.official
www.twitter.com/SaxonOfficial
www.youtube.com/PlanetSaxon
www.saxon747.com

Ah, the mighty Saxon. The band that turned me into a metal head back in 1986. Up until that point it was all about the top 40 and whatever was on Top of the Pops for me! A friend from school did me a mix tape and lent me his vinyl copy of the compilation ‘Strong Arm Metal’ and I was hooked. It was all about heavy metal for me from that pivotal moment. There was something about early Saxon that I connected with and I’ve (mostly) been a fan ever since. They have been through their ups and downs over the years and a few line up changes, but Saxon have had a resurgence over the last 10 years or so and have released some fantastic albums. 2013’s ‘Sacrifice’ and 2015’s ‘Battering Ram’ is up there with their best work, as is 2018’s ‘Thunderbolt’. Enlisting Andy Sneap (Sabbat/Judas Priest) as producer gave their sound a thunderous edge and pushed Saxon back into the big leagues of metal.

The band had been busier than ever in the live arena until the dreaded virus put paid to any dates that were scheduled. What do you do when you have lots of free time on your hands? Put out an album of covers from the bands and artists that have influenced you of course! That’s exactly what Saxon have done here with some fantastic results. It’s a celebration of the music that makes Saxon the band they are. They have gone down the old school route to record the album at Brockfield House near York, using real drums, and lots of Marshall amps! Frontman Biff Byford along with Jacky Lehmann have produced the album and it benefits from a great mix.

The band have dabbled with covers in the past with a great version of The Sweet’s ‘Set Me Free’ on 1984s ‘Crusader’ album and this foray into the bands influences throws up some tracks I would never have dreamed of a band like Saxon covering. The albums kicks off with a crunchy version of The Rolling Stones ‘Paint it Black’, this was the first release from Inspirations and there’s a cool behind the scenes video to accompany it. Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ is up next and Biff shows his vocal prowess here (yes, he handles the high notes in his own inimitable style), the bands groove is relentless behind him, this is a great version. The next track is one of the songs that shouldn’t work but it does somehow! The Beatles ‘Paperback Writer’ sounds great with heavier guitars and the vocal harmonies really work well.

We get back on more familiar ground with Black Sabbath’s ‘Evil Woman’, a real showcase for Tim ‘Nibbs’ Carter who is undoubtedly one of metals most underrated bass players. Next up we have a version of Jimi Hendrix’s classic anthem ‘Stone Free’, the band sound like they are having a blast with this one, you can feel the energy. I don’t think Saxon fans would be very happy if there wasn’t a Motorhead cover on here, of course they deliver with a brilliant version of ‘Bomber’ with drummer Nigel Glockler in full double bass monster mode. A great tribute to their old friends.

A frenetic take on Deep Purple’s ‘Speed King’ again highlights the vocal range of Biff Byford, he screams like a man possessed here and guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt play an absolute blinder with some serious shredding. A lesser know Thin Lizzy track gets the Saxon treatment, ‘The Rocker’ is a welcome addition instead of the usual Lizzy covers. Byford surprises again here with his range and really carries the song. A true to the original version of ‘Hold the Line’ by Toto grooves along nicely with Glockler showing he can handle the famous ‘Porcaro Shuffle’ with ease. (Google it kids). AC/DC’s ‘Problem Child’ doesn’t have the raw energy of the original, but it’s a solid effort all the same with Biff doing his best Bon impression. To close the album, we have a version of The Kinks ‘See My Friends’ which is probably the only track that doesn’t transition very well over to the metal titans even though it does chunk up towards the end.

Saxon have done a great job here and the main thing is to remember that it’s a bit of fun to try and lighten up these darkest of days that we have all been experiencing over the last year. Don’t take it too seriously, Saxon certainly haven’t. Crank it up with a beer in hand and sing along, you know the words!

 

Buy Inspirations Here

Author: Kenny Kendrick

 

Nine singles, eleven bands.  Seems like a pretty decent way to ease yourself into 2021 post-Trump and hopefully with the worst of this pandemic behind us maybe 2021 will see us back in live music venues and more bands releasing more music for us.  Here’s hoping and in the meantime stay safe and enjoy…

 

Los Pepe /  Jibaros – ‘Together’ split(Self Release) Always a great day to discover Los Pepe has got a new record out be it a 7″ single or album.  today we bring you their side of this split that’s a pair of right bangers.  With their cover of the Testors and Spains Jibaros taking on Teenage Heads – ‘Picture My Face’ and turning in a rousing dance floor filler.  Los Pepe do what they do and that’s turn in some fast loud power pop, luckily for us, this is no difference and a rather impressive split we have on our hands but it’s very limited so don’t dilly dally or you’ll be disappointed.

