Review: Hue and Cry, Queen’s Hall

Hue and Cry created a mellow 'atmosphere
Hue and Cry created a mellow 'atmosphere
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“Welcome to our funk recital,” announces Pat Kane.

The Hue & Cry frontman, ever dapper in his trademark sharp suit, is leading his 80s soul-pop band on something of a funk renaissance and guess what – there’s a flash of hip hop in there, too.

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Backed by a seven-piece line-up – featuring American drumming powerhouse Paul Mills, a very fine horn section, Kane’s partner, Tippi, on backing-vocals, and a rapping bassist to boot – the Glasgow outfit are about as close to Steely Dan as any Scottish outfit can get.

New single, gangsta-funk-infused ditty Duty To The Debtor set the tone, as a plethora of new songs from current album Hot Wire weighted nicely alongside older favourites.

The mellow tones of Darkness Falls for instance, one of many New York-inspired tunes, conjured up a relaxing image of the sun rising over the Hudson River before setting somewhere over Coatbridge.

Kane’s introduction to Summer Head/ Daze however – about sitting in a sunny public park eating cheap Tesco food – shattered illusions a little. Kane had read the set list wrong, therefore what should have been a chilled-out number became Hand And Heart, a hard-edged socialist anthem, instead.

Of course, Kane isn’t exactly shy about his politics. That said, he never lets his polemic get in the way of his otherwise professional 
spotlight manner.

Later, and with the band taking a well-deserved tea-break, brothers Pat and Greg teamed up for a guitar-led version of Looking For Linda. But that was before a killer rendition of Labour Of Love, a tune firmly-embedded in any 80s compilation album.

The audience responded – when Kane wasn’t 
lashing the front row with sweat from his bald napper, he was throwing all manner of shadow-boxing shapes at them – yet tables and chairs don’t really work when a funk band is in the house.

Irreversible Situation, meanwhile, sounded not unlike the incidental music from some mid-70s American cop show, and when the band’s sullen-faced bassist threw down some west-coast hip hop rhymes of another kind, a few people upstairs suddenly found their dancing feet.

A pity they never found them an hour earlier.