Mott The Hoople - Monmouth, Blake Theatre - 25/26th September 2009 Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley and Johnny H   
Monday, 28 September 2009 17:11


Friday Night 


Ian_HThe golden age of rock n roll is alive and well in Monmouth! Monmouth I hear you say. Well why not? Rockfield is just up the road and it's as good a place as any for one of the most iconic and influential rock acts from the UK to play their first gig for umpteen years and I can say with a certain amount of pride I was there, and boy was it good. Scrap that, it was fuckin' amazing even if the Pretenders drummer Martin Chambers sat in, due to Mott drummer Buffin being hospitalised and therefore unable to do the show.


The band might have been in rehearsals for the last few weeks but that's no substitute for doing it in front of an audience. Would they be any good, I thought? Would the songs sound the same as we remembered? As part of the 500 odd (and I mean that in every sense of the word) people in attendance tonight there can't have been anyone leaving the theatre even slightly disappointed with that performance. As soon as the band hit 'Rock n Roll Queen' it was obvious we were now in hard rocking heaven. The band sounded fresh as a daisy and it was little short of awesome as the band rolled away the years let alone the stone. They played with a verve and enjoyment that was infectious and sounded like a band who'd been constantly gigging together 200 times a year for the past 35 years not a band who hadn't been on a stage together for that length of time. Even with the odd dropped drum stick and ragged ending this was a band that were tight as the proverbial gnat's chuff and chomping at the bit. Hunter has clearly made some deal with the devil to have a voice that good and still strut his stuff in such a carefree way wielding round the Les Paul juniors like a 15 year old.




Quite where the story goes after this week, who knows? More gigs? Some recordings? Why not I'd say, get in that studio and start writing. It would also be a fitting end to a fantastic band if the Hammersmith shows were the full stop but how good would it be if songs like 'Sweet Jane', 'One Of The Boys', 'Roll Away The Stone', 'All The Way From Memphis' to the poptastic 'All The Young Dudes' reverberated from concert hall walls worldwide in 2009?


Mott the Hoople in the Blake Theatre Monmouth made me realise why I fell in love with rock music all those years ago. I only wish nights and gigs like this happened more often.


God bless Mott The Hoople and God bless rock n roll, I fuckin' loves it!





Saturday Night


Mott_Ticket547Leading up to this 'warm up' show at a very intimate (500 capacity) venue ahead of the band's full on Hammersmith Apollo/Odeon shows, I had been thinking just how much of an influence Mott The Hoople had been on my listening over the years. Being a little too young to have 'got it' first time around, I sort of 'happened' on Ian Hunter and Mott The Hoople's wonderful back catalogue through bands like  The Dogs D'Amour, The Quireboys and uber fan Joe Elliott from Def Leppard. The logic of my thinking being "if it's good enough for them then it has to be good", with the dulcet tones of 'Mott' et al immediately winning me over, and right now I consider the band to be one of the all time great exponents of UK rock and roll full stop. So, unlike a large majority of the sold out crowd, I was a Mott The Hoople live virgin when I took my seat along with what felt like 496 real diehard sea divers. Pre gig my mind was immediately drawn to the parallels I had experienced at the 2004 New York Dolls reunion shows at Royal Festival Hall, rock n roll in these types of venues is never easy, especially when most people choose to remain seated in these lecture theatre type environments.


Ian_H_2So after a few crowd wind up light dips we were privileged to be in the presence of Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Overend Watts, Verden Allen, with Martin Chambers (of Pretenders fame) sitting in for a sadly ill Dale Griffin. Running through two hours worth of prime cuts from their illustrious five year career, in a fantastically relaxed vibe, that saw Ian joking frequently with the band and crowd, and looking and sounding absolutely fantastic whatever his age.


Not to spoil too much of the content of this feast of Mott the Hoople for those about to witness the Hammersmith shows, the highs for me were the likes of 'Sucker', 'Angeline', 'Golden Age Of Rock N Roll', and 'Walking With A Mountain' all delivered with a zeal and energy of a band who had been gigging for the last thirty six years, not only just getting back together after that same period of time.


It is only really when you see this original Mott The Hoople line up live and in the flesh that you realise just how soooo very special they really were/are. And in Ian Hunter this band really does have one of the best frontmen I have ever seen live and I've seen a fair fucking few in my time, I can tell you.


By the time 'All The Way From Memphis' was giving a sound dusting off the largely subdued audience did finally spring to life, and out of the corner of my eye I spotted, a few rows away from me, uber fan Joe Elliott singing away like a teenager, bringing my night truly full circle, with master and apprentice finally meeting up, sort of like an Obi Wan/Luke Skywalker glam rock experience.




The encores rounded up with a truly wonderful 'Saturday's Gigs' that sent us on our way, yup all the way to Hammersmith Apollo/Odeon and Thursday's first night.... in a word guys and gals..Awesome !!!!!


Just make sure you don't miss this. Some tickets are still available here, but be quick.