sat 15/06/2024

Mick Hucknall, Hammersmith Apollo | reviews, news & interviews

Mick Hucknall, Hammersmith Apollo

Mick Hucknall, Hammersmith Apollo

The Simply Red man tries to show his fans he is Simply The Best

Mick Hucknall: Is the world ready for a ginger Tom Jones? Dean Chalkley

There was a point about two-thirds of the way through last night's gig when someone lobbed something onto the stage in front of Mick Hucknall. It was not clear exactly what it was due to the sea of dancing mums in front of me, but my strong suspicion is that it was something made of lace and worn below the waist judging by Hucknall's bemused declaration: "That's Tom Jones's department."

The funny thing is that Tom Jones had been on my mind a lot during Hucknall's set, and not just after the low-flying knickers. Last year Jones came to Hammersmith as part of a Blues Festival but his devoted female demographic came to hear him tear the roof off the Apollo by doing "Delilah" and "What's New Pussycat?" At times on Sunday evening there was a similar issue with Hucknall. His fans probably wanted the Simply Red classics but had to sit or stand through his heartfelt but sometimes hard work blues/soul tributes from his albums American Soul and Tribute to Bobby to earn the tasty chart-visiting morsels.

There is no denying that Hucknall has pretty good pipes

In fairness Hucknall was in pretty good voice throughout, but can the Red man sing the blues? He gave it a fair old crack on his readings of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and Ray Charles' "Lonely Avenue." There is no denying that Hucknall has pretty good pipes. If a gale force version of The Who's "The Seeker" knocked the front row's contact lenses out, and a cover of Arthur Alexander's "Anna (Go To Him)", made famous by The Beatles, showed that he was well aware that not everything had to be at blowtorch level and above, though plenty still was and once in a while it was worth it. Tom Jones might even have pressed the big red button for Hucknall if he heard his torrid take on Etta James' "I Would Rather Go Blind" on The Voice.

After Jones' chair had spun round however, he might have been less impressed. As a performer Hucknall was just the right side of irritating, but only just. He had an impressive level of energy for a 53-year-old but this also meant that he had the stamina to indulge in some dodgy moves. During one of many instrumental breaks from his band he rubbed his stomach. I think it was supposed to be sexy but in fact looked as if he was celebrating having just had a rather satisfying supper. Later on, after he has removed his blue velvet jacket he indulged in a complex hip-swivelling circular gyration which can only be called The Full Dad Dance.

This was an odd show then. Part-soul/blues homage, part-covers night cruise ship entertainment, which built steadily from ballads to full-on funky workout. The audience got some of what they wanted the most too, with "Your Mirror" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now" the stand-outs from Hucknall's own back catalogue. After a lengthy encore he finished with a fiery blast of of the Eighties recession rant "Money's Too Tight to Mention." Hucknall might not be a relevant today as he was two decades ago, but that song certainly is.

He rubbed his stomach as if he was celebrating having just had a rather satisfying supper


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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