Review and photos by Rich Ward
With Ian Hunter flying to the UK for a headline slot with The Rant Band at Butlin’s Giants of Rock weekender, it seemed sensible to slot in a couple of other dates around which brings us to Coventry’s Copper Rooms.
First up were the trio of David R Black, who tag themselves as an alternative art rock band. It’s indie rock with some heavy riffs in which I can see elements of Nirvana, but the lighter more melodic moments remind me of the likes of Idlewild and The Waterboys. There’s enough of a variety to keep the interest up for those, like myself, that haven’t seen them before. They were good to watch and made a suitable warm up, and a mental note has been made to check them out again.
Opening with ‘The Teacher’, it allows the Rant Band to saunter on to stage and join in as the track builds from just a keyboard and drums, through to the addition of bass and then James Mastro & Mark Bosch on guitar until Ian Hunter himself strolls on to welcoming applause while finishing off his glass of wine. He sings the first couple of verses before strapping his acoustic on to finish. It’s an understated start, but it works well. It’s then immediately into ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’ and things really get underway, and then bang up to date with the rather excellent ‘Just The Way You Look Tonight’ which sees James Mastro on mandolin duties.
What follows is a setlist to die for; the very best from When I’m President with a smattering of Mott and Hunter classics from down the years. Hunter moves to keys for ‘Honaloochie Boogie’ and a raucous rendition of ‘All The Way From Memphis’ which gets people dancing. The highlights are many; ’23A Swan Hill’, and some superb playing from Mark Bosch on ‘Bastard’ and a rocking end to the main set with ‘Sweet Jane’.
In a month that has seen the passing of both David Bowie and Hoople drummer Buffin, it’s a timely reminder that we should cherish such gigs as this. But it’s also a wonderful tonic to witness such a vibrant and impassioned performance. While Hunter doesn’t directly mention either Bowie or Buffin, his comment at the end of ‘Rest In Peace’ of “don’t need to say anymore”, says more than enough. ‘Life’ seems poignant with the words “I can’t believe you’re still here, I can’t believe I’m still here” receiving a great response.
Tracie Hunter comes out for additional vocals on ‘All The Young Dudes’ while Hunter seems to delight in conducting the crowd to sing along. A great end to a very enjoyable evening.
Ian Hunter returns to the Midlands with a date at Birmingham Town Hall on 4th November 2016.
1. I’m The Teacher
2. Once Bitten Twice Shy
3. Just The Way You Look Tonight
4. 23A Swan Hill
6. Honaloochie Boogie
7. All American Alien Boy
8. Black Tears
9. All The Way From Memphis
10. When I’m President
11. Now Is The Time
12. Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse)
14. Sweet Jane
15. Rest In Peace
16. Roll Away The Stone
18. All The Young Dudes
19. Goodnight Irene