Music review: Mike & The Mechanics, Edinburgh

At the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
At the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
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LONG since divested of the vocal talents of original singers Paul Carrack and the late Paul Young, as well as the group’s other founding musicians, the current incarnation of Mike and the Mechanics (formed in 2010 after the remaining original members called it a day six years previously) is essentially a tribute to the work of bandleader and guitarist Mike Rutherford, formerly of prog titans turned 1980s pop success Genesis.

Mike & The Mechanics

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

***

Yet for all that the school-teacherly 64-year-old was treated here with an air of reverence by band and audience alike, he seemed content to be part of a democratic six-piece unit, only pushing himself to the fore when the occasional extended guitar solo – tackled with the enthusiasm of a teenager playing air guitar before the bedroom mirror – was required. Rutherford has selected wisely for this band, and the considerable vocal abilities of sometime 1980s pop-rock star Andrew Roachford and Canadian musical theatre performer Tim Howar were well used.

Performing before a simple set-up of scaffold lighting rigs for 90 minutes, the group creditably steered away from the template set by the affecting megahit The Living Years (although Roachford’s reading of it drew in a refreshing gospel influence to the vocal) and towards a cheerful enthusiasm for live performing skill and breezily upbeat pop. To this end Genesis tracks Turn It On Again and I Can’t Dance were both drafted in alongside Mechanics hits Silent Running, All I Need is a Miracle and Word of Mouth, Howar a powerful vocal mimic despite a somewhat stagey delivery.

Seen on 12.04.15