Gig Review

Mr Hudson
MPHO, Alan Pownall
Southampton, Joiners
4th June 2009
Mr Hudson                 MPHO            Alan Pownall  
Ah, back at the Joiners, what happy happy days these are. And it was time for Mr Hudson, now performing under his own name, having dropped “ And The Library.” However, thankfully, The Library are still touring with him, with the exception of one or two members. Regardless, this was going to be a great night, as they showcased new material due out in the coming months.

However, first up was Alan Pownall – who, donned in a scruffy shirt, jeans, and wooly hat, could have easily been mistaken for a misguided beggar, or a sloppy roadie. That was until he approached the microphone with his guitar, and began to play. Easy-listening acoustic-driven songwriting at its best, which despite its relaxing tone, is remarkably uplifting, probably down to the rhythmic off-beat strums. A fairly simple voice, but executed so perfectly over the gentle backing, which after a couple of songs, gained a second guitar and a small drum kit. “Take Me” and “Clara,” the forthcoming single, are ones to remember. The beauty of it all is that it just appeared to be effortless. What an unexpectedly fantastic set, and certainly one to keep an eye on.

Next up was MPHO, and yes, I was fooled too. Although it sounds like a crazy down-tempo electro group, it's actually a female solo artist and it's pronounced Mm-Po, as she explained to the crowd, and even got them to say out loud just to make sure they'd got it right. Mr Hudson is known to support up and coming soulful artists, his Library tour a couple of years previous included support from Adele – but MPHO is another kettle of fish altogether. The Beyoncé wannabe had a good voice, but coupled with the average song-writing, the dancing around like she's the sexiest thing since some really sexy sliced bread, the drummer with Stevie Wonder glasses and a backpack, the middle-aged man on the keyboards who looked far from enthused, the fact that every song only comprised of vocal, drum, and another part which was clearly coming from the keyboard and made the overall sound disappointingly thin, and the overwhelming sense of arrogance; I wasn't impressed. That said, some other people in the room were enjoying themselves, though they were mainly women. Even if I could overcome all of the negative points just mentioned, it all seemed a little out of place. However, if you love Beyoncé but wish there was a less famous and less talented clone that you could get into, give MPHO a go.

And finally, it was Hudson's turn, welcomed to the stage with a huge applause and pats on the back all round. Opening with a new track, the name of which I'm not sure, this was the start of a fabulous set. The sound, as is often the case here, was spot on. Despite Hudson himself appearing *slightly* intoxicated, it was all incredibly tight and well-played. You'd never guess the line-up had been chopped and changed since the last tour. Torville Jones' replacement Rob Barron who apparently saved Hudson's life, (although this was probably by just being Torville's replacement; don't read too much into that!) was flawless in his performance and everyone was working together beautifully. “Two By Two” and “One Specific Thing” were the first tracks played from the debut album, the latter featuring Joy Joseph who time after time, does not fail to amaze me. As if playing the steel drum wasn't hard enough, managing to couple that with a fantastic voice, well, hats off. Newer tracks to be featured on Straight No Chaser such as “Lift Your Head” and “There Will Be Tears” were included in the set, making for a promising album launch this Summer. The next single “Supernova” featuring Kanye West, was also performed, however not surpsingly, Kanye wasn't there. This song however, was a bit of a disappointment. Hudson and Kanye get on really well, they've worked together on accoasions before, but here, Supernova had taken a slightly grimey edge that may suit Mr West, but didn't seem to work on its own at the Hudson show. I don't know whether that was the song, or the performance, but it just wasn't right. “Ghosts,” “Upon The Heath,” and “Too Late Too Late” were played to the pleasure of the room, as well as the newer “White Kids” and “Stiff Upper Lip.” Finishing with arguably one of my favourites, (and no doubt a real hit with everyone in the room,) “Ask The DJ,” we had been exposed to a fabulous evening of entertainment. The new material sounds fantastic, and despite the Supernova hiccup, it's clear that this album is going to do well.

Alan Pownelel 4.5/5
MPHO 2.5/5
Mr Hudson 4.5/5

Review By Thom

 Mr Hudson

Ben Hudson
Joy Joseph
Rob Barron
Raph Mann
Wilkie Wilkinson



 Alan Pownell

Alan Pownell

 Band Related Links
Mr Hudson Myspace
MPHO Myspace
Alan Pownell Myspace
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?