October 12, 2013
UFO performed at Empire, in Springfield, Virginia, US on October 12, 2013. An intimate setting, Empire’s capacity is only 500 and is buried in strip mall. Consider this an excellent opportunity to get up close to some big name acts.
The opening acts consisted of entertaining, if not unconventional music.
Monster Madhouse opened up to a lightly filled room, but rocked on nevertheless. A campy power trio led by Jerry Moore, a local TV personality facilitating the resurgence of classic horror movies. www.monstermadhouse.com
Next on were The Deathbillies. “A comedy act masquerading as a heavy metal band playing country music”. Yeah, that’s right, you heard it. Where else in the world can you hear “Crazy Train (For Feeling So Lonely)”? Patsy Cline meets Ozzy Osbourne. Awesome. Original. Entertaining. www.deathbillies.com
Convictus, a talented original metal group with Christian undertones. Catchy tunes, melodic, with a religious bend. Talk about a need for a warning label. www.convictusmusic.com
If UFO is playing anywhere near you-GO! Considered by many to be one of the world’s most underrated hard rock bands, the legendary UFO delivered. The band flawlessly performed old hits & new tracks to a fired up audience. On stage for this tour, Phil Mogg, vocals, Paul Raymond, guitar & keyboards, Andy Parker, drums, Vinnie Moore, guitar and Rob De Luca, bass player for the US/Canada leg, on bass.
These road warriors, having played Europe & South America already this year, have crossed the pond to promote their latest album, Seven Deadly. They played their classics that have rocked us for forty plus years and tracks from their new release. The years have not slowed them down, their raw, high-energy sound remains untamed. UFO came out on time opening with Lights Out to the thrill of the few hundred people packed into the small venue. They were solid, Phil’s voice in near-perfect tone as they rolled right into Mother Mary with a vengeance.
Time for Phil to say hello to the fans (you never know what he’s going to say). Curious about Springfield, Virginia, he asked if this was this was where the famous rifle was produced (no, that was Springfield, Massachusetts). While the audience knew the firearm did not come from here, they were hard pressed to come up with anything else that put the Virginia town on the map. Truth is, short of housing some US government agencies, UFO had landed in a non-descript suburb of Washington, DC. Seems having traveled the world many times, his curiosities of locale still amuse him (or maybe it was just what was in his Red Solo Cup).
The next two songs, Fright Night, Wonderland, proves that they are still producing relative rocking music. This album should appeal to old and new fans alike and only serve to perpetuate the incredible legacy they have built. They continued to rock with the classics, Baby Blue, Cherry, Let it Roll, before sharing two more tunes from Seven Deadly, Mojo Town, Burn Your House Down.
Vinnie and Rob ripped classics as if they were the ones who originally laid them down. Only You Can Rock Me and Love to Love never sounded better. Vinnie’s renditions were perfect, exuding the energy of the iconic guitarists who preceded him. Rob’s driving bass lines and stage presence is a perfect fit. Andy, a founding member was as enthusiastic as ever, thrashing the kit like a teenager. Paul, who’s been around since ’77, handling all the keyboard and rhythm roles.
Hell Driver was followed by Venus, Too Hot to Handle and Rock Bottom. These old school anthems have never been stronger. How often can you say that about a band that has been around so long with so many personnel changes? Phil hit all the notes, no signs of fading. His voice passionate, melodic, fierce.
The only obvious omission was the ballad Try Me. Guess you can’t play them all. But, no one was disappointed in this small room. We were treated as if they had a huge stadium audience. The band played straight through for almost two hours with an encore of Doctor Doctor & Shoot, Shoot.
Sorry for the night to end, Phil & Co. were off to Toronto. The good news is, given their touring history, they should be back soon. We will be there.
-poison sumac, guest contributor, US