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The Midlands Rocks

Glenn Hughes + Stone Broken @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Monday 23rd January 2017

Review by Paul Davis, photos by Rich Ward

Glenn Hughes was forced to cancel his UK and European tour back in November when co-headliners Living Colour pulled out to go on tour with Alter Bridge. At the time he said he  couldn’t wait to get back and play his new songs from Resonate. He was as good as his word and wasted no time in rescheduling. Glenn Hughes considers himself an American nowadays, but he loves being back in the Midlands, and he loves being at the Robin.

The whole on, off and on again tour was quite an emotional rollercoaster for support band Stone Broken. Originally called on to replace Living Colour, the tour was then off. Then, not only was it back on again, but Glenn Hughes was taking them to Europe too.

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Walsall’s Stone Broken have had an incredible year since the release of debut album All In Time. They’ve played all over the UK, gone beyond being a ‘local band’. They’ve shared festival stages with their heroes and signed to Frontiers Music, home to Journey, Whitesnake and many other big names.

There’s lots of Stone Broken T-shirts on display in the crowd but the band are here to make new friends tonight. Even those that haven’t seen Stone Broken before will be familiar with some of these songs from the radio. Opening with ‘Stay All Night’, frontman Rich Moss urges the packed Robin to make some noise. There’s a confidence about the whole band without becoming arrogant, they’re happy to give shout-outs to some of their long time fans. The lack of ego, along with the great songs, will serve them well.

The energetic guitarist Chris Davis is the band’s livewire, despite the limited space at the front of the stage. ‘Better’, ‘Be There’ and ‘This Life’ are all big riffs and huge choruses while stunning power ballad ‘Wait for You’ is a more mellow moment in the set. There’s even time in the set for a preview of the second album with ‘Just a Memory’. 2016 was huge for Stone Broken but this year is already shaping up to take it to another level.

The region’s new heroes, as Hughes describes them later, depart and it’s almost time for the Voice of Rock himself. Hughes arrives on stage, still every inch the rock god. For this Black Country crowd though, this is their rock god.

Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes

The opener is ‘Flow’ from the new album. Resonate and this whole tour are very much a celebration of rock. The setlist, along with songs from his solo albums, features material from Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Country Communion. First though, there’s something from Hughes/Thrall with ‘Muscle and Blood’ before Hughes and his incredible band get funky on Deep Purple’s ‘Gettin’ Tighter’.

Glenn Hughes continues to hit the notes that others can’t reach. ‘Stumble & Go’ is another from the acclaimed new album before, prior to ‘Medusa’, Hughes becomes visibly emotional while talking about his Mom’s illness. The first Black Country Communion song of the night is ‘One Last Soul’. Black Country 4 is mentioned a couple of times during the night. The album is nearing completion. It’s a busy year ahead for the Voice of Rock and an exciting one for his fans.

Hughes speaks about having the Hammond back on stage for the first time since playing with Jon Lord. The man playing keys tonight is Jay Boe. The band is completed by Pontus Engborg on drums and on guitar, Hughes’s right hand man and co-producer, Soren Anderson. The presence of the iconic Hammond organ inspired the addition of an extra song from Deep Purple’s Burn to the set. ‘Might Just Take Your Life’ and it’s a very welcome choice for this crowd.

Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes

Next up is something from the solo career, the title track from the Soul Mover album. ‘Black Country’ then closes the set, sounding heavier in the hands of Hughes’s solo band than the BCC version. Introducing the song, it clearly means a lot to be playing this ‘back home’ and in this venue.

It’s Resonate’s opener, the appropriately titled ‘Heavy’ that kicks off the encore. To close the evening, Hughes and his band are joined by Inglorious frontman Nathan James for Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’. Nathan James really couldn’t look any happier when Glenn Hughes tells us he’s going to be Coverdale. So the night really did finish in glorious style.

 

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