Before Biff and his Saxon boys gave us their Classic Heavy Metal at its very best, we were treated to a bit of local with Northern Ireland’s Sweet Savage. Probably best known for having once housed Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell and new Deep Purple guitarist Simon McBride, they also made a big noise as part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement.
Sweet Savage – 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin
3 March 2023
Words: Brian Boyle
Photography: Carl Foran.
Despite bassist and vocalist Ray Haller being the only original member, the lively 45-minute set still set a nostalgic tone. A silver-haired ball of energy and akin to a metalized version of Sting, he and his bandmates hit the ground running with the rigorous opener Eye Of The Storm.
Bearing in mind some of the healthy amounts of twenty-somethings in attendance wouldn’t have been up to speed on Sweet Savage, not many were having their faces lit up by their smartphones as Powder Monkey and Regenerator held the Dublin masses captive.
Even new songs, Leave Me Alone and the title track from the forthcoming new album Bang went down like free Guinness, which is what Haller bravely promised should anybody meet him in Belfast the following night.
Nothing gets an Irish crowd going more than a bit of Thin Lizzy, and with Haller having graced the stage with Phil Lynott and sublime guitarist Phil Edgar’s association with Brian Downey’s Alive And Dangerous, the thunderous version of The Rocker was never going to disappoint.
This was Edgar’s moment, and he left jaws scraping the floor with his virtuoso performance. Closer Killing Time rounded off a high-octane workout from Sweet Savage, who looked like they could have gone for another hour.
All that was left was to witness Saxon deliver Classic Metal at its very best.