Sauna Open Air Festival 2011, 9th-11th June Tampere, Finland
Review by Luxi Lahtinen, live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen & Terhi Pihlaja
The 8th Sauna Open Air festival was celebrated in a very sunny and warm weather, unlike in some other years – and this year the festival also broke their own record, welcoming as many as 26,000 people within the three days.
The SOA festival has truly found an important place among the other Finnish summer festivals, concentrating mostly on old-school Heavy/Thrash Metal and Hard Rock bands – and turning the festival around for the past 3-4 years or so, by booking many internationally big names for the three-day Metal feasts; from Kiss to Megadeth to Dio to Whitesnake to Scorpions to Type O Negatíve – and the list goes on.
This year, the festival organizers had very special grins – wider than ever before, spread all over their faces – and for some very good reasons. Two of the biggest headliners, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest, arrived at SOA for the first time, with bands like Saxon, Accept, Doro, Cavalera Conspiracy, Joey Belladonna and many others proving to be good company to them.
Read on – the following article is based on the seven most interesting and musically satisfying bands of this year’s festival from your truly point of view.
Eric MacKinnon at RockAAA.com recently caught up with SAXON frontman Biff Byford, who revealed some of the band’s future plans. An excerpt from the interview is available below:
Saxon frontman Biff Byford has revealed the band’s next project will see them join forces with Polish Philharmonic Orchestra to give some of their most famous songs an orchestral overhaul. The veteran rockers are thrashing out the details which will see them head for Poland for a special performance of unplugged and orchestral versions of their songs which will then be filmed for a DVD – as will the build up as part of a ‘Making of’ documentary.
In a RockAAA exclusive Byford revealed:
“We’re going to do a show with an orchestra next year in Warsaw. The guy who runs the Philharmonic Orchestra asked us to do and we fancied it as we have a quite few songs which are scored to orchestra like ‘Call To Arms’ on the new album and we’ve just done ‘Crusader’ with an orchestra which sounds fantastic, so it will be a bit unplugged and a bit orchestra and a bit of heavy metal too.
It will be filmed and we’ll do a making of, too. We don’t know exactly when that will be but we’re trying to work it out now as it is a nightmare logistically.”
SAXON vocalist, Biff Byford, checks in with the following news from the road:
“Played the first gig of the world tour last night in Thessaloniki (Greece, at Principal Club Theatre). Fantastic audience! The first audience in Thessaloniki set the bench mark for the craziest audience, so come on, it is up to you guys.
A bit of further news: Coolhead Productions are giving us 200 Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie DVDs, which are the last few left from the limited edition series. 5 signed copies will be on the T-Shirt store in the way out every night across Europe for 30.- £ and 35.- €.
We’re just writing the blog while we are waiting to get to the gig in Athens.
Keep the faith!”
Check out some video footage from the Thessaloniki gig below:
Just after Midnight (early on Thursday) while on stage at the 700000 Tons of Metal cruise, Biff Byford for the first time ever pubically announced the name of the new Saxon album. The album will be called A Call To Arms and will be out later in 2011.
To see daily updates from 70000TONS of METAL go HERE.
Saxon to Sweden Rock once again. Not only are they one of the biggest, most classic bands from the perennial New Wave of British Heavy Metal – they are also one of the bands the audience at SRF never get tired of seeing. Now they come to celebrate the fact that their classic album “Denim & Leather turns 30 years old and they will perform the whole album at next years Sweden Rock, of course spiced with allot of other immortal Saxon classics and yes, they will bring the eagle!
We can also present another 3 confirmed bands. American countrypunk in the shape of classic JASON AND THE SCORCHERS, melodic speed metal or call it US-power metal from AGENT STEEL and Swedish progg from legendary FLÄSKET BRINNER (The pork is burning).
In 1979 when the classic NWOBHM band SAXON was formed its ranks consisted of five members, singer Biff Byford, guitarist Paul Quinn, guitarist Graham Oliver, bassist Steve Dawson and drummer Pete Gill. Now, thirty years later only Byford and Quinn remain under the SAXON banner. However, Oliver and Dawson have since joined together to carry on their part of the SAXON legacy. First, in 1996, under the name SON OF A BITCH, with Pete Gill on drums, and later, mainly to appease the promoters, as OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON. Read on to learn, straight from two founding members of SAXON, about the various stages in the history of one of the most celebrated metal bands to have emerged from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and the falling apart, piece by piece, of its classic lineup through the years.
