Artist: Glenn Hughes, The Damn Truth
Venue: Holmfirth, Picturedrome
Date: 10 October 2023
Kicking off with a rousing version of ‘Stormbringer’, to the audience Glenn and the band could do no wrong, Anderson’s dazzling guitar licks strengthening what most (me included) consider to be a classic.
For a quiet little Yorkshire town seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Holmfirth certainly seems to have established itself as a regular on the gig-goers circuit these days. Originally a movie theatre, the Picturedrome is a great little venue, it’s gently sloping floor guaranteeing a decent view of the stage whenever you stand – unless like me you usually end up with some seven-foot Neanderthal choosing right in front of you as his spot for the night just as the show starts!
Tonight saw the return of the legend that is Glenn Hughes, last seen doing a fine job fronting The Dead Daisies, his latest solo tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Deep Purple classic ‘Burn’… “The last man standing still playing these songs” he impassioned from the stage at the end after giving the Mk III and Mk IV eras of the band a decent airing.
But first it was the turn of Canadian quartet The Damn Truth as they took to the stage to warm up the audience for tonight’s main event. In truth (sic), I’ve never really paid much attention to them in the past, but after tonight’s showing, that’ll change rapidly… hell, I was impressed enough to buy a couple of their albums from the merch stand at the back so that should be recommendation enough. Put simply, they took to the stage around 8pm and for the next 40 minutes, just went for it. Front woman Lee-la Baum is a natural; her passionate, gravel-edged vocals thoroughly engaging throughout, her delivery bringing to mind the late, great Janis Joplin on more than one occasion. Their songs too were measured and delivered with genuine swagger, the blend of 70s Blues Rock and something a touch more contemporary doing more than enough to keep me interested… great sound too. With a new album due out next year, their future looks bright indeed… go catch ‘em next time they play near you.
And so, at the allotted hour – well, 15 minutes after it was actually advertised – it was time to say hello once again to one of Rock’s greatest survivors. Backed by the ever awesome Soren Anderson on guitars, drummer Ash Sheehan (Laurence Jones) and “new” keyboard player Bob Fridzema (ex King King), Glenn looked comfortable and sounded great, his tousled blonde syrup a real throwback to those 80s halcyon days when big hair (a la David Coverdale, Jon Bon Jovi and Joey Tempest) reigned supreme.
Kicking off with a rousing version of ‘Stormbringer’, to the audience Glenn and the band could do no wrong, Anderson’s dazzling guitar licks strengthening what most (me included) consider to be a classic. Extended instrumentation and audience participation meant that Glenn was never actually singing for that long (a recurring theme all evening), but when he did, he could and did hit those high notes like only he can. The rest of the set included a bruising ‘Mistreated’ an impassioned ‘Might Just Take Your Life’ and quite possibly the heaviest version of ‘Getting’ Tighter’ I’ve ever witnesses – dedicated of course to his “brother” Tommy Bolin. Encore time brought out ‘Highway Star’ which as a Mk II song was unexpected (but nevertheless most welcome), and the evening was rounded out with a boisterous run through of the timeless ‘Burn’ itself.
Hughes and the band played it just like Purple would have back in the day extending the songs out with plenty of instrumental interchanges – although as good a drummer as he is, personally speaking I could still have done without Ash Sheehan’s drum solo! Bob Fridzema seems to have slotted into the line-up very well indeed, his background fills and solo spots accentuating the songs all night. Glenn being Glenn had to ramble on endlessly about how much he loves being “back home” and how much he “loved us all, his family” but for once, it didn’t detract too much from the performance and he did confirm (much to the audience’s delight) that he’d just finished work on a new Black Country Communion album.
Add in a great sound (although to be fair, it usually is at Holmfirth), an enthusiastic crowd and a tight band performance and the Voice of Rock (or should that be Peter Pan of Rock these days?) certainly sent this punter away with a big smile on his face!
Review and Photos: Dave Cockett