By Trevor Baxter
AS STRIPPED back gigs go Hugh Cornwell’s visit to Uppermill Civic Hall on the final day of his 65th year was about as naked as it gets.
No lighting, no backdrop, no support and no suggestion the man out in front of an inquisitive, slightly bemused crowd, was the one-time brooding front man of one of punk’s darkest bands.
Hugh, post 66th birthday, even forgot one of his own song titles, before plugging in a previously kaputt guitar to start his encore.
No more hero anymore? Not a bit of it. Even this forgetful, water sipping, slightly nervous figure remains an icon for a generation that sits these days rather than spits and pogos.
What they got on this occasion was a whistle-stop trip through an extensive back catalogue that is continually added to.
There’s a new album planned for 2016, maintaining his four year, Olympic style cycle for producing new records from which ‘La Grande Dame’ – a tribute to Cornwell’s mother – was given an early airing.
‘Totem and Taboo’ was his last solo offering, released to excellent reviews from which he reprised ‘Stuck in Daily Mail land’ as part of an encore including ‘Nice and Sleazy’ from his Strangers past.
There was nothing sleazy about this show of two halves. Hugh even told a joke-what’s the difference between a pizza and a musician? A pizza feeds a family of four!
This, however, is one musician will never be on his uppers.