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Little Caesar: Bannermans, Edinburgh

ian sutherland
Words: Ian Sutherland, Pictures: Gary Cooper

14th March 2018

little caesar

There were some people in the audience in Edinburgh's favourite live rock venue that had waited a long time to see Little Caesar. The veteran US rockers split up in 1992 and hadn't made it to Scotland's capital city prior to this tour after their twenty first century reformation.

So the phrase bucket list was being bandied around a lot and expectations were high after word of mouth reports from the tour so far.

The passing years have taken their toll on the amount of hair in the band line-up and much of what's left is grey now, but taking to the stage they still look like the gritty rock'n'roll band they always were.

little caesar

A few bars into opening song, 'Rock 'N' Roll State Of Mind', it's very clear that's exactly what they still are. Tight and together but with that easy swagger that really experienced bands have, they are still a high energy kind of outfit but manage to add some really nice harmonies behind vocalist Ron Young's mighty rasp.

The three remaining original members are all so obviously enjoying being on stage it's infectious. Young is strong up front and amusing and also often heartfelt between songs. When he says they're happier making music in Bannermans than being big rock stars it really does sound genuine, probably the wisdom of age speaking there.

Drummer Tom Morris keeps things tight with new guys bassist Pharoah Barrett and guitarist Mark Tremalgia while Loren Molinare on the other guitar seems to be having the time of his life. You can't help but smile at his antics, a bundle of energy and sheer daftness while throwing in some great licks along the way.

little caesar

The set is a mixture of old and new, favourites 'Down 'N' Dirty' and 'Hard Times' mixing with newer tunes like the ironic '21 Again'. The swing in their edgy hard rock'n'roll was keeping the room grooving so it didn't seem to matter to the excited audience what song it was, they just danced and sang along anyway.

An LA band from the eighties Little Caesar may be but their roots were always old school and there's a sprinkling of covers thrown in, from a snatch of CCR's 'Proud Mary' to Merle Haggard's 'Mama Tried' and Rod Stewart's 'Every Picture Tells A Story'. It's all rock'n'roll and they really do like it.

little caesar

The crowning glory for me personally was a run through 'Nobody Said It Was Easy' from Ron Young's and Pharoah Barrett's days in The Four Horsemen, bar room boogie at its' finest.

Speaking to all those bucket list people I mentioned earlier after the show, every single one of them loved tonight's gig and declared it worth the wait. It must have been good because one of the most famous Little Caesar tunes never even made the set. No cover of Aretha Franklin's 'Chain Of Fools' this time, but they still went down a storm.

A fitting testament to how good a rock'n'roll band these guys still are. Let's hope they don't wait so long until the next UK tour.

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Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.

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