Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media
Having heard the latest Glenn Hughes album, there was no way in a million years that the show could not be reviewed. As such much happiness was experienced when a 2016 tour with Living Colour was announced with a night at the Shepherds Bush Empire pencilled in. And then….. well, it kind of went wrong. The tour never took place and it seemed like we’d not experience the joy of hearing some of Glenn’s strongest material in years in the live arena.
If you don’t know about the latest album, Resonate, check out our review here:
Thankfully, the tour has been rescheduled and a different act, Stone Broken, was chosen to support the ‘Voice of Rock’. The Junction may be smaller than the Empire, but the atmosphere is fantastic and a good crowd turned out to see both acts.
A considerable amount of buzz surrounds this four piece at the moment, so it was with great interest that I stuck to barrier to watch their short but highly entertaining set. I’d heard others describe the band as grunge influenced, modern rock that didn’t fit the classic rock sound or fan base that would follow Glenn Hughes around the country. I would say those people could not be more wrong.
Stone Broken present a sound and style that places them not a million miles away from the impact that you might expect from Black Stone Cherry. Whether it’s the use of ‘Stone’ in the band name, the check shirts and baseball caps on the frontmen of both bands or whether it’s simply that the music is bloody good, energised and grabs the listener from the off, it draws the sizeable crowd into The Junction and warms them up more than sufficiently prior to Hughes taking the stage.
Special mention goes to Rich Moss, lead vocalist and guitarist with the band whose impressive stage presence drives the band forward. His gravelly voice fits the style of music perfectly and his enthusiasm and passionate delivery will definitely engage a few new fans. CDs were being shifted so there’s definitely a few more listeners out there now.
Chris Davis on guitar also looks like he cut his chops from some of the best as he seemingly knows every shape in the book and took every opportunity to throw them out to the crowd. Again, the passion and energy in the delivery suggest this band are going places.
It’s also not to take anything any from Kieron and Robyn (bass and drums respectively) as the four make for the complete package and if you’ve yet to see them live, rectify that position forthwith.
For a moment it looked like a few people had disappeared after Stone Broken had finished but the venue refilled again in time as the opening bars of ‘Flow’ from ‘Resonate’ flowed [sorry] through the PA. Hearing the new material is what it is all about and my god, for a man in his mid sixties, he still has a voice that can melt steel at fifty paces, it’s that powerful.
The band give Glenn the space he deserves and he prowls the stage looking every inch the consummate rock star that we’ve come to expect. All you’ll see from the pics, Glenn looks healthier than some of the rockers half his age. With the voice a twenty something, just starting out in their career, would die for, it’s no wonder that the majority of faces in the crowd sport grins that show the level of respect they have for the man.
‘Stumble and Go’, from the new album also makes it into the set as does ‘Heavy’, a track so wrapped up in ‘future classic’ that it’s saved for the encore and sits alongside the old favourite ‘Burn’. It should be noted as well, ‘Burn’ doesn’t overshadow the newer track. Both, in my opinion, stand shoulder to shoulder. Disagree if you must, purists, but the new material ROCKS!
Material from the 1982 Hughes/Thrall album is mixed in with Deep Purple tunes and of course fan favourite ‘Medusa’ from the second Trapeze album. If you combine that with ‘One Last Soul’ from the Black Country Communion portion of his career, it’s easy to see why this is so special an event.
‘You Keep On Movin’ harnesses the power of Glenn and Lynne Jackaman as he brings her on stage for a guest vocal moment. Having seen Lynne singing with her own band before, Hughes is not wrong. Her voice is something else and when paired with the another voice that is something else as well, then of course the whole performance is enough to cause grown men to weep uncontrollably. (Or was that just me).
For a man who allegedly had his drugs delivered in mars bars when he fronted Black Sabbath in the 80s, the person we see before us these days is every inch the healthy, fit, wiser, stronger person that over the last few years, we have come to love immensely.
Long may ‘The Voice of Rock’ reign supreme.