Turning up early to the Anson Rooms in the city of Bristol, UK, and after finally finding a space to park with a few laps of the area, I find the queue for the venue all the way down the street and around the corner. I went up to the front and luckily walked in, got my pass, and eagerly waited for the tour’s support band The Temperance Movement to grace the stage of this massive hall.
The Temperance Movement, right now, get a lot of play on Planet Rock Radio here in the UK. And kicking straight in with one of their hit songs “Only Friend” was a quality move by the band. The nice, steady melodic intro of guitars, and then vocalist Phil Campbell kicks in with his iconic rock voice (which is a dying breed). It’s just one of those vocal sounds that pull you in similar to AC/DC but with his own twist. Then the second song slowly building up with the amazingly catchy “Caught in the Middle.” I dare you try and not sing along to the chorus the second time it comes around.
The sound in the Anson Rooms was a bit quiet at the back for some reason, but still filled the area. I was really impressed with these lads as I’ve only heard them on the radio previously and Phil Campbell has that proper rock legend appeal, charisma, and swagger for days – with moves similar to Mick Jagger. Then he busts out the harmonica for a couple tunes and runs around the stage with a tambourine – a well energetic set from the lads. The standout tracks for me were “Take It Back,” and ending on “Midnight Black” was perfect. Well I will be keeping an eye out for tour dates in the future for sure.
Straight away the lights dimmed and the intro to Game of Thrones rung out. The place erupted as the members of Blue Oyster Cult walked out on stage and busted straight in with the cymbal crashes and strumming of guitars which only meant one track: “The Red and the Black.” Then the up-tempo drum beat kicks in and the front few rows had their fists in the air and nodded along with approval. Strap yourselves in for a ride, as they had 18 songs to get through, and said they like to play a different set every night on this tour. One of the reasons is that, even to this day, die-hard fans follow the band and watch them every night – and that’s a fact!
Hearing those unique guitar sounds on the solos is an arm-tingling moment. Mixed in with the keyboard sounds, the whole sound the band created was just incredible to hear – well on par with the album versions (if not better). The gig was a total sellout, and if you shut your eyes, you would automatically be transported back to a time when rock music was rock music. It was nice to see a mix of ages in the crowd, as I was expecting to see a lot of older people, but that was not the case.
Seeing band members switching instruments throughout the set, like Eric Bloom shifting from guitars to keyboards for a couple tracks, was a nice touch. Also throwing in the track “Screams” as an extra just before an epic guitar solo performance. They played ”Don’t Fear the Reaper” then walked off. I was thinking there is not gonna be an encore after that, but the old chanting from the crowd got the band back out to finish up with “Golden Age of Leather” and “Hot Rails of Hell.” I would have preferred to hear “Don’t Fear the Reaper” last, but then that would have been an obvious move I suppose.
Well if you want a great night of classic rock tunes then just look for tour dates in your area and get your wallets out before the gigs sell out.