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Little Caesar - The Cluny, Newcastle (UK) - 25 February 2018

I have never seen Little Caesar before, though I do own a copy of the 2015 double disc set 'Brutally Honest: Live from Amsterdam', so I had a rough idea of what to expect. The band are playing a UK tour in advance of an appearance at Hard Rock Hell and also on the promotional trail for a new album entitled 'Eight' (no prizes for guessing how the name came about), their first for six years. As I was in Newcastle anyway, it seemed only fitting that I make my way over to The Cluny for the second time in just four days.


Little Caesar Live 4

I was fortunate enough to grab a half hour chat with front-man Ron Young before the show. He had been suffering with a bout of bronchitis for several weeks (you'd never have guessed during the set, aside from the coughing fits between songs), but was keen to make an impression in true "the show must go on" fashion. Another incentive was that the show was being filmed for future DVD release (hopefully).

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Though the Cluny was not full, the crowd's response was very enthusiastic and the band played as though they were in a stadium. The sound was in-your-face and the full-throttle openers 'Drive It Home' and 'Rock 'N' Roll State Of Mind' saw Little Caesar firing on all cylinders. The intent was clear and the aural/visual assault continued with 'Hard Times' and 'Hard Rock Hell'. Guitarists Loren Molinare (original member) and Mark Tremalgia (new guy) played some unfussy AC/DC-like riffs, backed up by the rock-solid rhythm section of drummer Tom Morris and bassist Pharoah Barrett.


Little Caesar Live 3

We got '21 Again', the first track from the new album, and this continued the pure Rock trend. Young has a relaxed stage presence and if he sometimes rambled on between songs, the banter was generally light-hearted and the source of much amusement. His vocals are powerful and clear, and it was hard to believe he wasn't at a hundred percent. Most of the material was taken from the classy 1990 debut album, but we were treated to two more new songs, the bouncy 'Mama Tried' and soulful 'Time Enough For That' which has recently been released as a single.

Little Caesar are not about flashy gimmicks or big stage shows. We got a down-to-earth band playing good old-fashioned Hard Rock. 'Chain Of Fools' got several people dancing and I was delighted we also got 'Cajun Panther' as part of a three song encore. If Young's voice holds out, then the HRH faithful are in for a treat. Another fantastic night at The Cluny and another band added to my annual must-see list.

Review and photos by Dave Bott

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