5 September 2015

Sabbatage are a welcome addition to the Fox and Duck rota

Normally when I go to see a band at the Fox and Duck on a Saturday night I do not bother to write a review and when I do write one it normally begins with an admission that I did not get to the pub until 10:30pm and so missed the first half of the band's set. Not this time. Black Sabbath were a big and important part of my musical youth and so I was in the pub by 9:15pm to hear Sabbatage play some of their songs.

The Black Sabbath back catalogue consists mainly of album tracks with few hit singles but that was no problem as almost everybody there had clearly bought all the albums and had played them all a lot. My starting point was Vol 4 in 1972 and I worked backwards from there and forwards until Mob Rules in 1981.

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was, and remains, my favourite Black Sabbath album so I was very pleased that Sabbatage played both the opening title track and also Killing Yourself to Live. The lyrics came flooding back and I was forced to sing along.

The best things about Sabbatage were that they played Black Sabbath songs and they sounded like Black Sabbath, especially with the distinctive guitar sound which it was important to get right. The vocals were slightly less successful but then I do not envy anybody who has to try and sound like both Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio.

Sabbatage concentrated mostly on early Sabbath which was good as early Sabbath was heavy Sabbath with crunching guitars and harsh lyrics. I do like some of the later songs a great deal, songs like The Sign Of The Southern Cross from Mob Rules, but these have a very different sound produced by a different line-up so it would have been unfair to expect Sabbatage to play them too.

Black Sabbath had only one genuine hit single, Paranoid in 1970, which Sabbatage rightly kept back for the final run in to their set where it was joined by Iron Man which flopped as a single in 1971 but which was given international recognition in the closing credits of the film of the same name in 2008.

Given the lack of obvious hits to play with Sabbatage did a fine job with the Black Sabbath catalogue and were greatly appreciated by a busy pub who know their music. It was a good night and I hope Sabbatage will be back to give us more of the same.

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