Mott The Hoople, Hammersmith Apollo, London
Monday 05 October 2009
Eyebrows were raised when Mott The Hoople's initial reunion shows at the Hammersmith Apollo sold out so fast that further dates had to be added, then more. One expects the likes of Led Zeppelin to inspire such sizeable affection, but Mott? Who knew there was such a collective yearning for the glam boogie monsters?
Well, everybody here tonight. I've seen a few reunion shows, including the Cream and Zep shows, and none elicited the genuine waves of joy – as opposed to reverence or awe – Mott did tonight. Their fans clearly view them more as mates than rock gods, an attitude which Ian Hunter's bluff, self-deprecating banter does nothing to dispel.
Not that their repertoire didn't rely heavily on the classic rock mythos, with louche anthems such as "Rock'n'Roll Queen" and a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" greeted with huge roars, and the hit "The Golden Age Of Rock'n'Roll" pivoting on the principle "gotta stay up, never grow old".
For the audience, this is a principle best realised on foot: unlike other reunion shows, Mott's audience stays stood up from the moment the band step onstage, causing Hunter to observe that it was the first time they'd had a standing ovation for the entirety of their set.
Though best known for their glam-era successes, the band were formed in the late Sixties by producer Guy Stevens, who wanted to create a group that sounded like Dylan being backed by the Stones. They were about to throw in the towel when David Bowie threw them the lifeline of "All The Young Dudes". But that original formula continued to dominate their shows, represented tonight by the "Jumpin' Jack Flash" chant which concluded the anthemic "Walkin' With A Mountain", seguing into "Like A Rolling Stone".
One of the great misconceptions about glam-rock was that, being built on gender uncertainty, it was soft and fluffy. This was far from the truth: there were plenty of glam hard nuts itching for lairy fun, and Mott The Hoople offered them plenty of no-frills boogie, exemplified by the swaggering "Honaloochie Boogie" and "All The Way From Memphis" that close tonight's set with a sort of sledgehammer grace. But it's "One Of The Boys" that sums up Mott's appeal best: "I'm one of the boys that don't say much, but I make a big noise.
To 6 October (www.mottthehoople.com).
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
After Sam Smith’s Mobo success, is the help of a pushy parent the surest route to stardom?
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year