Band: Tygers Of Pan Tang & Saints Of War

Venue: The Studio, Hartlepool

Date: 5 December 2015

 

When it comes to classic hard rocks bands that moulded a generation, they don’t come any more influential that The Tygers of Pan Tang, who over recent years have rejuvenated themselves and to be honest sound better now than they did in their heyday. Led by founding and only remaining original member Robb Weir, who along with now long time vocalist Jacopo Meille and drummer Craig Ellis, with more recent addition Micky Crystal and returning to the band, bass guitarist Gav Gray, who together brought the sounds of the Tygers roaring back.

So it was without any hesitation that we made the trip down the A19 to Hartlepool to The Studio, to see these guys once more rock it up.

First up though it was up to Middlesborough’s Saints of War to open up proceedings.  This quartet brought the heavier side of things with their mix of Sabbath and Shinedown, with touch of Slayer’s guitar sound.  

They opened up their set with ‘Do or Die’ as they brought that heady bass driven metal to the masses.  The set continued in a similar vein with ‘Wash The World Away’, only this time with a more dominant guitar lick driving this one.

'End of the Road' was up next, which has a much darker vibe about it, as frontman Darran urged the crowd to come closer to the front of the stage, which some did, even if at first hesitantly. The band brought a big Sabbathesque feel to the set with 'Big Bag of Bones', where the crowd really seemed to gel with the band. 

All in all, these are four young guys that are still on a learning curve and need to polish their sound a touch more. They're currently wearing their influences on their sleeves but in time they will find their own sound.

Now for the main event, a band that have really gone from strength to strength since their reformation and this is without a doubt, the best Tygers line-up I’ve seen and I’ve followed Robb and the band for many a year.  

With Jac leading the charge they opened up with the very first Tygers single ‘Don’t Touch Me There’, with Jac delivering his Italian passion for the classics, as well as the new material.  The band stormed into ‘Love Don’t Stay’ from 'Crazy Nights', with Robb getting in as many photo opportunities as possible.  

The classics continued as it was to 'Spellbound' for the storming ‘Gangland’.  I've said it before and I’ll say it again, Jac has been a revelation to the Tygers since joining them, he has made the classics his own and he’s made them sound like they were written for his voice.  

Next it was the first track from the bands most recent album ‘Ambush’ for ‘She’, again full blown Hard Rocking at its very best, although for me, song of the set had to be one of my favourite all time Tygers songs, the quite stunning ‘Paris By Air’.  A song that I’ve been wanting to hear live by the band for so long.  Tonight I almost made myself horse singing along to it.  For me the night could have ended there, but there was even more to come as the tempo was picked up with the storming ‘Euthanasia’, with new boy Micky Crystal and Weir trading licks on this one.

It was back to 'Crazy Nights' for ‘Never Satisfied’ and for the first taste of the voice box from Robb, something that he brought to hard rock way before Ritchie Sambora on 'Livin’ on a Prayer’, then it was back to the excellent 'Ambush' album for 'Keeping My Alive’.  Well by this time the whole place was rocking.  There was a gale force outside but with the Tygers playing on 11 tonight, it was hard to tell which one would be blowing the roof off The Studio!  Then it was time for Gav to bring in the big bass lines as he opened up ‘Slave To Freedom’, before bringing the heat with ‘Rock n' Roll Man’.

Jac introduced the next one as one for the ladies, with a little sweet rock n' roll in ‘Rock Candy’, before the excellent ‘Take It’, which was Jac as his most soulful.  It was a quick blast back to 'Wildcat' for a touch of ‘Insanity’, before the return of a little lady and ‘Hey Suzi’.  

The main set was rounded off with another classic piece of Tygers magic in ‘Spellbound’.  The band hadn’t even left the stage before the chants of "MORE!" were heard and it wasn’t long before the boys were back with a rousing version of ‘Raised on Rock’, before topping off another excellent Tygers show with what else but ‘Love Potion No.9’, which went down a storm, as did the rest of the set.  

The band may have been going since 1978 but believe me, this is the best Tygers line-up I’ve seen and it’s a tribute to Robb who believes in the band, and not just its legacy, but his vision to take the band forward and continue producing great rock n' roll.  I can't wait for the new album next year!

Review by: Barry McMinn

 

 

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