The Sweet The Boiler Shop Newcastle 24 November 2022

sweet tixAnother night of memories and revisiting a band I followed many years ago. The Sweet are a much maligned and misunderstood band. Behind the hits and all the glam rock glitter, hid a classic heavy rock band. Guitarist Andy Scott had been in a string of bands in the 60s and would always bring a heavier side to The Sweet particularly on their album such as the epic Sweet Fanny Adams, which I recently purchased again just to listen to some of their classic heavier tracks. If you listen to their hits such as “Blockbuster”, “Ballroom Blitz” and “Action” there was always a driving riff, emanating from both Andy Scott’s guitar and Steve Priest’s bass.

SWEET FANNY ADAMSI first saw The Sweet live back in 1973 or 1974 when they were at the height of their fame and success, at Newcastle City Hall along with a good friend, Dave, who I have lost touch with and a hall full of screaming teenage girls. It really was a “Teenage Rampage” and lots and lots of fun! A few years later, after the hits had started to fade away, I saw them with my friend Norm and a few others on a very cold, wet evening at Sunderland Locarno. The venue was far from full but the show was excellent, very loud and quite heavy. Next time I saw them I was with my late wife Marie in a very empty City Hall. This was around 1981, and singer Brian Connolly had left the band to pursue I think a solo career. The Sweet continued as a three-piece band with Steve Priest taking on vocal duties and fronting the band. They still sang all of the hits but it wasn’t quite the same.

sweet lpRoll-on 10 years or so and I saw Brian Connolly’s Sweet performing at Sunderland Polytechnic Students Union Wearmouth Hall at a packed Saturday night dance. This was Brian’s version of the band with a completely new set of musicians. Nevertheless, and of course, all the hits were performed well and the crowd went crazy. Then move forward another 20 years or so I saw Andy Scott’s Sweet performing as part of a 70s package tour alongside Slade (minus Noddy and fronted by guitarist Dave Hill alongside original drummer Don Powell).

sweet 5The Boiler Shop is exactly what the name suggests, an old warehouse which in the past was an industrial workplace, situated behind Newcastle train station. My carer Jackie and I had a great view of the proceedings, sitting on a wheelchair platform overlooking the crowd with a direct view of the stage. Well by now, Andy Scott has achieved his dream and transformed The Sweet into a heavy rock band with new musicians around him all of whom look like they could have come from a true Hard Rock heavy metal band. Andy is the only surviving member of The Sweet. Brian Connolly sadly passed away in his early 50s, from alcoholism. Drummer Mick Tucker sadly passed away recently as did bassist and he of the bright ginger hair and crazy voice Steve Priest, who fronted his own version of the band situated in the USA.

sweet 3 So, Andy remains out on his own, to fly The Sweet flag high, having rejuvenated the band as out and out rockers, no longer closet heavy metal contenders. I buy a T-shirt and a couple of signed posters, one for me and one for my friend John in the USA. Soon the band take the stage and they are loud, heavy and I mean very LOUD. Great! They crash into “Action” and then follow this with a couple of heavier tunes. And that is the format for the evening: a hit followed by one or two heavier album or new tracks followed by another hit and so it goes onward.

SWEET POSTER SIGNEDAndy Scott looks great. All the heavy-metal hero with a long mane of pure white hair. Respect. He bangs away at his red Fender Stratocaster. “The Sixteens “(my particular favourite) soon follows and then we are treated to hit after hit. “Wigwam Bam”, “Little Willy”, “Hellraiser” and another classic “Love Is like Oxygen”. Just fantastic. Each one delivered in a new heavier, louder manner. These are no longer pop classics they are heavy metal songs!

The encores are “Blockbuster” and finally “Ballroom Blitz”! It don’t get any better than this. Happy days.

12 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Roy Stevenson on December 8, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    I was lucky enough to work with the original line up back in 6th Dec 1974 at Hull Uni, I stood stage side right watching and when it came to “Man with the holden arms” drum solo by Mick Tucker the other 3 came and actually stood with me stage side, a very magical moment and that’s how I prefer to remember them, they were not star struck at all and very chatty, met Mick after the show, they were my hero’s at the time and they were at their peak so I was very happy.

    Reply

  2. Hi Peter
    Good review of a much-maligned band. They were always viewed as pop-fluff when I was going to gigs back in the 70s but we knew that they were a rock band trying to shake off that image.
    They’re playing Nottingham Rock City on the 18th… I might just have to get myself a ticket…

    Roger 🤘

    Reply

  3. Had all but forgotten about these dudes until a rather spiffing track called Everything popped up on Youtube not so long ago. Great to see there’s still life in the ol glam rock geezers.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Peter Maggiore on December 11, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Pete, I remember buying their what I considered cheesey singles second hand purely for the B sides in Durham Book Centre when I was a schoolboy. Happy days long gone. Take care, Peter

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on December 11, 2022 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Peter. Happy days are here again! The Sweet still rock and always did. I was always a closet Sweet fan and still am. Cheers Peter

      Reply

  5. […] came up and I couldn’t resist. The band received such a great review on Peter Walker’s VintageRocks Weblog that I decided I really must see them, especially as they were playing as close to me as […]

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on December 19, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      Hi many thanks. Glad you went to see The Sweet and hope they didn’t let you down! It is Peter Smith not Peter Walker by the way! Happy days Peter

      Reply

  6. I took your advice, Peter, and I went to see the band in Nottingham last night.
    They were terrific!
    And, as a bonus, I also enjoyed the supporting Kira Mac (acoustic).
    Thanks again. 👍

    Here’s my review of that gig: https://gigsnstuff787616231.wordpress.com/2022/12/19/the-sweet-sunday-18th-december-2022-rock-city-nottingham/

    Roger 🤘

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on December 19, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      Pleased that you enjoyed The Sweet my friend. I really think Andy Scott has given new life to the band with the current line up. Happy days Peter

      Reply

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