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Sunday 29 October 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Glenn Hughes (Live Review By Debby Myatt)

Glenn Hughes & The Damn Truth, KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton 21.10.23

Quite often these days, if you want to see a bona fide rock legend you have to sell a kidney and hopoe you get a ticket that’s not high up in the gods at a soulless arena, but tonight we’re treated to a night of rock classics courtesy of the incredible Glenn Hughes (10).

But first we had The Damn Truth (10). These Canadian hard rockers have been gradually making a name for themselves and it’s really with the release of their third studio album Now Or Nowhere that they’ve really made their mark.

Oozing with obvious 60’s/70’s influences, the band look like they’re straight out of the Summer of Love. Singer/guitarist Lee-la Baum straddles those two decades with a performance and style that echoes that of Joplin and Nicks, whilst lead guitarist Tom Shemer has the look and vibes of a young Peter Frampton.

That’s not to say their music is a modern pastiche of those musical icons, no, The Damn Truth are a modern rock band who tip their hat to that era but make it their own.

They open up with the anthemic This Is Who We Are Now, the opening track from the new album, Baum’s vocals soar over the eager crowd. She shows no sign of any nervousness at opening up for “The Voice Of Rock”! She has a strong, powerful vocal style that really carries their songs, check out Only Love and Tomorrow great tracks on the album but on another level played live, with Tom Shemer showing us some great six string virtuosity. You can understand why Hughes was excited to have this band open for him, they look like they’re having so much fun on stage and that is infectious, we all had fun and a fantastic way to get us ready for the main course.

I envy those that got to see the likes of Deep Purple in venues such as the Birmingham Odeon or the Bingley Halls in Stafford. Those gigs are legendary and that era of DP with Hughes and Coverdale for me are the Golden Age, so to see one of those artists here tonight performing songs from the period is such a privilege.

This tour is to celebrate songs from that period, especially Burn which is 50 years old this year. We get an instant smack of nostalgia as the unmistakable opening riffs of Stormbringer start us off on this journey which takes in tracks from Stormbringer and Burn before he digs out a couple from Come Taste The Band.

Hughes is having the time of his life up there, very chatty and lots of reminiscence between songs. This is pretty much a hometown gig for him, having been born and grew up just a few miles down the road in Cannock, and he takes time to mention his former band Trapeze which get a big cheer from the partisan crowd.

For an encore we actually go back to a pre Coverdale/Hughes period with the Gillan era track Highway Star and of course the only way to end is to close out with Burn.

At 72, the man still has it. An incredible vocal range, a maestro on the bass and full of energy. He truly is still “The Voice Of Rock” and this gig is now my favourite one of the year. We’re lucky that we can still have the opportunity to see one of our heroes reasonably up close and not be disappointed. He’s already said there will be new material next year, so we wait with eager anticipation for that to appear. 

What a legend, what a show!

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