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UFO: Roadmender, Northampton

mark taylor
Words and Pictures: Mark Taylor
1st October 2017


Two years into their 'A Conspiracy Of Stars' tour, promoting their twenty-first studio album of a lengthy forty-eight year career, UFO were back on European soil for a brief set of dates in Germany and England.

The Heavy Metal legends were visiting towns they had not previously hit on this tour meaning many fans could see their heroes in a different environment before the band returned to the States to continue their North American sojourn with Saxon.

The Roadmender in Northampton town centre is a cool venue that has an intimate vibe with loud, crystal clear sound that can even be enjoyed in the adjacent bar at ear-splitting volume, accompanied by screens showing all the live action so you don't miss a thing when nipping out for an extra, refreshing pint of beer.

A ram packed gig meant many were still queuing outside to get in when openers Wayward Sons hit the stage. They are a new, promising outfit put together by former Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson that also features the well travelled Chrome Molly bassist Nic Wastell and Down N' Outz drummer Phil Martini plus young guitar slinger Sam Wood from Treason Kings.

Promoting their new debut album, 'Ghosts Of Yet To Come', Wayward Sons made an immediate impact on their new audience with a sound not too far removed from that of the Little Angels', but with more edge and very much cemented in the 70s hard drive of the commercial brace of Thin Lizzy and the band they're sharing the stage with, UFO themselves.

A succinct six song set was richly rewarded with a positive response from the crowd, many of whom would have been unaware of Wayward Sons' credentials before the show.


UFO made a refreshing entrance with the Chapman-era all out rocker 'We Belong To The Night' followed by the chunky riff of 'Run Boy Run', one of two tracks from 'A Conspiracy Of Stars' to make the set, along with the funky groove of 'Messiah Of Love'.

'New boys', guitarist Vinnie Moore and bassist Rob De Luca, have collectively been part of the UFO touring line-up for an incredible twenty-five years and the chemistry transmits with the other three elder members who are performing tighter together than ever before.

Although UFO have yet to record that bonafide classic since Vinnie Moore joined in 2002, the band are still capable of writing strong and worthy material as typified on the Stonesy breeze of 'Burn Your House Down' which improves and matures with every performance of this neat ingraining number.


A bugbear of UFO afficianados over recent years is the repetiveness of the setlists. Some were hoping for a couple of tracks from the new cover album, 'The Salentino Cuts', especially as UFO have a history of being a dab hand at knocking out a decent cover or two, but it was not to be, however their own 'Ain't No Baby' from 'Obsession' was a most welcome addition.

UFO do have a strong argument for not changing the setlist too much when the majority of the crowd want to hear all the classics, many of which were featured on the seminal live album 'Strangers In The Night'.

'Lights Out' is a thunderbolt head shaker and 'Only You Can Rock Me' is a green light for the party to really get started.


Something that does change at every UFO gig is the random jovial quotes from the East End boy in braces, Phil Mogg, who now has a completely shaven head. When he's not commenting about his merchandise girl, who apparently has not stopped yapping to someone throughout the gig, the charismatic vocalist admits that he rarely reads reviews of his shows, but it was brought to his attention that one publication stated that he now has a shiny head, which left him bemused.

For the record, under the red light it's more aptly a Cherry-head.

The orchestral 'Love To Love' is a song of magnificent proportions proving that like 'Rock Bottom', the best rock songs have shades of light and grey.

The aforementioned 'Rock Bottom' features a maestros guitar workout from an ever confident Vinnie Moore who has stamped his own identity over this iconic number. Encores of 'Doctor Doctor' and the party ride out of 'Shoot Shoot' hit the target right in the bullseye.

A band that need to be treasured; they simply don't make them like this anymore.


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We Belong To The Night
Run Boy Run
Ain't No Baby
Lights Out
Only You Can Rock Me
Burn Your House Down
Love To Love
Too Hot To Handle
Messiah Of Love
Rock Bottom

Doctor Doctor
Shoot Shoot



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