Sweet Xmas Tour 2019

Sweet Xmas tour 2019

Sweet are a band that should really need no introduction to UK readers of CGCM Podcast pages. Although they had 5 top 10 singles stateside they were never as big as here. Known for a huge string of hits in the UK in the 70s, they were seen as teen rock/pop band. The joy was getting that 7 inch single home that you were singing along to on the radio, turning it over to the “B” side and finding a much heavier slice of rock. I remember being blown away at the heaviness and energy every time. Not to say the singles didn’t rock as well but they had a much more commercial edge. The tour was entitled Still Got The Rock which was proved beyond all doubt in the show I caught at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

Sweet Xmas Tour 2019

It was a strange kind of gig as it was seated and folks stayed that way until near the end. However, even though the band said it was strange they overcame the weirdness and played a blinding show which was very well received. Being seated near the front I could hear the voices of the fans behind me singing with some gusto throughout the gig.

There was the usual fun bonhomie chat between tracks at times. That British style of self-deprecating humour where they took the mick out of themselves and how they are a bit older and wider around the waist than their heyday. They also interacted well with some shouts from the audience making it a proper one-off night.

Sweet's Andy Scott Onstage Edinburgh Queen's Hall

Sweet’s Andy Scott Onstage Edinburgh Queen’s Hall

Certainly no complaints about the setlist which featured many of the big hits as well as some of the heavier numbers. Live, of course, even those pop style numbers have that extra oomph. Especially due to the thunderous drumming (and extra fills) of Bruce Bisland who has been there since early 90s. We were informed that he is of Scottish descent so this is a home from home for him. The band line up is certainly the best I have seen (folks who have seen more shows than me through the years said similar) with guys who have plenty of experience and talent. Their vocal harmonies were first class as well. Only original member Andy Scott was full of praise for this very new-look line-up. There was plenty of comradery between the members with laughs and jokes along with wind-ups.

Sweet – The Show

Opening track, “Action”, one of the several tracks written completely by the band got things going nicely. To think that this was “pop” music in the 70s! God some of us were lucky to grow up when we did musically. “New York Groove” got the hands in the air clapping along and was one of 3 covers. By the third song, the band were right into things. A wonderfully heavied up “Hell Raiser” nearly raised the roof off. Anyone who only knew the single from the 70s and hadn’t seen them live recently must have been shocked. It was totally in your face, riffs aplenty, drum fills longer and harder than the single from way back. If nothing else it paved the way for heavier tracks like “AC/DC”, “Sweet FA” and “Turn It Down” which were 100% ROCK!

Paul Manzi Sweet Frontman Edinburgh Queen's Hall

Paul Manzi Sweet Frontman Edinburgh Queen’s Hall

One of the funnier moments was in the lead up to “Teenage Rampage” where we were asked to shout out 3 words. Someone shouted out “och aye” to be told that is only 2. Andy then said, “Bonnie Prince Charlie” as singer Paul Manzi (ex-Cat’s In Space) was trying to tell us what he actually wanted. In fact, Andy regularly interjected putting Paul off when talking to the audience winding him and us up all evening.

Sweet – The Hit Songs

Before “Peppermint Twist” an old cover which we were informed was their biggest hit in Australia Andy started talking about how he was walking around the city. That his “wig blew off” and was then chased down the street by others to be recaptured for the show! Of course, he was joshing as it isn’t a wig (he pulled on it to prove it was genuine). There was even some pantomime style toing and froing with the crowd causing plenty of participation.

By the time they got to their oldest hits, there were folks dancing around the aisles with “Wig-Wam Bam” flowing straight into “Little Willy”. Smiles on stage and in the crowd with some great audience participation going on. The manner in which they then completely can change tack and go into progressive rock is something to behold. As “Love Is Like Oxygen” morphed into Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” as made famous by ELP.

Fox On The Run” once again showed the vocal talent in the band as the voices went up the registers during the chorus, each member hitting a higher note than the one before. The encore was 2 classic 70s hits which had everyone dancing, “Blockbuster” and “Ballroom Blitz”. As Gene Simmons from the band KISS once said: “without a Sweet there wouldn’t have been a KISS” which is true. They created songs that could be sung by anyone but still could kick you in the gonads!

Personally, I hope they do a new album with this line up (which also includes bassist and vocalist Lee Small and guitarist/keyboardist Steve Mann ex of Michael Schenker Fest) as it is excellent and versatile.

Opening Band – Novatines

Jamie Beale Novatines Edinburgh

Tom Corey Beale Novatines Edinburgh

Support on the show came from Bristol-based outfit Novatines who impressed many who were there early. There is a touch of the headliner about them at times what with the huge choruses and vocal harmonies. They were bold and energetic even trying their luck with a sit-down audience getting them to sing along with “Five”. I could hear plenty of voices joining in. “Hate Love” has a touch of U2 about it in parts (I won’t hold it against them!). Before playing their latest single they gave a shout out to the “legend Johnny Walker” on BBC Radio 2 who has played it.

It would appear their debut album is being produced by a certain Andy Scott from the headliners so it is obvious he is a fan. I can see why. Best songs for me were “Medicine” (terrific easy chorus that is a complete earworm). And the acoustic-led “Silver Screen” where they got folks to wave their mobile torches in the air. Plenty of folks joined in. The song heavied up as it went along and by the end, there were some fabulous screams from frontman Tom Corey (I believe) and some impressive furiously fast drum fills from Callum Moloney. I can only imagine how good they would be in a small venue where folks are stood up ready to rock. They did an impressive job in what I thought were difficult circumstances. Definitely, a band to watch.

A great night in Edinburgh with old and new rock together!

Sweet Official Website / Sweet Official Facebook Page

Novatines Official Website / Novatines Official Facebook Page

Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Tom Cornell

Tom Cornell

Email Me at: Tom Cornell

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