at Academy 2, Newcastle, U.K., March 20, 2012

They may not have received the adulation heaped on the likes of Zeppelin, Purple, and Sabbath over the years, but there’s no doubting the legacy of Scottish Rockers Nazareth is just as tangible. To those growing up in the ’70s, Nazareth were just about the only Hard Rock act featured regularly on the national Top Of The Pops TV show.

While most bands of that era were either glitter-coated Glam bands who received the bulk of the airplay, or the more AOR monsters who sold albums by the bucketful, but were never featured on mainstream television shows. Nazareth managed to cross that divide by producing a string of hit singles, yet retain that gritty streetwise Rock edge that ensured their credibility remained intact.


The appeal of Nazareth has endured for over four decades and their fiercely loyal fan base, although getting on a touch in years, remains as enthusiastic as ever, so it’s no surprise that the Academy 2 was full to the brim to see Scotland’s finest.

Built around original members — vocalist Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew (bass) — along with long-time guitarist Jimmy Murrison and Agnew’s son, Lee, on drums, Nazareth delivered almost two hours of dirty, hard-edged Rock ‘n’ Roll. McCafferty in particular was impressive throughout with a paint-stripping voice that makes Brian Johnson sound like Lionel Ritchie. The rhythm section comprised of the ever-smiling Pete and Lee Agnew was tight in a way that only a father and son combo could be, while Murrison did a fine job filling the huge shoes left by Manny Charlton all those years ago, making this position his very own.

Although their set was filled with crowd-pleasing classics such as “Bad Bad Boy” and “Hair Of The Dog”, complete with McCafferty’s custom made bagpipe/talkbox contraption, Nazareth didn’t rest on their laurels as they aired plenty of material from 2009’s The Newz (“See Me”) and their newest release Big Dogz, with “Big Dogs Gonna Howl” and the slow-burning “When Jesus Comes To Save The World Again” being particularly well-received. It’s clear that the new material has revitalized the band, but they didn’t ignore the hard-core fans either with “Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman” from the Hair Of The Dog classic and “This Month’s Messiah” from their overlooked The Catch album.


The biggest surprise of the night, announced as a “world exclusive”, was the appearance of two young Nazareth fans/rappers who joined the band onstage after writing to the McCafferty-telling him of their new Urban arrangement of “Enough Love”. This sounded like a recipe for disaster on paper, but it actually worked and full credit to the young guys for having the balls to get up in front of a crowd of Rockers and to bring a new slant to the Nazareth standard … and who knows, it might just sneak its way back into the charts and open up Nazareth to a whole new generation of fans.

Rounding off the night with the quick-fire rampage of “Razamanaz”, the evergreen “Love Hurts” and the sing-a-long “Broken Down Angel” sent the crowd home more than happy and Nazareth showed once again why they are one of Scotland’s most loved musical institutions.


  • 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.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.