The Sweet + Limehouse Lizzy 27.12.21 Cheese and Grain, Market Yard, Frome.

Saturday night in Frome, maybe not a ‘Teenage Rampage’ but a sell out crowd of old rockers having a good time with original guitarist Andy Scott and the current Sweet incarnation.

Note the pre-Covid date for the gig originally

I stopped over in the town at The George Hotel in the main street – seems the obvious choice, a few hundred yards from the venue, great breakfast, good beers and a bustling pub on a gig Saturday.

I’ve only seen one gig here in Frome: The Skids, with TV Smith and Charlie Harper, both as solo support acts – also with gig buddy Dave who’s here tonight. That was in June 2018. It attracts some surprises, given the size of the town, as well as tribute acts, comedians and community events. There are posters around for Aswad; The Mission are here next Spring and The Undertones, which I have tickets for…then there was the legendary Foo Fighters secret gig in February 2017 (News story).

The Cheese and Grain, Frome

As for my previous Sweet encounters, they are just a few and yes very far between. Teenage Rampage was one of my first 7″ single purchases, from Ashford (Middx) Record Scene in 1973, no doubt fuelled by Look-In magazine and Top of the Pops. No more Sweet records for me though – punk came.

My 1985 ticket to see Sweet, well a Sweet, Brian Connolly’s Sweet. (Ticket said to be retained – 36 years so far)

Then in 1985 I went to an event called Leicester Aid with Brian Connolly’s Sweet headlining – it was a local initiative to raise some Live Aid cash with some lesser known Leicester bands. Connolly (the one that always had the big mop of blonde hair) was drumming and singing I remember. At the time I wouldn’t have appreciated who else was in the band but by then Sweet was badly broken with originals Brian Connolly, Andy Scott and Steve Priest all touring with their own versions of Sweet. Now Andy Scott is the last surviving original member of Sweet. He’s 72 and still rocking.

Tonight’s support is Thin Lizzy tribute act Limehouse Lizzy.

Not Phil Lynott

A short set of half a dozen songs – I’d go to one of their own shows to hear more – I did like that Live and Dangerous album and had the single, Rosalie, from it. They played that – all very plausible – and The Boys are Back in Town was another that was good to hear them do. (My phone clip of Rosalie.)

The crowd is at the 850 capacity and there’s not much chance of wandering about – chattering enthusiasm as we wait. Tonight pretty much everyone is a grey haired gig goer, not just me. Either that or no haired or dyed hair. I’m feeling relatively youthful.

You can see from the pics that The Cheese and Grain is a practical yet attractive community hall type building in the middle of a large car park. It’s a not for profit organisation, a registered charity for the benefit of the people of Frome. To the rear, where you come in is a small bar area and tonight an extra pop up bar with some interesting stuff in the fridge.

A can of something interesting from the pop up bar – Frank Turner craft ale
The Cheese and Grain awaits Sweet

Sweet come on and what is striking after the first few songs is that this is a really good rock band, no cheesey old 70s rehash, and they’re playing to old fans – no hint of a 70s fancy dress night here. 

Lead singer, Paul Manzi, has a great rock’n’roll voice. Bruce Bisland is on drums – he’s played with Andy Scott’s Sweet for over 20 years – and Lee Small is on bass.

As the set list illustrates, the biggest hits are saved for the latter part and it builds well.

Tonight’s set list

Yes the encores were songs I knew would be enjoyed live: Blockbuster (my YouTube clip) and Ballroom Blitz but Love is Like Oxygen possibly pips it. Of course there was Teenage Rampage, the single I bought when I was aged 11.

Sweet in Frome

Andy Scott looks so rock’n’roll with his long blonde hair. It’s gig 3 of 16 on the tour so he has his fingers crossed in this Covid revival of a weekend (the South African variant threatens now). He reminds us he’s 72 and if he gets it he’s going to be in trouble. Rock on Andy…Rock on.

(As I’m writing up this trip I see on Limehouse Lizzy’s website that they had to suddenly leave the tour as the Sweet’s older members are having to take extreme caution to limit their risk of catching Covid.)

Andy Scott – the original Sweet member – Frome

All in all a friendly, small but comfortable venue in a lovely old town nostalgically appreciating a 70s glam rock legend who is keeping the Sweet blockbusters burning.

I hope they get the tour finished.

Published by ivaninblack

Still wild about live music - bands - gigs - festivals - after 42 years at it. All photos have been snapped by me or I will point out otherwise - I'll even own up to any blurry mobile phone ones. If gigaholic is a phrase then in recent years I think I've become one.

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