“I’m all about love and giving the love back” Glenn Hughes yelled from the stage at the Islington Assembly Hall crowd. If you were lucky enough to be there, you might have thought this was to be about rock’n’roll … and it was.
Glenn was in town in support of his fourteenth solo record, Resonate. The “Voice Of Rock” as he is known has a lot to live up to, not least competing with his own past. His history takes in the band Trapeze from 1969, Deep Purple in the mid 1970’s including hit eighth studio album Burn, his stack of wonderful solo albums and the brilliant collaborations Black Country Communion with Joe Bonamassa & Jason Bonham and California Breed, again with Bonham and Queens of the Stone Age alum Joey Castillo. His voice has even been sampled by British electronica pioneers The KLF!
So my imagination was in overdrive when I heard he was to play London. The venue is a wide and full place and leather-clad rockers of all ages are gladly gabbering about the living legend we are soon to see.
The night opened with Stone Broken, Hughes’ tour guest band delivering solid rock with sturdy guitar riffs, deep vocals and boundless energy. They were loud, great to listen to, fun to watch and put on just the right tone for the evening. But there was only one man everybody wanted that night, the Wolverhampton (okay.. Cannock) wanderer himself, Glenn Hughes.
The man and his bass hit the stage and set it on fire, just a man putting his heart and soul into his music. Opening the set is the song Flow from new album Resonate. It hit the rafters and bounced right back down enveloping Glenn’s hypnotising vocals and trademark bass playing.
Uncompromisingly raw and edgy, Hughes sounded the same powerful man as years ago and maybe even more passionate. The echo of that Deep Purple sound flows down your spinal cord along with his scream like an electric shock. He is the man! He is unstoppable and can do what he wants as we hear Getting Tighter, You Keep On Moving and finally Burn from the Purple days.
The set list has some good old tunes intermixed with new ones placing Medusa a Trapeze classic midway through the set. Mixed in with some hard and heavy Black Country Commuinion songs, the evening was a personal journey through the years and life of Glenn Hughes.
Performed with 100% authenticity, intensity and dedication, the songs seem as though they’ve been written a few nights before and not decades ago. Glenn made this evening unique and connected deeply with his audience, allowing them into his world by sharing stories between the songs. Soren Anderson on guitar, Pontus Engborg on drums and Jay Boe on keyboards are a band to die for and easily take on the mantle of Blackmore, Bonamassa, Lord, Paice and others who have played and recorded with Hughes.
The Staffs man shared his gratitude with everyone for the last fifty years and in a heartbroken, intimate and loving moment he mentioned his ill mother. Tonight Glenn Hughes was shining even brighter than ever, despite all the scars he wears. School music curricula should include his music as an example of how to play with passion and honesty, as he totally lives up to the title The Voice Of Rock. Heavy!
Glenn Hughes at Islington Assembly Hall on 21st January 2016
Photography and Live Review by Edyta K