Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ian Hunter Turns Back the Clock at Highline Ballroom

Ian Hunter, the veteran British rocker who's now lived in the States for more than half his life, played a rousing show at Highline Ballroom last night and—if you'd closed your eyes—you could have sworn you were hearing one of his shows from 30 or 40 years ago.

 Ian Hunter (center) at Highline Ballroom, flanked by Andy York and James Mastro.

Actually, you might have thought the same thing with your eyes open, because the former Mott the Hoople frontman looked nothing like a 73 year old, and still sports his familiar mop of long, curly blond hair (as well as his ever-present sunglasses). More important, his voice sounds in good form after all these years of touring and recording. And his backing group, the Rant Band, is a tight collection of veterans, led by James Mastro (formerly of The Bongos and The Health and Happiness Show) and a former member of Wings, among others.

Hunter is touring to promote his latest solo album, "When I'm President," which came out last week.  He and the band played much of that album, but also reached far back into Hunter's catalog. There were Mott the Hoople staples such as "All the Way From Memphis" and "All the Young Dudes;" favorites from his solo career, including "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" (which was a hit for Great White) and "Just Another Night;" and even a Lou Reed cover ("Sweet Jane").

Despite the title, the album is actually less political than his more recent efforts, and the title track is more a reflection on the good-intentions-gone-awry stalemates of politics than a rant on any specific issue. Though he does sing "I'm gonna lean on the 1%," and even allows himself to dream, "you'll see my ugly mug up on Mount Rushmore."

In case there was any doubt, Ian Hunter still rocks, on his new album and in his live shows. His current tour continues with a show in Washington, D.C. tonight (Sept. 15th), then takes a brief break before resuming in Cleveland (Sept. 27th) and Chicago (Sept. 28th and 29th). See all the Ian Hunter tour dates here.

The title song from Ian Hunter's "When I'm President."

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