at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., February 8, 2023

ALCATRAZZ (Live at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., February 8, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

If the prospect of three cracking bands for little over 20 quid on a Wednesday night doesn’t tempt you out then nothing will. In these increasing tough economic times, bands are certainly doing their bit to provide maximum entertainment at knock down prices to keep our spirits up and Rock and Roll on the road.

First up, NWOBHM legends, Tytan, formed by bassist Kevin Riddles on leaving Angel Witch way back in the early 80s. Despite a swirl of interest at the time Tytan split soon after releasing their first single. Their debut album, Rough Justice was released posthumously a couple of years later and showed what could have been. Interest in the band grew over the years to mythical proportions resulting in the band reforming, hitting the road again and recording new material.

Tonight, was a rare chance to catch them in Newcastle with Riddles joined by powerhouse vocalist Tony Coldham who injected a sense of urgency and unbridled passion into the likes of “Money For Love” and “Love You To Death” but it was the brooding epic “Blind Men and Fools” that really hit the spot with an astonishing performance by Coldham that even topped original singer Kal Swan’s version and that’s saying something.

American Rockers Alcatrazz, started life as a vehicle for the vocals of former Rainbow singer Graham Bonnet and Swedish hotshot guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen. Malmsteen’s tenure was short and was soon replaced by former Frank Zappa guitarist, Steve Vai who also lasted one album before one-time Derringer guitarist, Danny Johnson, jumped aboard before the band split in 1987.

Bonnet put the band back together with several lineups over the years before he himself departed leaving founder member Jimmy Waldo to choose another former Rainbow singer, Doogie White to step into his shoes alongside guitarist Joe Stump.

Tonight, it was Alcatrazz’s turn to take to the stage next on this co-headlining tour with Girlschool and kicked off with “Grace of God,” from their most recent release V before launching into “Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live” from their 1983 debut album, No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Doogie White has a formidable set of pipes so it’s no surprise that he was hand-picked to front Rainbow and then Michael Schenker Group over the years and tonight his Scottish charm was in full flow as he delivered a crowd pleasing mix of Alcatrazz classics alongside some of his work by Rainbow including a stunning “Ariel” and Schenker’s “Vigilante Man.”

If White faced a tough task singing those songs originally performed by Bonnet, then Joe Stump had an enormous task delivering songs originally recorded by Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteem and Michael Schenker and incredibly, not only did he pull it off technically but also threw every guitar hero shape in the book with a supreme performance.

A tearful White sang from the heart with an emotional rendition of the Rainbow classic “Temple Of The King” and was moved to tears when he paid tribute to the much missed Ronnie James Dio, Jimmy Bain and Jon Lord. An emotional end to a spirited set.

The rumours before the show that Kim McAuliffe from Girlschool was ill and unable to play was a big disappointment to many but a collective sigh of relief greeted her as she strode onto the stage and immediately cranked into “Demolition Boys” and the anthemic “C’mon Let’s Go.” No sign of any illness here as McAuliffe’s voice sounded as potent as ever.

Storming through a punchy set, driven by the hard riffing of Jackie Chambers the classics came thick and fast with “Hit and Run,” “Race With The Devil” and “Emergency” showing that they have a fair few bangers in their arsenal.

During a rampant take on Motörhead’s “Bomber,” original drummer Denise Dufort channelled the power of Philthy Animal Taylor with a display of pure Metal energy.

For a few songs they were joined on stage by Niky Kandoussi of The Agony, who had stepped in for McAuliffe on previous nights giving Girlschool a ferocious triple guitar attack adding extra weight to a heavy duty “Screaming Blue Murder.”

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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