Archive for the ‘Lautrec’ Category

Saxon “Wheels of Steel” Newcastle City Hall 21st April 1980

Saxon “Wheels of Steel” Newcastle City Hall 21st April 1980
saxon80tixFrom the 1980 tour programme:
“Saxon. The name immediately conjures up visions of swashbuckling macho men who rape and pillage at every opportunity. Well, Saxon the band may not rape, but if anybody’s ever been to one of their concerts then they will know that the pillage bit is not that far from the truth. They’re the archetypal getcha rocks off head down no nonsense (mindless?) boogie band, hitting harder than a punch in the gut with a slab of concrete.”
Get the idea? Very much of its time and some of the language certainly wouldn’t seem acceptable these days. But this was the era of the dawn of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and Saxon came along riding high from deepest Yorkshire (Barnsley to be precise) with their brand of heavy rock.
I first saw Saxon when they were called Son of a Bitch and played regularly in a “before the match” spot at the Boliermakers club. It was obvious then that these guys were a pretty tight rock band and they built up their own following in the North East clubs. Some of my mates were pretty heavily into them at the time. The next thing we knew; they had rebranded themselves as Saxon and were appearing as support for major bands, such as Motorhead. saxonprog80Then they hit the big time, and were appearing on Top of the Pops playing “Wheels of Steel”. This all happened quite quickly. I remember going along to the City Hall gig, which was part of their first major tour, and wondering how many people would be there. It was pretty full, as a I recall, and Saxon delivered a solid set of heavy metal rock’n’roll. There are some damn fine rock tunes on the “Wheels of Steel” album including, as well as the title track, “747 (Strangers in the Night)”, which was a favourite of mine at the time, and “Suzie Hold On”. “Wheels of Steel” was Saxon’s second album and is recognised as their best work. It received positive reviews at the time; Eduardo Rivadavia said: “the album’s songs positively gleam with a bright, metallic sheen similar to that exhibited by the chrome eagle hoisting a motorcycle wheel on its iconic cover.” Support for the City Hall show was heavy rock band Lautrec.
Saxon were, at the time: Biff Byford (vocals, big hair, leather jacket and lycra trousers); Graham Oliver (guitar); Paul Quinn (guitar); Steve Dawson (bass); and Pete Gill (drums). I remember one of the guitarists had his guitar attached to his belt buckle and would spin it around and around, which looked pretty impressive. Biff was the main man, however, and had good rapport with the North East crowds who warmed to his Yorkshire humour.
Setlist: Motorcycle Man; Still Fit to Boogie; Freeway Mad; Backs to the Wall; 747 (Strangers in the Night); Rainbow Theme; Frozen Rainbow; Wheels of Steel; See the Light Shining; Judgement Day; Bap Shoo Ap; Street Fighting Gang; Stallions of the Highway; Suzie Hold On; Stand Up and Be Counted; Machine Gun.
“When my foots on the throttle there’s no looking back, I leave the motor tickin’ over when she’s back on the track, I’ve got a 68 Chevy with pipes on the side, You know she’s my idea of beauty, that’s what I drive. She’s got wheels, wheels of steel!…(Wheels of Steel, Saxon, 1980)

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