By: AntZantPhotos: Anthony Firmin
Glenn Hughes, the Voice of Rock, returned to Manchester as part of his longest tour for 40 years with a total of 11 weeks on the road. In Europe he is taking around Jared James Nichols as his support act and for 35 minutes or so we are presented with what is described as the new guitar playing laureate within the current resurgence of classic rock and blues. His image is all long hair and shiny white teeth – almost looking like a Ted Nugent for 2015. But his music isn’t really individual enough to cut it at that level unlike that of his contemporaries such as Gary Clark Jnr. Finally there was no need to pepper his set with covers; playing “Mississippi Queen” really doesn’t do him any favours. Sadly he is 30 years too late to the table for the image and music he presents.
Glenn Hughes is one of those people who is always around, part of the classic rock furniture and a friend and brother to absolutely everyone in the music business. I have seen Hughes a few times with Black Country Communion and California Breed as well as a solo acoustic performance at the Band On The Wall, and he had always been excellent…but this gig was to be a whole different kettle of fish!!
And then there was Mr Hughes, claiming to have released 85 albums and name-checking all the people he has worked with just to remind everyone how important he is and how he is everyone’s brother, massaging his own ego in the confines of Manchester’s Club Academy. Much of the set was uninspired, “First Step Of Love” from his time in Hughes/Thrall was interesting to hear as were his solo songs like “Orion” but “Soul Mover” failed to move me.
Raiding the Deep Purple song chest, “Sail Away” was barely passable but “Mistreated” was beyond awful, Hughes warbling and meandering vocals were totally unnecessary. And I wasn’t alone in thinking this, a steady stream of people were leaving with about a third of the audience gone by the end of that song and it wasn’t even time for the encore! He even managed to upend “One Last Soul” and “Black Country” from his time with the ‘Communion – Joe Bonamassa won’t lose any sleep over Aldrich failing to play anywhere near his capabilities.
And if “Mistreated” was bad, “Burn” was worse. It was beyond appalling. It was crucified. Dysentery would have been a more pleasant experience. Ritchie Blackmore would have had his tights in a knot, running to the nearest castle and pulling up the drawbridge to distance himself from Hughes!! It was THAT bad.
By this point I was just glad it was over, I simply couldn’t have taken any more. The voice of rock? Sadly no longer Glenn Hughes crown to wear.