Buy it now Here

 

 

The Spangles – ‘Boys Just Wanna Have Some Fun’ (Self Release) So off the back of the rather spiffin’ long-player Those Spangles have come back to the table with a very nice EP that does exactly what it says on the tin.  What you have here is five tunes written by other peeps knocked out in a Covid wasteland with as much emphasis on being loud and Rockin’ out as was possible in a socially distanced recording studio.  Kicking off with the rather splendid ‘Bad Reputation’ giving the manly frontwoman that is Polly Phluid the chance to belt out the classic and to be fair the chaps have done the classic proud.  It might be one of the most covered tunes ever but so what its all about the attitude and having fun right? Right!

To be fair its pretty much the MO throughout as the boys take on such pop dignitaries as Joan Jett, Kim Wilde, The Bangles and Wendy James and her Transvision Vamps, and if  ‘Walk like An Egyptian’ is given a good seeing to then the beastly ‘I Want Your Love’ is as camp as Christmas (it isn’t obviously) but I do want them to make a cover of the video for this one it’ll be glorious. Almost as glorious as a ‘Sex Sausage’.  What? ‘Sex Sausage’ you ask who the fuck wrote that bad boy?  Don’t ask just smile or grin, as I’m sure these gents are.  Fantastic EP from a fantastic band.  Now get that difficult second album done and we’ll all meet up again and Slamdance together.  Facebook / Bandcamp

 

 

Poison Boys – ‘Nothing But Darkness’ (unknown) The first single from the second album is upon us and what a banger it is too.  I love The Poison Boys they just get things done.  No-fuss or fanfare they just write kick-ass tunes and this glimpse behind the curtain of the second record is a joy. It’s a bruising affair all switchblade knives and dark alleys and the breakdown is a smoldering mass of sleazy Rock and Roll and if this is what coming then bring it on boys it’s gonna be a top record.

Buy it here

 

 

 

 

Eddie Mooney & The Grave – ‘Lockdown Baby’ feat Malte B (Still Unbeatable Records) Two track choc-full of sprightly power pop is the order of the day courtesy of Eddie Mooney Released at the death of 2020. With the spirit of ’77 coursing through their veins, it’s got the vital ingredients being some barbed wire guitar and some sugar-sweet melodies on the chorus’.  Extremely limited vinyl pressings so be quick or be gone.

Buy Here

 

 

 

 

Chuck Norris Experiment / Scumbag Millionaire –  split (Strange Magic Records)    Pressed on super limited numbers of 100 solid red, 100 dirty white, 100 black of course this is gonna kick your backside.  Swedens finest exponents of hard rock are in the house and turning up the heat on this the first Singles club of the year and already owning it.  You know the drill two track each with the CNE tracks being exclusive to this 7″ whilst the Scumbag Millionaire contributes one exclusive track and a track from their debut LP Speed that was never released on a single (until now).

Loud and in your face is how CNE delivers their hard rock best and this pair of tunes is as good as they get. ‘Let The Wheels Roll’ is a pounding rhythm with sharp guitars and a chorus you can raise your horns to and chant along.  What’s not to like? then in direct contrast is the attitude-laden acoustic (of sorts) ‘Dinosaur Fire’ showing they don’t just do hard rock they can mix it up and when they do it’s never off the mark as for their fellow Gothenburg noise merchants Scumbag Millionaire it’s one exclusive and one from their last album.  ‘Too Much Is Never Enough’ is a slice of Motorhead meets Early Hellacopters and is an absolute banger! whilst their second contribution is lifted from their debut long-player ‘Speed’ in the shape of ‘White Flash’ another good reason to revisit that album another pair of great tunes making this a must-have EP of four excellent tunes.  Get a copy right sharpish or miss out and end up down the line paying some scalper a small fortune.  ORDER NOW by sending an e-mail to info@savagemagicrecords.com

 

 

 

Holy Death Trio – ‘The Killer’ (  )  The band says, “‘The Killer’ was written in the same vein as an old blues song from the early 1900’s.  It was originally written and performed as a one-man blues band and then it naturally worked well with a full band, so we made it Holy Death Trio standard.  This song is meant to feel like built up aggression with two killer guitar solos and just straight-up power trio heavy blues rock-n-roll.” More rock than your Jon Spenser Blues Explosion but it’s got a neat groove and it prefers to crash and burn than fade away and we like that especially when its played loud and this sounds like it was recorded loud!

