Words and Pics: Reg Richardson
RED’SCOOL, from St. Petersburg, have supported UFO on several of their tours and are a classic rock band with a good following. The band released their second album, Press Hard, in 2015 and this show comprised a large proportion of songs from that album plus a sprinkling from the band’s first album as RED’SCOOL, Bad Story, released in 2013. (Formerly known as Old School the band also released an album in 2011).
The set opens with three songs from the new album; Dangerous One, My Way and The Way I Am. Dangerous One is a hard rocking song full of fuzzy guitars and scratchy vocals, a cracking song which immediately energised the assembling crowd. My Way is a rock ballad, while The Way I Am starts off as a ballad but soon takes off into something much more invigorating. These are followed by Love & Pain then Bite, both from Bad Story. Bite starts off with a Ted Nugent style intro before breaking into a sound that is typically RED’SCOOL. Slava Spark’s vocals supported by some superb guitars provided by Lu Smirnov and Sergey Fedotov combined well and with Dee Pronin’s bass and Andrey Kruglov’s timing on the skins the ensemble made a very, very good ‘classic’ rock sound. The set continued with Love Behind and Strangers Eyes, both from Press Hard and the show ended on a high with Bad Story and Feel You.
Song of the set, however, was the title track from Bad Story, with its Cat Scratch Fever-style intro it blasts the senses, it’s a great track – have a listen, like what you hear, buy the albums, these lads deserve your support.
The UFO musical legacy cannot be questioned, with more fan favourites than most bands they have a lot to live up to at each performance and last time around they weren’t quite able to reach those expectations due to ‘technical issues’ with the sound system. With a decent sized crowd hopeful that those sound problems evident on the last tour weren’t repeated this time around, the tension was palpable. The crowd were not to be disappointed. Although this was part of the Conspiracy of Stars Tour the opportunity to showcase the album, released last year, wasn’t taken with only 2 songs in the entire set coming from the album. As is their way the band took the audience on a historic tour of the UFO back catalogue. The show started off with a walk-on intro of Faith Healer by Alex Harvey and was followed by We Belong to the Night from the 1982 album Mechanix and Ain’t No Baby from Obsession. The first of the songs from the latest album was next, Run Boy Run, a heavy rhythm, driving bass, some complex guitars in the background, a refreshingly good sound. Throughout the set Vinnie Moore was on top form, lots of solo’s, all played exceedingly well if a little ‘over-twiddly’ at times.
The band go back to the deep and distant past once again with the title track from Lights Out coming only slightly more up to date with Venus from Walk on Water then yo-yoing back to Obsession with Only You Can Rock Me, a crowd favourite.
The tightness of the band was contrasted by the looseness and random musings of Phil Mogg, with a possible contribution from a couple of pre-show tipples. The audience really did find Phil amusing, while a certain young [female] security guard asked me if I knew whether Phil goes commando on stage, saying it looked obvious to her that he did. I said I had no idea but that I’d ask his nephew, Nigel, whether he could shed any light on the matter and he said ‘knowing Phil as I do it was quite likely that he did’ – so there you are, you heard it here first!
Moving on, it was Burn Your House Down from the 2012 album Seven Deadly followed by Cherry from Obsession, with a tidy Rob De Luca bass intro which livened the crowd up even more. A return to Lights Out yielded Love to Love followed by Too Hot to Handle, preludes to the second song from A Conspiracy of Stars, Messiah of Love. Phil continued to pick out faces from the crowd to have completely useless conversations with, something that amused the rest of the band as well as the audience.
The end of the set beckoned as Makin’ Moves from The Wild, The Willing & The Innocent followed by a storming version of Rock Bottom from Phenomenon closed the show….but not for long.
The band returned for a planned encore of Doctor, Doctor and Shoot, Shoot but those plans were soon thrown into disarray by the crowd’s repeated calls for Mother Mary – so the band obliged and threw that in for good measure between the two planned tracks.
Unsung heroes of the evening have to be Andy Parker and Paul Raymond who got on with their jobs without any fuss while providing immeasurable musical support throughout the night. The diversity of the set coupled with the flawless sound quality and the contribution by Reds’Cool made for a tremendous nights entertainment. UFO show few signs of slowing up and if this show is a sign of what they have left long may they continue – fabulous!