Glenn Hughes - LIVE: Electric Ballroom, London 2015

European Tour
November 1 (21:00 - 23:00)
Capacity 1000

It's taken a couple of band breakdowns to make it happen, but rock legend Glenn Hughes is finally back doing what he does best, playing career-spanning sets of his songs at the head of a power trio. There'll be no new music for a while as Glenn plans to spend at least another year touring the world with his solo band, but eventually that will follow as well.

And of all the solo band line-ups he's had since he left Deep Purple, the current one is probably the heaviest he's ever had. Sweden's Pontus Engborg has been Glenn's drummer since 2010, and is the most powerhouse player he's had, but now former Dio and Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich has significantly beefed up the guitar sound on Glenn's songs, just as he did for both of those bands.

Before they took the stage though, it was the turn of another guitar hero. Young American blues rock player Jared James Nichols fronted his own power trio for a 45-minute run through of songs from his debut album Old Glory & The Wild Revival plus a couple of additional covers. In October he released Highwayman, an EP of new recordings, but strangely left them all out in favour of a rollicking Mississippi Queen and Rick Derringer's Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo. The main thing about a Jared James Nichols set though is not so much which songs he chooses to play or not play, but the flair with which he does it. Nichols is like a Pride & Glory-era Zakk Wylde playing blues; a mass of flailing hair, chunky riffs, and wailing solos. He made for a very lively opener which everyone seemed to enjoy.

He also sets the bar high in terms of energy for Glenn and his band to follow. When you've got Doug Aldrich in your band though, there're no worries there. From the first note of Purple classic Stormbringer Aldrich was a live wire and it was down to Glenn to keep up, which he also had no problem doing.

Much of the setlist was probably fairly predictable, pulling the most popular songs from his solo, Purple, and Black Country Communion catalogues, but in between delivered a passage of surprises. Instead of the usual Medusa to represent his time in Trapeze, his breakthrough band, back-to-back selections of Way Back To The Bone and Touch My Life excited Glenn's oldest fans, before excellent Purple cut Sail Away and First Step of Love, from one of his rarely-plundered collaboration albums with Pat Thrall. But as pleasing as that trip down memory lane was, the biggest surprise came next. Preceding an Aldrich solo spot and the inevitable bleed into an astonishing Mistreated, came Good To Be Bad - the only cover of the night.

In an unusual move, but a touching acknowledge of Aldrich's own career, this was the title track of his first album with Whitesnake, naturally sung perfectly by Hughes. Then it was headline tracks for the rest of the night, with BCC's two biggest songs, Soul Mover and Can't Stop The Flood from the solo albums, and of course Burn to close; all heavy, and all passionate. Glenn, right now, is singing as well as he ever has. It's obvious that going back to being able to play from his whole career means a lot to him, and his performance with this band eclipses any with BCC or California Breed.

No new material was debuted, and probably won't be for a while as the trio plan to tour throughout 2016, but it will follow after that, and if its anything like the way this band plays the older stuff, it will be Glenn's heaviest, and possibly best album to date.

“ sets the bar high in terms of energy ”

Jared James Nichols setlist: Blackfoot / Crazy / Haywire / Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo / Come On In My Kitchen / Can You Feel It? / Playing For Keeps / Mississippi Queen

Glenn Hughes setlist: Stormbringer / Orion / Way Back To The Bone / Touch My Life / First Step of Love / Sail Away / Good To Be Bad / Guitar Solo / Mistreated / Can't Stop The Flood / Jam/Drum Solo / One Last Soul / Soul Mover // Black Country /
Burn

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2015, Gigs, Hard/Heavy Rock, ,

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