Connect With Holy Death Trio Website / Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

 

 

Venus Grrrls – ‘Goth Girl’ (MonoMyth Records) Goth culture and witchcraft.  Oh, go on then.  Venus Grrrls release their new single on the back of last year’s EP and a dark brooding hybrid of dark pop and rock it motors along once you’re through the spooky kid intro with the pumping synth beat and vocal and hit the chorus and off they go.

The song tackle stereotyping and Goth culture and how trends come and go and with the big chorus it’ll wake the dead for sure as it rolls off with the pumping synth and soaring vocals before fading back and then pow! into a final chorus.  Stirring stuff from this Northern five-piece.

 

 

The Revox – ‘Talk About Her’ (Voodoo Rhythm Records)  Walking on the wild side is this raw and punchy 7″ from Swiss punks THE REVOX, reclusive mountain punks, they’re a blast from the past, and their music is inspired by the original Swiss garage and beat scene from back in the mid-’60s so I’m reliably informed and on this evidence, I’m impressed and love what they’ve got going on its like a fucked up Fuzztones howling drunk and just partying way too hard. ‘Talk About Her’ is a hoot with some super cool guitar and a trashy reverb-heavy rhythm where the cymbals are taking a pounding.  flip it over and ‘Sick Of You’ is more of the same as the riff rolls on and some garage racket is beaten out of the instruments for our listening pleasure.  Play on guys this is quality. Check it out Here

 

 

Saxon – ‘Speed King’  (Silver Lining Music)  Biff and the boys are in the house.  Tipping the hat to those that paved the way for Byford and his band to do what they’ve done for decades.  Check out their take on Deep Purples ‘Speed King’ if you like it then why not order it Here  Inspirations’ is a covers album, where in 2020 the band took residence at Brockfield Hall in York, to record cover versions of various songs which deeply influenced the band, engaging in a proper old-school live and recording process which was a hallmark of many old-school rock ‘n’ roll records.

 

British Heavy Metal legends Saxon will deliver a full-roar-fun-down set of covers with their latest album Inspirations, which drops a brand new 11 track release featuring some of the superb classic rock songs that influenced Biff Byford & the band.

Set for release on March 19th2021, via Silver Lining Music, Inspirations gets things rolling with the release of Saxon’s crunching take on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’.  Biff Byford comments: “Loved this band since I first saw them and heard them.  I liked the Beatles, but the Stones appealed to my rebel side; their iconic look… so many great songs, such a great attitude in the music!” 

Inspirations was recorded at Brockfield Hall near York in the UK, which was built in 1804 and holds the largest collection of paintings by Yorkshire’s impressionist artists – the Staithes Group.

For Byford, recording Inspirations all together within such a rich historical environment was a major ingredient of the project. “The warmth and feel of Inspirations had so much to do with being together in this magnificent place and doing it ‘old-school’ style,” Byford explains. “This is how many bands back in the day -including some of the ones covered here- made such great albums, so it just felt really good to be able to do this somewhere like Brockfield Hall.” The results speak for themselves.

From the super-charged melodic romp of The Beatles’ ‘Paperback Writer’ to their freeway mad take on Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Stone Free’, Saxonshow their love and appreciation with a series of faithful, raw and ready tributes.  Maintaining a firm eye on the old school way using Marshall cabs, Marshall amps, real drums and produced by Biff Byford with Jacky Lehmann recording and mixing, Saxon approach the likes of Motörhead’s ‘Bomber’ (with added whistle!),AC/DC’s ‘Problem Child’, Black Sabbath’s ‘Evil Woman’ and a raucous Deep Purple’s ‘Speed King’ with refreshingly warm, unfiltered, “vintage” sounding renditions.

We wanted to do an album based on our influences, the songs and bands that inspired us to write what we did and still do,” continues Byford, “and it was also interesting to see what my voice could do as I haven’t sung many of these songs before.