The last time Saxon graced a stage in San Antonio, Texas was in 2002 when the long standing British Metal institution recorded several live tracks for the "Heavy Metal Thunder" release. It would be seven years and what would seem like forever before Saxon would return to the US. At last the band of Brits had returned to play three US concerts; kicking things off at the BB Kings venue in New York before passing through San Antonio to headline an outdoor festival at the Sunken Gardens Ampitheatre before wrapping things up the next night at the Meridian Theater in Houston, Texas.
By the time you read this the band will be back in Europe headlining outdoor Heavy Metal festivals such as the upcoming Wacken Open Air in early August. Plans are tentatively underway to return to the States possibly on a package tour sometime later in the summer.
Legendary vocalist and Saxon co-founder Biff Byford sat down with me to discuss the bands current activities; including the newly released "Into The Labrinyth" album, an upcoming unplugged live release where the band will collaborate with a full symphony orchestra, the band’s unique Riff King YouTube contest, the early days of the NWOBHM scene and more…
Enjoy, and fill your heads with Heavy Metal Thunder!
The legendary Saxon doesn’t need too much introduction here but I will do it briefly anyway. Saxon, who originally called themselves Son of a Bitch, was formed in1977 by vocalist Biff Byford, guitarists Graham Olivier and Paul Quinn, bassist Steve Dawson and drummer Pete Gill. Their early albums “Denim and Leather”, “Wheels of Steel” and “Strong Arm Of The Law” are heralded as some of the most important NWOBHM classics. A ground breaking live album “The Eagle Has Landed” was released in 1983 and still today, along with such classic as Motorheads “No Sleep At All”, it’s often mentioned as one of the most important live releases from that period. Since those days the band has gone through many ups and downs. There has been a great number of line -up changes, problems with record companies, problems with former band members and low record sales but on the other hand over the last few years they have succeeded to reach a new, strong and loyal fanbase who have helped them to re-create their glory days. Their recent albums “Lionheart”, Killing Ground” and “Metalhead” are modern heavy metal classics and are also living proof that Saxon is alive and well. Recently the band released a brand new live album “The Eagle Has Landed III” which continues the saga which originally started in 1983. I managed to catch Paul Quinn and Nibbs Carter after their great show in Ruisrock and here is the transcription of our lengthy causerie, hope you like it?
Interview and pictures by Marko Syrjälä Interview pictures by Taru Saarinen Transcription by Cindy Zhang
Nigel Glockler is probably best known of his long career as a drummer for legendary NWOBHM band Saxon. Nigel did his first tour with the band in 1981 as a temporary member when original drummer Pete Gill damaged his hand just days before starting a huge tour. Nigel soon became a permanent member and in the early 1982 Saxon released their highly acclaimed live album “THE EAGLE HAS LANDED” , which is still one of the best live albums ever released. At that point Saxon was on the top of their game. The line up which consisted of vocalist Biff Byford, guitarists Paul Quinn and Graham Olivier, bassist Steve Dawson and Nigel, released three classic albums: “POWER AND GLORY”, “CRUSADER” and “INNOCENCE IS NO EXCUSE” before problems started. In 1986 Dawson left the band and only one year later Nigel decided to leave himself and join the shortlived”supergroup” GTR. After various projects and recordings with such artists as Fastway, Nigel decided to re join Saxon in 1989 and together they did several albums and tours before health problems forced him to again leave the band in 1997. Since leaving Nigel hasn’t been able to play drums in many years but after a long rehabilitation and much training he got back working again and in 2004 he got up on stage and did a few songs as a special quest for Saxon at Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. That show was going to be the last show for Fritz Rainbow, who had replaced Nigel 1997, and at that point Jorg Michael (Stratovarius, ex- Running Wild) became the new drummer for Saxon. The band released the album “LIONHEART” in 2004 but in the middle of the tour Jorg announced that he was going to leave after the tour and re -join his old band Stratovarius. At this point the band decided to contact Nigel and ask him to rejoin band permanently. After some thinking and training Nigel decided to accept an invitation and give it a try.
I met Nigel last December in Stockholm right before Saxon show in Swedenrock festival annual kickoff event and here are the results of our discussion…