There’s an unresolved tension in the music career of Marti Pellow, between his obvious love of classic soul (predominantly the funky 1970s variety) and his natural tendency towards (G)Las Vegas cheesery, the latter stirring up feral pheromones around the hall, while the former found expression in material from his new solo album, Mysterious.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall ***
His band had a task in replicating the effortless flow and funk of the seasoned sessioneers with whom Pellow recorded in LA, but the combination of lean guitar work, glistening keyboards, a non-flashy brass section and two terrific backing singers created a cohesive canvas for Pellow’s somewhat diminished vocal capacity.
Wet Wet Wet hits, including a breezy Sweet Little Mystery and beefed-up Wishing I Was Lucky, were given a soul-funk reworking, while band and frontman played with the Philly soul-styled Lip Service, adding snatches of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cypress Hill and the Starsky & Hutch theme to the breakdown.
Pellow exhibited taste in his choice of covers – a straight take on Anita Baker’s classy Caught Up in the Rapture and Christine McVie’s Songbird, which was rather swamped by window dressing. In contrast, Pellow was forced to turn down the performance on piano ballad Still Standing to greater emotional effect.
He encored with Wet Wet Wet’s trio of chart-toppers – a soft, unforced Goodnight Girl played to his band’s strengths, while Love Is All Around went unchanged, before a rousing finale of the Joe Cocker R&B version of With a Little Help from My Friends.