Tygers Of Pan Tang graced the main stage very early on in the day considering their comparative ‘Rock Royalty’ status among the rest of the line-up. As with many bands that are well into their fourth decade of being, they are not quite the same band that appear on the back of your old battered LP copy of ‘Wild Cat’. In fact, guitarist Robb Weir is the only original member of the NWOBHM big cats.
It’s a familiar scene at places like Hard Rock Hell, you have original members accompanied by much younger musicians to keep bands like the Tygers… functioning; and why not if we get to shows like this. Current frontman Jacopo Meille is actually the longest serving vocalist in the band’s history. The ever-smiling and charismatic Italian does a fine job too, leading from the front, he ensures the band still have plenty of star quality on display.
The giant Tygers backdrop has attracted plenty of eager punters in from the cold before the band hit the stage and there’s a real sense of expectation in the air. It seemed everyone onsite was talking about this show earlier on in the day and, as promised, they’re all here to witness it.
Opening up with a new cut from the latest album, ‘Keeping Me Alive’, it was immediately apparent that we weren’t going to be disappointed. Jacopo appears as the sharp dressed Italian, waist-coated and wearing a beaming smile. He has all the rock gestures in the book as he points and struts his way around the stage.
The rest of the band appear a little more casually dressed but take care of business at the rock end of things. Robb Weir wears his guitar low and breaks out the riffs for classics and new tracks alike. The slow burning ‘Hey Suzie’ is a newbie but goes down a treat and is cleverly worked into the harder rocking ‘Suzie Smiled’.
The stage is bathed in warm light and drummer, Craig Ellis, has his drums raised up above the rest of the band against the Tygers backdrop. It’s quite a sight to behold. Anyone would think it was a headline set. The crowd display their appreciation by headbanging their way through the whole show. Not many people leave this one half way through, we’re all gripped by a winning combination of hard rocking tunes and a damn good-time feeling to boot.
They save the real classics for the end, finishing with some tracks from the height of the NWOBHM era. The threesome of ‘Don’t Touch Me There’, ‘Hellbound’ and ‘Euthanasia’ are the sort of thing that the crowds are gathered here for and bring to an end one of the most surprising sets of the day.
It was bloody brilliant!