Byford does, indeed, take on some new vocal challenges, which he duly smashes on the likes of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Rocker’. The net result is that whether cranking up a heavyweight take on Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Immigrant Song’ or throwing down AC/DC’s ‘Problem Child’, Saxondoes a supreme job of entertaining both themselves and their audience throughout Inspirations.

We didn’t want to change any of the songs too much, just play them more like Saxon,” concludes Byford, “and we also think it’s very important to have -and share with the fans- some fun in these dark times.”
You want even more proof of the validity behind that statement? Wrap your ears around their sparkling take on Toto’s ‘Hold The Line’ and consider Saxon’s Inspirations a mission accomplished.
Saxon’s Inspirations is available on Vinyl, CD, digital formats and limited edition D2C products; to pre-order go  Here

 

Follow Saxon on:
www.facebook.com/saxon
www.instagram.com/saxon.official
www.twitter.com/SaxonOfficial
www.youtube.com/PlanetSaxon
www.saxon747.com

 

If you suddenly have the desire to collect The Hip Priests 7 inchers, just forget it already! That’s tantamount to saying you are gonna start collecting Star Wars figures or Kiss merchandise…there’s just too damn many, they’re too expensive and you won’t find ‘em all! But lucky for you, those fuckin’ boys have saved you the trouble and gathered together the lost gems, the hard to find cuts and the curios for all The Hip Priest fanboys and fangals to salivate over.

Yes, if you are a fully-fledged member of the Spasm Gang or even just a casual fan, (ie you don’t wear black denim every fuckin’ day!) then you probably already own the comprehensive double album ‘A Decade Of Disdain’. An album that brought together the best of The Hip Priests singles released over 2 pretty coloured records. And if you don’t, then give yourself a slap and get it sorted before we have words!

Well, ‘Solid Gold Easy Option’ is The Hip Priests strike back! 17 hard to find tracks from singles and EPs released between 2017-2019. That’s 6 cover versions bastardised by the band, sandwiched between 11 glorious original jams previously unavailable to mere mortals until now.

 

If quality, high octane garage rock is your thing, if you dig sonically seductive sounds delivered with more filth and fury than a Johnny Depp/Amber Heard weekend bender, then ‘Solid Gold Easy Option’ is right up your street. The dirty, the clean and the truly obscene rub sweaty shoulders and bloody knuckles in a defiant “fuck you!” to society, with no hint of socially distancing going on.

The epic ‘No Time (Like Right Now)’ is present and correct. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, it’s their punk rock masterpiece, channelling the power of the MC5 with the horns and suss of Rocket From The Crypt, while they rant a diatribe about political skulduggery and post Brexit fuckery. It’s a punk rock anthem for right now. The other 3 tracks from that EP are present and correct, but the punk and belligerent ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Dead’ and album closer ‘I’m Too Good’ seems to pale in comparison to the overly cool ‘She’s A Queen’. It sounds like Ian Astbury jamming with The Hellacopters, with one finger piano stabs, overly fuzzy guitars and vocals delivered straight from the crotch. It could be my favourite Hip Priests song right now.

Covers-wise, the likes of Motorhead’s ‘The Hammer’ and Demons ‘ Hot Running Blood’ are perfect Hip Priests fodder and stay pretty true to the originals. The Stooges ‘Loose’ is suitably ramshackle, sped up and delivered with guts and glory. Saxon’s ‘Play It Loud’ follows the same path and sounds epic.  It’s only Adam & The Ants classic ‘Press Darlings’ that doesn’t really benefit from the Hip Priests rough n’ ready, punk rock treatment for me.

Just because this is a b sides compilation, it doesn’t mean the quality has to suffer. ‘Nihilist Twist’ is a brutal, chanting 2 minute assault on the senses. ‘Dead By Sunday’ literally out ‘copters The Hellacopters and ‘I’m In Exile’ is all killer no filler. Wah-wah infused guitars fight with power chords as newest recruit Gentle Ben fills the right speaker and Austin the left, or is it the other way round? Who knows! But what I do know is the twin guitar attack sounds mighty.

 

27 singles, 3 EPs and 4 albums since their inception in 2007. It’s true to say that ‘Solid Gold Easy Option’ is more than just a stop-gap collection of odds and sods to keep their fanbase happy until album number 5 drops later this year. This is a quality collection of songs from shit island’s best-kept secret, and any self-respecting punk rock junkie should have it in their collection. The only trouble is do you choose green or blue vinyl?

