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Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
17th March 2009

Founded in 1968, the Scottish Hard Rock band NAZARETH celebrated the first successes in the 1970s by releasing records such as `Razamanaz´ (1973) and `The Hair of the Dog´ (1975). The cover version of the EVERLY BROTHERS´ song `Love hurts´ brought the final breakthrough in Europe as well as in the USA. Up to now and besides the anthem `Dream on´ and the stamping `This Flight tonight´, this ballad has been associated with Nazareth´s music and is still an all-time favourite on the radio.

Lead singer Dan McCafferty’s hoarse, forceful voice and the combination of melodic Hard Rock and Blues were an inspiration for other famous bands, for example GUNS´N´ROSES and SLAYER. In the 1980s, NAZARETH´s career reached a low due to a stylistic change that led to a kind of softer Hair Metal and many ballads. That development didn´t find much fans´ favour and resulted in the exit of the founding member Manny Charlton whose ideas concerning the sound didn´t meet the band´s expectations anymore. Firstly, he was replaced with Billy Rankin who left the band in 1995. Henceforward, Jimmy Murrison has been the band´s guitarist. By releasing the album `No Jive´ (1991) that showed a return to straight Hard Rock, the Scots could replicate their former successes.

However, NAZARETH was struck by disaster in 1999. The drummer Darrell Sweet, who was one of the founding members, died from a heart attack just before a concert. His colleagues were shocked and had to think about whether NAZARETH should continue playing music together. Finally, the band members decided to choose Lee Agnew, the son of bassist Pete Agnew, for being the new drummer. In 2008, they released their comeback album `The Newz´ which was an anniversary album at the same time: After 40 years of Hard Rock, the band remained true to the Hard Rock style and presented 13 songs on the album that contained hard and dark songs as well as emotional ballads. This year, NAZARETH is on tour through Europe and America. They spent an evening at the Aschaffenburg club Colos-Saal on 17th March.

When I arrived at the club on that Tuesday evening, I was surprised due to the variety of the waiting crowd. Besides all the guests at the expected average age of about 50 years, there were also some teenagers and many twenty-somethings. After the admission that was proceeded by the Colos-Saal crew in a friendly and professional way, I entered the hall and found a standing room in front of the stage that was decorated simply. There were a tartan drum set and the other instruments and microphones. The hall was not filled up completely, but many listeners arrived later, thus at 8 pm the Colos-Saal was packed.

Music & Performance
The concert began some minutes past eight by starting a beautiful intro that reminded me of the movie “Braveheart”. Dan McCafferty (vocals), Lee Agnew (drums), Jimmy Murrison (guitar) and Pete Agnew (bass) appeared on stage and played the song `Telegram´ from the album `Close enough for Rock´n´Roll´ (1976). It was a good opener that prepared the fans well for the upcoming show. Though two band members, Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew, are over 60 years old, they radiated a pure Rock´n´Roll feeling. The bassist Pete was wearing all smiles and often made eye contact with the audience. McCafferty proved himself a matured singer and entertainer who didn´t need to strike big poses to get the crowd´s attention. Economical of dance movements and using his hoarse voice, which is one of the band´s trademarks, he captivated his audience. As far as I could assess it, there were not even any beads of perspiration on his forehead. The setlist pleased the long-time fans in particular, as it contained besides a lot of older 1970s stuff - of course - the most popular hits `Dream on´, `Love hurts´ and `This Flight tonight´. Everybody sang along when McCafferty asked for joining him at the chorus.

Every now and then, the grey-haired singer announced the upcoming song and was acknowledged with applause due to his humorous comments. For example, he embellished the announcement concerning the song `Love leads to Madness´ in the following way: “It´s a song about love, and I mean real love. It´s not about bumsen, you know.” (For all foreign readers: The word “bumsen” is an uncouth and bawdy German expression for making love.) Though McCafferty didn´t move that much on stage in general and rather cantered his voice, he danced in a kind of “Can-Can” style while intonating ‘My white Bicycle’. While he was introducing his colleagues, a fan pointed at him and shouted: “You are Dan McCafferty!” The singer took the chance to ask his band mates if the fan was right. That dry sense of humour made him appear to be a likeable and young-at-heart person. Once in a while, Lee Agnew accompanied the songs by playing the cembalo, whereas Jimmy Murrison presented some sophisticated guitar soli which were an impressive contribution to the show´s atmosphere. All in all, I didn´t experience NAZARETH as a band with a bombastic show resulting in a euphoric mood and thunderous applause. They set a high value on a musically perfect concert; an attitude which seemed to make advances to the audience´s ideas of that event.

I really liked the song `See me´ from the recent album `The Newz´. It is a very melodic up-tempo song that clearly contains Blues and Country. The heartbreaking ballad `Heart´s grown cold´ was a further highlight for me, as well as a great light show completing the respectable performance. It was a special concert for music lovers, no matter how old they were.

01. Telegram
02. Turn on your Receiver
03. Miss Misery
04. Bad, Bad Boy / Dream on
05. Light comes down
06. Love leads to Madness
07. The Gathering
08. My white Bicycle
09. Heart´s grown cold
10. Java Blues
11. Shanghai´d in Shanghai
12. Hair of the Dog
13. Love hurts
14. See me
15. Razamanaz
16. This Flight tonight

Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 7.9 / 10

All pictures by Katrin Renner (

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