The Sweet - raising hell cautiously but brilliantly

REVIEW: The Sweet, The 1865, Southampton – also playing De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, December 4.

The Sweet
The Sweet

There’s a delicious irony about a 72-year-old singing “So recognise your age, it's a teenage rampage.”

And there’s an irony too that The Sweet’s Hellraiser tour comes complete with Covid safety cautions from the stage.

But it’s fantastic that it’s happening – and fantastic to hear all those epic hits again, with Andy Scott, the sole living link left from the band’s 70s glamrock heyday, still on brilliant form.

And how right he was to get that Covid message across. How disappointing to see so few people in the audience wearing masks.

As for the music, the band – with charismatic new lead singer Paul Manzi in position – hit the ground running, opening their set with Action, a blistering blast which set the tone for the night.

Among the highlights were The Six Teens and Fox On The Run. The staples were delivered in a fashion that melted the decades away – The Ballroom Blitz, Teenage Rampage, Wig-Wam Bam etc.

Occasionally it felt that Manzi needed to be higher in the mix, but there’s no doubt he has fitted right in.

Early on, there was maybe a bit of a dip with some of the newer numbers. And of course, it’s absolutely understandable that the band needs to keep its creative juices flowing. But really the night was all about the classics – and we had plenty of them.

Excellent support too from Limehouse Lizzy hitting us with all the great Thin Lizzy numbers – and doing so superbly.

A great night – and not just for the memories it brought back. This is music which has most definitely withstood the test of time.

Catch them at De La Warr Pavilion on Bexhill, December 4.

Phil Hewitt