Buy ‘Solid Gold Easy Option’ Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

unfortunately, Biff Byford announces the cancellation of his UK and European Tour dates.

We are very sorry to announce the cancellation of the BIFF BYFORD solo tour previously scheduled for April & May 2020. The cancellation is mainly due to low ticket sales, which may or may not have been affected by the current Worldwide Covid 19 Virus pandemic.
Biff Byford “The honest truth is the tickets for the forthcoming tour have just not sold as everyone expected for whatever reason, so we have cancelled the dates as scheduled with a view to hopefully re-visiting at a later date.
It’s sad as I was looking forward to the spoken word & live band show but it’s just not to be at this time. I want to thank everyone who bought the album and supported me. Keep the faith and see you on the road with Saxon”
The show was to take an “evening with” format and will be split into two halves. The first half featured a spoken word show compared by American Comedian and star of VH1 Classic’s “That Metal Show” DON JAMIESON, where Don would quiz Biff on all aspects of his life and career. The second half consisted of a live show with Biff and his band.
Ticket refunds are available from point of purchase.
Follow Biff –  facebook.com/biffsaxon747facebook.com/saxon twitter.com/biff_byford; twitter.com/SaxonOfficial www.saxon747.com

Saxon We’re always a fixture of the Hard Rock magazines when I was a kid and went to see them when they rolled through South Wales and always remember going home thoroughly entertained particularly from Biff Byford and his banter as much as his vocal dynamics on their classic catalogue of songs.  Fast forward many years and apart from the odd crossed paths at festivals Saxons popularity ebbed and flowed and in recent years people seem to have given them the respect they deserved and that’s due in no small part to frontman and Bard of Barnsley Mr Biff Byford.

I’ll admit its been quite some time since I played a Saxon record but always read interviews and had a lot of kudos for Biff and when I heard he was set to release a solo album I was intrigued and sought out the press kit in order to catch up with the legend and see if he was going to take this somewhere he could ever take his band Saxon and if so would he stand or fall in what is a super competitive market and with music being the forum it is today it’s easy to get lost in a sea of streams and downloads so I opened the Email quite excited as to what was going to greet me in the ‘School Of Hard Knocks’.

 

The first thing I noticed was the pipes that have been the silver-haired frontman’s trademark are still impressive and intact even at the tender age of 69.  The album tackles topics such as the county that Biff has always championed – Yorkshire. Biff sings from the heart and bears his soul throughout the record and even has time to throw in a cover of ‘Scarborough Fair’  where he excels in his display of power and I come out from behind the sofa and without a hint of irony or sarcasm he did himself proud. There is also time later on the record for a cover of Wishbone Ash ‘Throw Down The Sword’.  Of course, there is room for guest appearances to be fair that’s the point of a solo album anyway, isn’t it?  Indulge yourself, be the boss and take the record in any direction you choose. This record isn’t short of names with guest appearances by Phil Campbell (Motörhead/Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons), Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire and Turilli / Lione Rhapsody), Nick Barker (Voices), Dave Kemp (Wayward Sons) and Nibbs Carter (Saxon) all present and correct.

worry not there isn’t any cod reggae or disco going on and at times its all hard rockin’ stuff but when he does stray it provides the record with its highlights such as the Wishbone Ash cover and the acoustic song from the heart ‘Me And You’. The albums title track is the only time he comes anywhere near what Saxon is famed for but then he is telling his story so I guess its only fitting there should be one of those Saxon like riffs and to be fair it’s one of the best songs on offer.

There are some long songs that are a journey in themselves like ‘The Pit And The Pendulum’ and the Wishbone Ash cover but you also get spoken-word interlude ‘Inquisitor’ that just showing off guitar noodling and if its possible I’m sure I heard Biff grinning. So all in all an album that will please fans of Biff will have people tipping their hat in respect to his service and dedication and I have some tracks I will take with me more than others but I always love hearing his voice be it on a ballad or rockin out screaming his lungs out Biff Byford has earned his stripes and stab at a successful solo album and if anyone has a bad word to say about Sir Biff of Byford send em to me I’ll sort em out.

Biff has certainly been through the School of hard knocks and has one of the genre of Rocks’ most distinguishable vocals and sang some of the best most enduring and endearing songs he wanted to tell his story and does it well. Without a hint of smugness or over-inflated egos like a lot of his contemporaries, Biff has always remained true to himself and been as honest as the day is long.  He has always come across as a man well-grounded and proud of who and where he came from and now he’s been able to release a record and sing about his extraordinary life from his heart and by bearing his soul he gets the thumbs up from me.  Arise, Sir Biff of Byford a true hard rockin’ legend.

