At The Playhouse, Whitley Bay, U.K., July 3, 2017

IAN HUNTER & THE RANT BAND (Live at The Playhouse, Whitley Bay, U.K., July 3, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

You’d expect most people at the age of 78 to be pottering around their garden or sitting on a park bench feeding the ducks or maybe these days it’s more putting in a grueling shift babysitting their grandkids. No such thoughts have crossed the mind of former Mott The Hoople frontman Ian Hunter who returned to the region for the second leg of his UK tour in support of his excellent new album Fingers Crossed, which saw him achieve his highest chart position in years.

Joined by the impressive five piece The Rant Band including former Wings and long-time band mate Steve Holley on drums and Mark Bosch on guitar added some real muscle to the music.

Tonight was the final night of the tour and the Playhouse was packed with fans bursting with anticipation eager to catch Hunter performing as part of the Mouth of the Tyne Festival.

The trouble with being such a prolific writer is that there is such an abundance of quality tunes to draw from meaning it’s impossible to fit everything into a two hour show however Hunter did an excellent job of mixing classics from his Mott The Hoople days (All The Way From Memphis, Roll Away The Stone) and solo career (Once Bitten Twice Shy, 23A Swan Hill) with his more recent Rant Band material (When I’m President, Fingers Crossed) meaning that pretty much all bases were covered.

Hunter has the knack of painting vivid images with his lyrics and Ghosts from his latest album is the perfect example telling the tale of his visit to the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis brought to life by his husky, lived in voice, gilded in melody.

The clavinet, Funk driven All American Alien Boy had the Playhouse grooving and gave The Rant Band plenty of opportunity to show their stuff and they didn’t half show it off.

Hunter’s association with David Bowie goes way back and it was Bowie’s All The Young Dudes that gave Mott The Hoople their biggest hit so it was only fitting that Hunter’s touching tribute to Bowie. Dandy, was one of the of the evening’s high spots.

As the poignant, Life with its soul searching lyrics and simple message gave people time to reflect, All The Young Dudes took everyone back to the party zone and not a single person was left in their seat.

Almost 50 years into his career Hunter not only remains a hugely entertaining and engaging performer but still retains a superhuman creative streak that continues to keep him relevant in today’s scene and very few artists can say that that.

Review and Photos by Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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