Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mr Hudson / MPHO / Alan Pownall @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Saturday 23rd May 2009

Yet another Rainbow gig to sell out and proof that this humble little Digbeth boozer continues to go from strength to strength. Tonight it revealed another of its nifty little tricks and took its top off (it has a ‘roll back’ roof…making it possibly the UK’s only convertible gig venue).

First up…and basking in the lovely late evening sunshine…Alan Pownall who’s got a nice laid back vocal delivery and a picnic basket full of perfect Summery ditties – kind of like Jack Johnson, but with a bit more oomph and a lot less surf.

Next up the electro-ragga-sampledelic MPHO (pronounced ‘Empo’…she was very keen to point that out, even getting us to repeat it back to her until we all got it right). As I’ve said many times before I’m loving these sassy 80’s tinged popsters…step forward GaGa, La Roux, Ladyhawke, Little Boots, Florance and the Machine, Bat For Lashes et al. I particularly enjoyed MPHO’s Martha and the Muffins (hmmm muffins) ‘Echo Beach’ inspired Box N Locks. In the days when such things mattered it would’ve been a ‘smash hit’...

Finally the man himself, local boy made good (oh so good), Mr Hudson…now without his library…but with the full backing of a certain Mr Kanye West. Not the most obvious of partnerships perhaps (although he has been remixed by Bizzle before now) but I’m all for mixing shit up a bit. Judging by his current MySpace tracks Mr H might be going a little bit more electro than in his previous incarnations (perhaps inspired by his new buddy’s last offering, 808 Heartbreak) but tonight’s gig was pretty much classic Hudson (it might even have been the same band that made up his ‘Library’). Watching him it’s not hard to see his appeal which (thanks partly to the Kanye endorsement) could see him go global. I was reminded in places of The Police (bear with me here), he’s got that kind of reggae lite feel that Sting made so much of…subtle, but there nonetheless. His songs have that same kind of instant appeal too. Cop a listen to ‘Too Late, Too Late’ or ‘One Specific Thing’ for instance. But (just like Sting) there’s something very English about him too…extending to calling one of his new songs ‘Stiff Upper Lip’. If none of this works out you can almost see him ending his days playing piano in up market hotel bars. Not much chance of that happening though, especially if the ecstatic sing along atmosphere of tonight’s jolly enjoyable gig (yes readers, I am Enid Blyton) was anything to go by – ‘Ask The DJ’ in particular was rapturously greeted by the crowd. I’m intrigued to see how the new album turns out. It’s been a while since Birmingham gave birth to a really big musical name and it would be nice to add a star to the Broad Street Walk of Fame for someone wasn’t in Sabbath…

PS: One thing that keeps bugging me every time I see Mr Hudson is whether he’s the same Hudson who had a band called The Hudson Sound. I can remember seeing them (and being impressed) at Ronnie Scott’s and The Flapper way back but I’m useless with faces. Is it the same guy?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is the same person. Indeed three members of that original band won the orange unsigned act a few years ago