It was a very special Sunday evening at Aura in downtown Portland, with two well-known bands on the bill, and an incredible opening act! First up, we had the amazing Jared James Nichols, a Wisconsin-born/Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and guitarist that totally blew the doors off the place, along with his bandmates Dennis Holm (drums), and Erik Sandin (bass).
Jared proceeded to deliver his raw, rockin, and soulful style to the crowd song-after-song with his black Epiphone Les Paul Custom (with only one Seymour Duncan P-90 pickup in the bridge), his Blackstar amp, no pedals, and no picks! Near the end of his set, he switched to his vintage gold Explorer, and played the hell out of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold”. Jared’s new album Black Magic will be released on 10/27/17. He will also be a part of the 2018 Monsters of Rock Cruise in February, which will be jammin’ all the way to Jamaica mon!
Next on stage, the one-and-only British heavy metal band Saxon! Kicking their set off with the 1983 hit “Power & the Glory”, Biff Byford (lead vocals), Paul Quinn (guitar), Nigel Glockler (drums), Nibbs Carter (bass), and Doug Scarratt (guitar) instantly sent everyone back in time, banging their heads, throwing the horns up, and singing at the tops of their lungs! The “2017 Battering Ram Tour” was in full throttle, and the crowd couldn’t get enough! They played “Dogs of War”, “747, 20,000 Feet”, “Heavy Metal Thunder”…I mean the list goes on and on!
At one point, Biff sees a guy in the audience with a jean jacket on, which was covered in rock band patches. Biff wanted a closer look, so he asked the guy to pass it up to him onstage. Biff admires the jacket, talks to the crowd about it for a bit, PUTS THE VEST ON, and proceeds to sing several tunes while wearing it, before returning it to the concertgoer, making sure to add his autograph to commemorate the occasion! WOW! Everyone went nuts! Then the band went straight back to work cranking out MORE British heavy metal like “Denim and Leather”, “Princess of the Night”, and “Wheels of Steel”. Biff actually named-off different tunes, giving the audience the choice of what they wanted to hear the most! What a GREAT TIME!
After another short intermission, and roadies preparing the stage for the final band of the evening, out came the English hard rock/heavy metal band UFO!!! Original lead vocalist, Phil Mogg, along with Andy Parker (original drummer), Paul Raymond (original keyboards & rhythm guitar), Vinnie Moore (guitar), and Rob DeLuca (bass) commanded the stage and launched into many of the crowds’ favorite tunes like “We Belong to the Night”, “Run Boy Run”, “Lights Out”, “Only You Can Rock Me”, “Burn Your House Down”, “Cherry”, “Love to Love”, “Too Hot to Handle”, “Messiah of Love”, “Rock Bottom”, and several encores including “Mother Mary”.
What a treat it was to see such an iconic band! A rock ‘n roll career spanning 48 years, 22 studio albums, 14 live recordings, 16 compilation albums, and even an album of cover tunes! Fantastic performance! Thank you so much for coming to Portland, and we look forward to seeing all these bands again in 2018!