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Music In Belgium - R-Mine Festival Review

Tygers Of Pan Tang is, with Demon, one of the two groups that made me decide to come to Hamont-Achel today. First and foremost, because the band’s albums “Spellbound” (1981), “Crazy Nights” (1981) and “The Cage” (1982) occupy a special place in my list of favourite albums from the start of the 1980s, and also because I never had the chance to see them perform live. I would add to the above comment the fact that “Ambush”, their latest album that came out in 2012, is absolutely fantastic and more than lives up to the three aforementioned classics. It is nearly 10 p.m. when the group takes the stage. Robb Weir, the sole remaining member of the band’s original line-up, is smiling from ear to ear. Guitar player Robb, who once sported super-long locks of hair, today cuts quite the dapper father image with his smart short grey hair and his sober outfit. At his side is Jacopo Meille, the marvellous singer who has been part of the Tygers line-up since 2004, with his appealing 1970s vibe. On the right of the stage, we see a second guitar player advance towards us shyly. We learn later that it is Micky Crystal, and this R-Mine concert is his very first appearance with the Tygers Of Pan Tang. One can quite imagine the pressure he was under! Especially as the likeable young man is suffering, at the start of the performance, from a few recurring technical problems that prevent him from concentrating. The band opens with the excellent “Keeping Me Alive”, from their latest album. Tygers Of Pan Tang offers us a balanced setlist, with numbers from its classic albums (three from “Spellbound”, three from “Wild Cats”, and just the one (unfortunately) from “Crazy Nights” and “The Cage”), to which they add four tracks from the new album (editor’s note: if one counts the transition between “Hey Suzie!” from the latest album and “Suzie Smiled” from the “Wild Cats” album). Don’t be led astray by Jacopo’s hippie vibe; he is a total animal on stage. The singer performs with gusto; not only his own numbers but also those by the excellent John Deverill (editor’s note: readers will recall that the former Tygers singer left the world of Heavy Metal to focus on his acting career). With his technical problems finally resolved, Micky Crystal reveals all his talents. The young guitarist is absolutely fantastic and I consider it a privilege to have been able to attend his first performance with the Tygers. A very special moment indeed!

(Reviewer: Michel Serry)

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