Mike Rutherford is, of course, one of the leading lights of British Rock music, having been a fouder member of Genesis and, along with Tony Banks, the only consistent member of the band throughout their 45-year history. Since 1985 Rutherford has also worked with his own side-project, Mike & the Mechanics. The band spawned a number of hit songs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, using the vocal talents of the late Paul Young and Paul Carrack. Having gone into hiatus following the 2004 release 'Rewired', Rutherford recently resurrected the band with a new line-up, bringing in the vocal talents of Tim Howar and Andrew Roachford.
That new band came to the Picturedrome in Holmfirth last night, and entertained a full house of around 600 people to a selection of music spanning the band's catalogue, and those of the band's members. It was lively, high-energy performance which had the crowd on their feet for just about 1½ hours. As well as classics from the band's repertoire such as 'All I need is a Miracle', 'Silent Running', 'Over My Shoulder', 'The Living Years', 'Word of Mouth', 'Beggar on a Beach of Gold', 'Another Cup of Coffee' and 'Get Up', the band performed songs from their latest album 'The Road', and also delighted the audience with a handful of Genesis and Roachford numbers. Tim Howar threw himself into a very passable rendition of 'Throwing it all Away', bringing the vigour that Phil Collins does to a live rendition of the song, as he did with 'Follow You, Follow Me' and 'I Can't Dance'. Andrew Roachford brought a wonderful soulful atmosphere to the show - at times reminiscent of James Brown's cameo in the Blues Brothers (My wife commented that she was almost expecting back-flips down the aisle at one point!) He gave us very powerful versions of his songs 'This Generation' and his massive hit 'Cuddly Toy'. Behind all this energy, Mike Rutherford stood quietly and often understatedly, but clearly in control of the music. This was soulful pop-rock at the top of its game.
Before this main attraction was the support act. This is always a difficult slot to fill: after all the people in front of you have not payed good money to see someone they've never heard of! I have to confess though that I have a slightly blinkered opinion of the support last night, as it was my son, Mike. He writes his own songs and plays on his own with an acoustic guitar and I thought he was brilliant (but then I would, wouldn't I!?) The crowd really warmed to him, the rapport was excellent and he even had them singing along to one of the songs towards the end of the set. If you've not come across him you can find out more here or here.
All in all a great night: I got to see one of my rock heroes, and Mike played the gig of his life (so far). I'm one proud dad.