UFO / 4Bitten Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 11, 2014    
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UFO / 4Bitten - O2 Academy, Boscombe (UK) - 18th February 2013

Arriving tonight I was surprised to see such a small queue before doors as when I was at the UFO show at Brighton last year, you couldn't swing a cat it was that packed. It was a shame the crowd was so sparse when 4Bitten hit the stage as they brought a certain energy and dynamism to the Academy that was lost on all the latecomers. Hailing from Athens, they feature a pocket sized frontwoman in Fofi Roussos who can at times be compared favourably with the legendary, late Janis Joplin, with a powerful set of lungs allied to a traditional Blues Rock sound. Opening with the Alice In Chains inspired 'Burning The Candle', it was followed by the groove laden 'Live For Today' and infectious swagger of 'Jaded' delivered with punch and panache by the four-piece, featuring George M on guitars, Akis 'Rooster' on bass and Angelo G on drums. 'A Different Fate' slowed things down but still had a heavy undercurrent whilst 'Let It All Burn' with its infectious groove continued the feel-good factor as Fofi generated some decent crowd response from a reticent audience. Rounded off by the sumptuous, melodic 'Far From Grace' and the powerful riffs of 'Through The Fire', all from last years' sophomore release 'Delirium', they closed with their only song from their debut 'Follow', another rocker perfectly showcasing their modern, heavy groove riffage.

There's not a lot I can say about UFO that hasn't been written a thousand times before. They came, they saw, they conquered. It always helps having an established fan base and tonight was no different with the usual shouted requests from the audience and the usual typical laconic response from Phil Mogg. Picking out a hat-wearing fellow at the front, he likened him to Vinnie's (jokingly alleged) Amish guitar tech saying "You've got something in common – maybe we can have prayers afterwards".

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Again, no fanfare, fuss or razzmatazz as an intro, as English gentlemen don't do that sort of thing. Instead, as usual, Phil and the band sauntered onto the stage and began 'Lights Out' in breezy, bombastic fashion quickly followed by 'Mother Mary' and 'Fight Night', stopping between numbers only to remark how his shiny new jeans look crinkly in photos. Vinnie stole the show during 'Wonderland' with an exquisite solo whereupon I noticed how he and bassist Rob De Luca interact on a far more regular basis now as Rob has definitely found his comfort zone, bending and twisting and holding his bass upright in classic Rock Star pose, as Vinnie pulled shapes and grimaces for each arcing of his Dean guitars. The sound by this stage was phenomenal but then having the Scorpions FOH main guy Achim Schulze behind the desk on this tour is the reason, and the big, fat juicy bottom end emanating from Rob's bass allied to Andy Parker's sharp drum sound made the songs that much more intimidating and fresh. 'Only You Can Rock Me' was made suitably impressive by Vinnie's solo, 'Too Hot To Handle' was extended and 'Venus' was again the highlight of the show for me as Vinnie stood atop the Marshall stacks. Paul Raymond ably backed up with rhythm guitar and keyboard flourishes, combining piano led pieces like 'Love To Love' with full-on backing vocals on first encore 'Doctor Doctor' whence, prior to starting the song, Phil had enquired of Paul if he knew the theme to 'Cheers' – bemused looks all round so Phil said he never watched it anyway, so they're going to do something else instead. Very quirky, very enigmatic, very eccentric, and very English (Vinnie and Rob aside) and very bloody good!

Bowing out with 'Shoot Shoot', it kind of sums up UFO 2013 rather nicely methinks.

Carl Buxton

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