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Sweet

Artist: Sweet, Sari Schorr

Venue: Cardiff, Tramshed

Date: 17 December 2023


"This is only the second time I’ve ever seen the band, and the first with a full set, and I’ve had a whale of a time from start to finish. To sum it up in a single word.... sweet!"

 
Concert

It’s a nice venue, the Tramshed, and there’s plenty in to see one of the greatest Glam Rock acts there’s ever been, or what’s left of them anyway. Before the main event, however, we get American Blues artist Sari Schorr. I’ve listened to some of her more recent output and am impressed by what I hear, but sadly tonight’s set is an acoustic one, where she is accompanied by the ever reliable and talented Jim Kirkpatrick (FM). Ms Schorr has a fantastic voice, but whoever thought a hall full of Glam fans would be excited by watered down versions of her songs needs a kick up the arse. The only time there’s any real interest is when she closes with a cover of Quo’s ‘Down Down’. As she leaves the stage she promises a return in 2024 with a full band (“It will be loud”), and whilst tonight was a bit limp I’m interested in that prospect.


There was never any doubt, in my mind, that Cats In Space former frontman Paul Manzi would fit right into the same role in Sweet, and that’s exactly what he does as the band explode into ‘Action’ straight out of the gate. What an opener! The air of relaxation brought by Schorr is blown away as Manzi struts about, poses and plays with the audience, all the time utilizing a voice that is perfect for the band. ‘New York Groove’ follows, with the chorus from Alicia Key’s ‘New York State Of Mind’ inserted cheekily, and after that it’s time to blow us away yet again with a ferocious rendition of ‘Hell Raiser’. The real surprise for me is the brand new(ish) track (from a forthcoming album) ‘Don’t Bring Me Water’, which REALLY rocks like a hurricane and has proper Sweet style harmonies as well. It’s also great to hear ‘Co-Co’ and ‘Poppa Joe’, a couple of Caribbean style singles from back in the day that aren’t Glam but still have enormous power to entertain. 


The song I thought for YEARS was by Saxon (they covered it, natch) is rolled out, and it’s brilliant to hear ‘Set Me Free’ loud and proud in the live arena, a real roof raiser and head banger if ever there was one. The band are tight as the proverbial gnat’s arse and the sound is good, and it has to be said that original member Andy Scott shows no signs of slowing down (well, any more than usual, he doesn’t move much) and is happy to have a chat to the audience when Paul lets him get a word in. There’s a change on drums this tour as Adam Booth has temporarily replaced Bruce Bisland, as Bruce wanted a normal life for a bit, and Andy moans that he’d quite like that, too, but if he goes it’s all over! Kudos to Andy’s guitar tech Adam, who turned out to be a bloody good fit behind the kit. 


After sixteen perfect songs they shuffle off, causing a few older fans to forget just what they came in here for (joke), then it’s out for the two-fisted knockout punch of ‘Blockbuster’ and ‘Ballroom Blitz’ that would put ‘Enry Cooper to shame (obligatory seventies reference there). This is only the second time I’ve ever seen the band, and the first with a full set, and I’ve had a whale of a time from start to finish. To sum it up in a single word.... sweet!

 

Review by Alan Holloway

 

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