Buy ‘School Of Hard Knocks’ Here

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Author: Dom Daley

On February 21st 2020, legendary Saxon frontman Biff Byford will step into the spotlight with his first ever solo album, School Of Hard Knocks.   The album will be supported with an 10-date UK Tour in April which features 2 halves – Biff in conversation with American comedian Don Jamieson about his life and career, followed by live performance featuring a selection of new material, covers and a sprinkling of Saxon.

With his roots firmly in The North of England, Biff has earned the right to be considered The Heavy Metal Bard Of The North and his debut album reflects the man and his personality, his loves and his musical versatility.

School Of Hard Knocks fulfils Biff Byford’s long-standing wish to explore rock ‘n’ roll a little more. The album is a personal journey highlighting his life and his passionate interests, from the history of the Middle Ages to growing up in the industrial North. A classic, masterfully constructed old-school British hard rock album, School Of Hard Knocks embraces a variety of musical genres and includes the Yorkshire folk classic Scarborough Fair, famously covered by Simon and Garfunkel. Byford and Fredrik Åkesson’s arrangement breathes new life into the legendary song.

Watch the previously released videos for “Welcome to the Show” and “School Of Hard KnocksHERE.

School Of Hard Knocks features Biff Byford on vocals (and a spot of four string thunder) along with Fredrik Åkesson (Opeth) on guitars, drummer Christian Lundqvist and bass player Gus Macricostas.  The album also features guest appearances by Phil Campbell (Motörhead/Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons), Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire and Turilli / Lione Rhapsody), Nick Barker (Voices), Dave Kemp (Wayward Sons) and Nibbs Carter (Saxon). The album was produced by Biff Byford, recorded by Jacky Lehmann at Brighton Electric Studios in Brighton (UK) and mixed at Queen Street Studios in Stockholm (Sweden) by Mats Valentin.

School Of Hard Knocks UK Tour

Byford recently announced his first ever solo tour dates. The tour begins in the UK in April and continues to Europe in May.

The show, in the form of ‘An evening with…’, will be split into two halves. The first features Biff in conversation with Don Jamieson (American comedian and star of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show) on all aspects of his life and career. After the break Biff and his band will play some new songs, covers and, maybe, a Saxon song or two.

Biff says: “It’s a show I’ve wanted to do for a long time and one which I don’t think has been done in hard rock before. It’ll be something different and a lot of fun.

April UK tour dates:
Friday 17th Gateshead Sage 2
Saturday 18th Birmingham Town Hall
Monday 20th Glasgow St. Lukes
Tuesday 21st Leeds City Varieties
Wednesday 22nd Bath Komedia
Friday 24th Liverpool Arts Club
Saturday 25th Aberdare Coliseum Theatre
Monday 27th Milton Keynes Stables
Tuesday 28th London Islington Assembly Hall
Wednesday 29th Brighton Old Market

 

Tickets are available from myticket.co.uk

May EU tour dates:May EU tour dates:

 

Friday 1st THE NETHERLANDS Tilburg, 013
Saturday 2nd GERMANY Essen, Turock
Sunday 3rd BELGIUM Sint-Niklaas, Casino
Tuesday 5th GERMANY Hamburg, Gruenspan
Wednesday 6th GERMANY Osnabruck, Rosenhof
Friday 8th SWEDEN Malmo, Kulturbolaget
Saturday 9th SWEDEN Trollhattan, N3 Stagebox
Sunday 10th SWEDEN Stockholm, Nalen
Tuesday 12th GERMANY Berlin, Passionskirche
Wednesday 13th GERMANY Munich, Technikum
Thursday 14th SWITZERLAND Zurich, Dynamo
Friday 15th FRANCE Vaureal, Le Forum
Tickets are available from all usual outlets and agents

 

As a special bonus, fans buying tickets prior to 2nd of March 2020 for the European shows only will receive a personally signed 10”x8” photo together with entry into a draw to win one of 10 VIP Meet and Greets for each show.
Follow Biff Byford on:
facebook.com/biffsaxon747
facebook.com/saxon
twitter.com/biff_byford
twitter.com/SaxonOfficial
www.saxon747.com