As the organ sound and occasional vocalist of Mott the Hoople's first five albums, Verden Allen needed no introduction to his audience, the Soft Ground set being a satisfying romp through his four Angel Air released albums with a few well chosen songs borrowed from the Hoople's back catalogue.
Playing well-paced organ fuelled rock at its finest, Soft Ground's powerful sound stands well alongside Mott's early years, being delivered in a relaxed style, but with a contemporary feel that breathed a new lease of life into a brooding version of 'Soft Ground', from the Hoople's first CBS album, 'All The Young Dudes'. A similarly rapturous welcome greet
ed the Island era 'Death May Be Your Santa Clause', both Hoople songs having been rerecorded for 'Long Time No See'.
Exchanging some banter with Luther Grosvenor, who was in fine form in the audience, Verden launched into 'On the Rebound', co-written and recorded with Luther for 'For Each Other', before a run of Hoople songs gifted the assembled Mott crowd hearty renditions of 'Roll Away The Stone', 'All the Young Dudes' and 'Rock'n'Roll Queen'.
An encore of four songs saw Verden exchanging more licks with guitarist Jamie Thyer, who demonstrated a dextrous touch when playing slide during 'My Masochistic Side', whilst the rhythm section of Rob Hankins (bass) and Matthew Blakout (drums) reconvened the urgency that always underpinned the Hoople's proto-punk sound. The band's powerful sound was further demonstrated by the closing number, a blistering rerun of Mott's infamous Kinks cover, 'You Really Got Me'.
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