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Many people rolled their eyes when it was announced that Mick Hucknall would front the Faces reunion instead of Rod Stewart. Seriously, the Simply Red dude with the Bozo ‘fro replacing one of rock ‘n’ roll sexiest legends? Would never work. But apparently Hucknall acquitted himself quite well in the reunited band’s first London gig at the O2 arena, winning over the skeptics. Andrew Perry of The Daily Telegraph concurs with the audience praise:

Hucknall, whose self-regard usually knows no ceiling, was visibly reining himself in, forced by circumstance to integrate rather than indulge…Hucknall was impressive on a singalong ‘Ooh La La,’ and truly excelled on the blues/soul covers which would pepper a vintage Faces set, such as the Temptations‘ ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ and Etta James ‘I’d Rather Go Blind.’ At such moments, Stewart’s summation of the Mancunian as a ‘great little shouter’ seemed like disingenuously faint praise.

The Evening Standard‘s Rick Pearson is even more effusive about Mick’s performance:

So last night’s show at the British Music Experience…was as much an audition as it was a gig: could Hucknall really pull this off? From the opening line of ‘Miss Judy’s Farm,’ the answer was resounding: yes. Unveiling a vocal with more gravel than a driveway, Hucknall’s rock ‘n’ roll makeover was startling. If you closed your eyes – and closing them was recommended given how the group looks nowadays – it could almost have been Stewart circa 1975.”

A fan has posted a few video snippets from the concert on Youtube, a couple of which you can watch below. Try to lie back and think of Rod Stewart:

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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.