Saxon // Sweet Savage // Live Review // The Ulster Hall // Belfast

Saturday night, early March, and we have a stellar lineup in the Ulster Hall tonight, Northern Ireland’s own Sweet Savage is here tonight supporting one of the UK’s finest old-school NWOBHM bands in Saxon, as they bring their Seize The Day World Tour to our beautiful city.

First up are the local lads, Sweet Savage is a legendary band from Northern who have seen some of the finest six-string slingers cross their paths over the years, Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and Simon McBride of course but tonight we have the equally enigmatic Phil Edgar slaying it in front of a sold-out Ulster hall crowd along with his compatriots Marty McCloskey on drums and of course the mighty Ray Haller on vocals and bass. The guy’s brand of classic rock sets the Ulster Hall alight as they get the Belfast audience’s toes tapping and energy pumping with a collection of old fan favourites and tracks off their upcoming album Bang, so we are being treated to some of the first plays off what is going to be another timeless recording from this band.

Sweet Savage laid down a blistering set of highly addictive tracks that captured the imagination of the bloodthirsty Belfast crowd and they sealed the deal with Thin Lizzy’s ‘Rocker’ which always goes down well on this island. A brilliant set, passionate first-class classic rock that just gets the blood flowing, as the roars from the crowd signal their approval as the set wraps up I spot one unlikely fan giving it her all from the crowd, the one, the only Beth Hart is in the building incognito, enjoying a night off after playing Dublin last night, before her very own headline performance in this very building tomorrow night., Well played Beth, well played! But I see you!


Sweet Savage



As the lights dimmed and the crowd roared in anticipation, I knew that I was about to witness something special. The year was 2023, and I was at Belfast’s iconic Ulster Hall to see one of the most influential bands in heavy metal history: Saxon. Born way back in 1975 it is hard to comprehend the journey this band has taken, but here we are ready to receive.

As the intro music blared through the speakers, the band took to the stage, led by frontman Biff Byford, and launched into “Carpe Diem,” the title track from their latest album. From the first note, it was clear that Saxon were firing on all cylinders. The energy was palpable, and the crowd responded in kind, throwing their fists in the air and singing along with every word.

Despite being in their 60s, Saxon showed no signs of slowing down. Byford’s voice was as powerful as ever, and the band’s musicianship was nothing short of impressive. Guitarists Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt traded blistering solos, while bassist Nibbs Carter and drummer Nigel Glockler kept the rhythm tight and heavy.

As the set progressed, Saxon delved into their extensive back catalogue, playing classics like “Strong Arm of the Law,” “Power and the Glory,” and “Crusader.” The crowd went wild, moshing and headbanging with reckless abandon.

But Saxon wasn’t content to simply play the hits. They also showcased material from their newer albums. These songs fit seamlessly alongside the classics, proving that Saxon’s songwriting prowess has not diminished over time.

One of the highlights of the show was when Byford invited a fan onstage to sing “Wheels of Steel” with the band. The lucky fan belted out the lyrics with gusto, much to the delight of the crowd.

As the set drew to a close, Saxon closed out with their signature anthem, “Denim and Leather” and “Princess Of The Night”. The crowd sang along with every word, and it was clear that this song – and this band – had touched the lives of countless people.

As I left the Ulster Hall that night, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to witness such an incredible performance. Saxon may be getting older, but they still have the fire and passion that made them legends in the first place. If you ever have the chance to see them live, don’t pass it up – you won’t be disappointed.

An unforgettable performance from one of Metals most revered bands left Belfast in its wake, as the happy metalheads streamed out of the building you could see far and wise what this night meant to so many, passionate fans living every thrash of those guitars, singing along at the top of their voices giving everything they can and Saxon gave it all back ten-fold. Lovers of all things metal of all ages, fathers with their kids educating them on how things should be done, it is a great sight to see, long may it continue.


Photography: Mark McGrogan

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British Heavy Metal legends Saxon unveil the first single, “The Faith Healer”, from upcoming, More Inspirations – set for release on March 24th via Silver Lining Music.
Following the release of Inspirations in 2021, More Inspirations is the second ‘deep dish’ serving of the influences which have fed the mighty Saxon’s immensely successful 40+ year career. The first single is an astonishing take on The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s “The Faith Healer”. Frontman Biff Byford comments “We used to see The Sensational Alex Harvey band play this back in the day, they started the set with it, such a fantastic song and fantastic band… big influence!”Listen To/Watch “The Faith Healer”, the “making of” video directed by Jay Shredder,  at this location
Whether getting feral with The Animal’s “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place”, letting loose a high-octane take on Alice Cooper’s “From The Inside”, or laying down a ferocious tribute to KISS’ “Detroit Rock City”, More Inspirations is a joyous trip into the sounds which galvanized the Barnsley boys and continue to get spun on home stereos and tour buses.
Produced by vocalist/co-founder Biff Byford, with Seb Byford helping record the music alongside mixing engineer Jacky LehmannMore Inspirations also includes enthusiastic takes on Alice CooperRainbowZZ Top and Cream, as well as a thunderous “Razamanaz” by Nazareth, a tasty take on The Who’s “Substitute”, and a thick groove take on Uriah Heep’s “Gypsy”. Whether this is your first dance with such classic songs, or you’ve come to see where Saxon were born, More Inspirations delivers the goods and then some.
Following the success of the Seize the World Tour 2022Saxon will be back on the road in March 2023 for a string of European dates, with special guest’s German metal titans RAGE. For a full list of confirmed dates, tickets, and additional information visit this this location.SEIZE THE DAY WORLD TOUR 2023
8 March – LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg – Den Atelier*
9 March – GERMANY, Mannheim – Capitol
10 March – GERMANY, Köln – Essigfabrik
11 March – GERMANY, Markneukirchen – Musikhalle
12 March – GERMANY, Hamburg – Große Freiheit 36
14 March – POLAND, Warsaw – Progresja*
16 March – GERMANY, Rostock – Moya
17 March – GERMANY, Dresden – Alter Schlachthof
18 March – AUSTRIA, Linz – Posthof
19 March – GERMANY, Ulm – Roxy
With Special Guests RAGE except in*Saxon’s More Inspirations will be available on 12” Black Vinyl, CD Digipak, digital formats and special D2C bundles; to pre-order go to this location.
Track Listing:
  1. We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place
  2. The Faith Healer
  3. From the Inside
  4. Chevrolet
  5. Substitute
  6. Gypsy
  7. Man On the Silver Mountain
  8. Detroit Rock City
  9. Razamanaz
  10. Tales of Brave Ulysses
 – Vocals 

Produced by Biff Byford
Recorded by Seb Byford and Jacky Lehmann
Mixed and Mastered by Jacky Lehmann,
Mastered for vinyl at Abbey Studios, London