Glenn Hughes / Dead Sea Skulls

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Glenn Hughes / Dead Sea Skulls - Picturedrome, Holmfirth (UK) - 23 November 2019

Tonight's support came from Birmingham three-piece the Dead Sea Skulls. They entered the stage to the theme tune to 'Last Of The Summer Wine', juxtaposed to their style of Indie/Punk/Garage Rock, which I normally don't much care for; however, you could not help being entertained by this powerful trio. Brothers Nick and James Crutchley (guitar and bass respectively) ably support frontman and drummer Ashley Sheehan, who stood, front and centre-stage, behind his small, three-piece drum kit. Sheehan came across like a character in a Guy Ritchie film; basically, if he asked you to clap, you clapped; if you didn't, you then prayed he didn't make direct eye contact. Their songs and live performance were highly infectious, from 'The Remedy', 'I Wanna Buy A Rolex', 'Walkin' The Night' to 'Nothin' In The World (Hate Song)', which was dedicated to anyone you didn't like. Sheehan even temporarily dismantled his drum kit and invited two young fans on stage (the future of Rock 'n' Roll) during 'Turnin' Away'; this enabled him the opportunity for a trumpet solo. They reminded me a lot of Queens Of The Stone Age, heavy, yet highly rhythmic.

There was great anticipation at a packed Picturedrome as Glenn Hughes (looking ever the seventies Rockstar) took to the stage with his talented international band: Dane Sören Anderson (guitar), American Vince DiCola (keyboards), and Irishman Ash Sheehan pulling a double shift on drums.

The sound and mix were very good (arguably a tad too bass-heavy) and, as promised, this was a set of Glenn Hughes performing Classic Deep Purple songs. As such, unsurprisingly, the majority of the tracks were from the Mk. III and Mk. IV versions of Purple, at which time Hughes featured in the band.

He still possesses a great voice and can still hit all the high notes that only the likes of Mariah Carey can dream of hitting. Throughout the two hour show, Hughes exhibited great love and admiration for his band members and the fans alike. He also showed both love and respect for his old Purple band mates, in particular David Coverdale, who joined the legends at a similar time. However, the latter didn't prevent him telling some amusing stories about DC, including how he took to the stage at the famous California Jam Session with a broad Yorkshire accent, only to leave it sounding like Roger Moore!

This was definitely a seventies style performance, with each song being extended from the studio version. 'Stormbringer', 'Might Just Take Your Life' and 'Sail Away' got the show off to a fantastic start. 'You Fool No One' was an archetypal seventies jam, with every instrument trying to be louder than every other; it segued, via a guitar solo, into the Blues of 'High Ball Shooter', plus a lengthy drum solo. Now, the latter proved (not that any proof was needed) what a talented, hard-hitting drummer Sheehan is; however, unless you're Neil Peart, then anything over thirty seconds is too long for a drum solo, and this was certainly too long! Mercifully, we were spared a bass solo!

'You Keep On Moving' from 'Come Taste The Band' drew a huge reaction, before Hughes paid an emotional tribute to the late, great Tommy Bolin by way of the funky 'Gettin' Tighter' (a song that he always includes in his sets as remembrance to his friend).

Hughes recounted being with Ritchie Blackmore when he first heard the embryonic chords of the classic 'Mistreated'. It was affectionately recreated this evening and one of many highlights. The most famous riff in history introduced 'Smoke On The Water' with the crowd in fine voices during the chorus. It also strangely included Ray Charles' Soul classic 'Georgia On My Mind' with just Hughes and DiCola. Hughes thanked the audience, as he frequently did throughout the whole evening, and the band left the stage briefly to loud applause. They returned a couple of minutes later to conclude the set with my two favourite Deep Purple songs, 'Burn' and 'Highway Star'; the latter saw Hughes passing his bass to James Crutchley (Dead Sea Skulls) and just singing lead vocals.

A fantastic evening of nostalgic seventies classic Rock. I still personally prefer the eighties, which Hughes freely admits he has no recollection.

Review and photos by Mark Donnelly

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