Last night, the small town of Holmfirth played host to a monumental collaboration of Hard Rock and Soul from the Rock Legend Glenn Hughes, and the insanely talented Doug Aldrich. For a Sunday evening, in this intimate picture house venue, you wouldn’t anticipate such a lively turn out of eager fans – that is until you realise what they’ve come for.
Known for his with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and supergroups Black Country Communion and California Breed, Glenn Hughes has to be one of British rocks most renowned bass players, with tremendous vocal strength to match. Add Los Angeles-based Hard Rock Guitarist, Doug Aldrich, who himself has been involved with the likes of Dio and Whitensnake, and you have a guaranteed night of hard-hitting Golden-Era Classic Rock on your hands.
The night was kick started by young Wisconsin Blues guitarist, Jared James Nichols. Performing a varied mix of his own material and influential covers, Jared did a great job of warming up the crowd through his positive interactions and unique tight-knit, aggressive playing technique. Although there were clear elements of Blues shining through in Jared’s performance, I found the band to be more suited to a Heavy Rock groove, with tracks like “Can You Feel It?” even holding qualities I’d associate with Southern Rock.
My only qualm would be that I didn’t feel as though the songs were strengthened with his own ‘stamp’ or interpretive style to make them his own, resulting in some aspects coming across too stiff or rehearsed for my liking. However, the whole performance was made by Jared’s choice and placement of the cover songs. From Rick Derringer, to Robert Johnson (whose grave was recently visited by Jared), and ‘Mountain’, Jared played each song flawlessly and with great justice, and it was clear to see his divine respect for each of the influences who have helped him along the way to becoming a musician.
Finally, it was the turn of the duo we had all been sincerely waiting for. The stage lit up, and both Doug and Glenn strolled out with their beat up, worn guitars, looking like the very definition of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and jumping straight into the classic Funk Rock tune from Deep Purple, ‘Stormbringer’. The two musicians have crossed paths on numerous occasions over the past few years, and their close friendship can be seen through their interactions on-stage and off. I believe it’s fair to say that Glenn’s openness towards Doug’s involvement within the performance is what really beamed through and made each song as powerful and nostalgically iconic as it should be.
The entire set was filled with an iconic mix of tunes throughout Glenn’s career, reaching out to all three generations of followers within the audience. As to be expected from most interactions with Glenn Hughes, he took his opportunities to voice his thoughts and cheeky remarks regarding past acquaintances, which at times portrayed the experience as more of “An Evening With…” than a full-blown set, but in fairness, the integration with the crowd made the performance so much more personal and intimate, and helped towards painting a picture through each stage of the set. There were some stirring moments at certain times, from Glenn’s thankfulness to the fans for hanging on for him through his periods of not touring or performing, to his heart-felt dedication of ‘Touch My Life’ to the former Trapeze member, Mel Galley, who sadly die of cancer back in 2008.
The show provided highlight after highlight from all the members on-stage, including an incredible drum solo from Swedish drummer, Pontus Engborg, followed by a roaring, fast-paced guitar solo from Doug Aldrich, who completely revitalised the crowd for Glenn’s rendition of the heavy, hard-hitting Blues track “Mistreated” from Deep Purple, with a high-octane vocal range which could have challenged Ian Gillan back in the 1970s.
The whole show was a resounding triumph, and promised to be the first of many returns to the UK by Glenn Hughes, and hopefully Doug Aldrich. After eleven weeks on the road, and one more week to go, hitting numerous cities across the UK, this is most likely one of Glenn’s longest tours since his days in Deep Purple. With reference to the level of dedicated followers, and the excellent set Glenn provided, it begs the question as to why this didn’t happen sooner.
Glenn Hughes Setlist
Stormbringer (Deep Purple song)
Way Back to the Bone (Trapeze song)
First Step of Love (Hughes / Thrall song)
Touch My Life (Trapeze song)
Sail Away (Deep Purple song)
Good To Be Bad (Whitesnake cover)
Mistreated (Deep Purple song)
Can’t Stop the Flood
Jam (Guitar & Drum Solo)
One Last Soul (Black Country Communion song)
—— ENCORE ——
Black Country (Black Country Communion song)
Burn (Deep Purple song)
Glenn Hughes UK Tour Dates 2015
Monday 26 Oct – Robin, Wolverhampton
Wednesday 28 Oct – Fibbers, York
Thursday 29 Oct – Club Academy, Manchester
Sunday 1 Nov – Electric Ballroom, London
Jared James Nichols Setlist
Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo (Rick Derringer cover)
Can You Feel It?
Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson cover)
Mississippi Queen (Mountain cover)
Words by Jamie Joe Reader-Johnson
Photos by David Farrell