Ian Hunter - The Mill (Preston) - 24.5.04

Ian Hunter has about as much chance of slowing down as England have of winning Euro 2004. Now approaching his twilight years the former frontman of 70s rockers Mott The Hoople is remarkably still in good shape. The unruly mop of curly blonde hair and shades remain, while he hasn't succumbed to middle aged spread. Even though Mott The Hoople's 2 disc expanded version of two concerts recorded in New York and London is to be re-released, Ian has no desire to reform his former group to promote it. In retrospect MTH are a criminally overlooked band of the 70s and they've inspired and influenced the Clash, REM, Blur and Kiss.

After all these years Ian's voice is still remarkable. Reminiscent of Dylan, Springsteen and (Rod) Stewart and bridging gaps between blues, rock and folk. Ian Hunter and his band demonstrate how to put on an electrifying live show. "Once Bitten Twice Shy" is a long forgotten rock classic given a new lease of life. "Twisted Steel" is a great bit of Stones fused rock. "23a Swan Hill" is probably one of Hunters most autobiographical songs as it deals with his unhappy childhood.

When the drum pedal breaks Ian chats to us like a mate in the pub over a pint recalling seeing Frank Sinatra when he lived in New York at Carnegie Hall. A late night cabaret version of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square" follows. Another cover "Knocking On Heavens Door" leads us to a trio of anthemic belters. "Roll Away The Stone", "Chelsea Girls" and the fabulous "All The Young Dudes" which was written by David Bowie. Whereas new bands like the Vines play for just over an hour, Ian Hunter and friends perform for two hours, including 2 encores and "Just Another Night".

As well as a string of British dates, Ian's also venturing to Europe. Miss this living legend at your peril.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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