Rich “The Meister” Dillon here for CGCM Rock Radio and I was recently on location in Knislinge, Sweden at Time To Rock Festival 2023. And what an overall incredible event it was! Throughout that weekend there were a veritable crapton of great acts gracing stages. But a few of the bands stood out to me over and above the already highly established bar. In my Spotlight series, I’ll go into more detail about certain gig sets than I did in my daily wrap-up blogs. All of the Time To Rock coverage can be found here: Time To Rock 2023 – Complete Coverage.
Meister and The Tygers
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a lover of the NWOBHM and bands associated with it. Tygers of Pan Tang is of course one of them. They’re more unique than some in that IMO they’re far better now than in their “heyday”. With riff master guitarist Robb Weir as the sole original member, they continue to produce top-quality albums. 2016’s self-titled was a solid album. 2019’s The Ritual was staggeringly good. 2023’s recently issued Bloodlines might just be album of the year for me! Such amazingly nice dudes as well.
In the beginning stages of moving from a podcast and website to launching our 24/7 internet radio station, I had some communications with Tygers‘ skin basher, Craig Ellis. He was only too happy for him and the rest of the band to provide some radio IDs for CGCM Rock Radio! I think it all spanned out of having Tygers‘ vocalist Jack Meille on an episode of CGCM Podcast around the time of the compilation Majors & Minors release. And Jack was a fantastic guest with some hilarious stories. You can listen to that here: CGCM Podcast EP#136 -Jack from Tygers Of Pan Tang.
I finally met the guys in person the first time I saw them live. This was at Headbangers Open Air in July 0f 2022. I was supposed to meet up with them again here at Time To Rock, prompted by Robb calling me out on an FB post to stop by and say hi. Unfortunately, I was so busy photographing that the time came and went all too quickly and I missed their signing session,
Recently, in a chat with some worldwide friends an amusing auto-correct during a discussion of music and bands committed by Shawn Irwin has left them forever re-named as Tygers Of Pad Thai…..lol
Three times I’ve seen Tygers, three times I’ve photoed Tygers! Hopefully, these will be my best work. “Euthanasia” led the charge and launched the clicking of the capture button. Before I knew it we’d flown through “Euthanasia” and were into one of my favourite Tygers tracks, “Keeping Me Alive“. There’s an entire song of photo opportunities basically wasted! I can’t take a decent photo while my head is banging and foot stomping! The curse of also being a fan I suppose. Jack then took a moment with the crowd. He called out to a guy who resembled the look and style of Rob Halford even! Then they blasted into “One that’s been a while but it’s back in the setlist, “Paris By Air”!”
Vocals & Guitarists
Such a great band! I think Jack sounds fantastic on the old tracks. And the harmony vocals also fit perfectly. “Love Don’t Stay” appeared somewhere around here in the setlist, another top cut for me. Interestingly enough, requested by a listener on my show the week before I lifted off for Time To Rock! Guitarist Francesco looks so cool and collected up there. He’s not original of course but man can he play. Francesco Marras also had a great solo album out last year. Original guitarist Robb Weir was jumping up and down, a broad smile across his face and his Hawaiian style shirt black and white shirt flapping in the wind. Clearly still loving the stage.
Bloodlines and Burns
“I see Bloodlines tees, thanks for buying. It’s time to do a song from that new album, the opening track” Jack called out ahead of “Edge of the World“. It was about this point that I thought to myself: “Why would the headliner be playing as the first band of the day?” Jack took another chance to talk to the audience assembled in the already scorching Swedish sun. “We go back to the NWOBHM as a band and now we go back to Spellbound for a track you all know. And it goes like this” as Robb starts the opening riff of “Gangland“.
Bravity, Heartbeats and Fires
“This next one is the most listened-to song of Tygers! We never expected it to be. From 2016, here’s “Only The Brave”!“. After that, it was over to the first song Francesco recorded with Tygers, “A New Heartbeat” off Bloodlines. My favourite from the new album “Fire On The Horizon” followed and then we got “Insanity“. The debut Tygers album that started it all was titled Wildcat. I’m not sure if it’s an anniversary of that album or something, but they seemed to be concentrating a little on it. “Slave To Freedom” came next introduced by Jack saying something about not playing this one or they’d get killed. Missed it, but it sounded like a threat they’d received. Maybe I’m just hearing things. *Actually turns out he said if they don’t play it in Holland, they might get killed!* But Jack definitely called out for Huw to launch the next tune with the bassline start of “Back For Good“.
Back again to Wildcat for “Suzie Smiled” as we rounded the corner on another awesome set for Tygers Of Pad Thai. Now, I should have expected that “Hellbound” be the set closer since it had not yet surfaced. But for the life of me, I cannot recall hearing it on this day! Was I delusional? Drunk? Did I go for a toilet break and just missed it? Or did they actually not play it? I guess they must have run out of time in the set, maybe. No matter, the Tygers once again proved that they are stronger than ever! Do yourself a favour and pick up their brand new album, Bloodlines…..it’s a hot one!
Follow along with all of my coverage here: Time To Rock Festival 2023 Full Coverage page.
Find more of my album reviews and blogs here: Meister Music