At The O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., February 20, 2010

Having a famous sibling in the music business can be something of a millstone around the neck to many. The name Mick Jagger for instance conjures up images of the mighty Rolling Stones playing to huge audiences in stadiums around the world yet the career of his brother couldn’t be further away from the glitzy life at the top of the musical tree.

Deborah BonhamFortunately for Deborah Bonham, she has succeeded in stepping out of the huge shadow created by her much missed brother, the legendary John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, to carve a unique and successful career in her own right.

With an impressive, powerful smoking Blues voice with just a hint of Janis Joplin, Bonham sparkled in front of the Newcastle crowd with her excellent four piece band. With the Faces like “Grace” from her Duchess album to the touching ballad in memory of lost loved ones “The Old Hide”, Bonham made many new friends.

With her slot on stage, almost over, a surprise guest crept up behind her. A stunned Bonham turned round to see her nephew, Jason Bonham standing there beaming broadly before he took his seat behind the drums as the Bonhams romped through an impromptu jam of “Rock and Roll” to ensure her set finished on a memorable high.

The last time Nazareth appeared at the Academy, they were inexplicably appearing on the smaller Academy 2 stage with the audience rammed to the rafters and people spilling down the stairs trying to get in to see the show. Fortunately this time, common sense prevailed and Nazareth were booked into the far more suitable larger hall.

NazarethFor most, reaching the 40 year milestone in their career would see thoughts turning to a nice cosy retirement. Nazareth, having passed this now and releasing their new album, The Newz, last year are showing no signs of sliding quietly into pipe and slippers territory just yet.

From the opening refrain of “Telegram” it’s clear that Nazareth have lost none of their edge with vocalist Dan McCafferty’s granite blasted voice and grizzled, dry Scottish wit providing the focal point for the band. Indeed McCafferty must be the only singer around who can make Brian Johnson sound like Andy Williams!!

NazarethFrom the huge riff of “Miss Misery” to the low-down dirty slide guitar of “Bad Bad Boy” and the brooding groove laden “The Gathering” from their excellent latest album The Newz, Nazareth showed there is plenty of powder in their guns to compete with the best of them.

Alongside the jovial Dan McCafferty and original bassman, the ever smiling Pete Agnew, are guitarist Jimmy Murrison and son of Pete, Lee Agnew. Murrison’s guitar work throughout is exemplary and certainly matches Manny Charlton’s performances perfectly. The Agnew combo lock tightly together in a way only a father and son rhythm section can. Besides, who could fail to smile as the knowing looks and joy from a proud father are clear on Pete’s face as he glances over to his son behind the kit.

NazarethIn “Hair of the Dog” Nazareth have a bona fide classic in their repertoire and it’s easy to see why Guns N’ Roses covered it on their Spaghetti Incident opus and tonight it sizzled helped ably along by none other than Jason Bonham on lead cowbell !!

NazarethClosing the show proper was the Axl Rose approved ballad “Love Hurts” followed by their first hit single “Broken Down Angel” before returning to the stage with the acoustic romp of “See Me” and the pile driving double bass drum rampage of Razamanaz”

Nazareth may have a few miles on the clock but they certainly know how to roll out a great show and throughout the night they show many younger acts just how it’s done leaving few, if any, disappointed with a fine evening’s entertainment.



  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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