IT WAS a night of barely-controlled insanity at The Pandora last Friday.
Hugh Reed was in town, and he wanted everyone to know it.
Hugh could now rightly be called an international star as he divides his time up between here and Beijing, where he has another band.
But, when he’s here, you don’t want to be anywhere else.
So I contacted a couple of like-minded souls and we headed down to the Victoria Road watering hole.
We arrived unfashionably early — well, a pub’s still a pub — and we saw the equipment arrive and the drip, drip of the faithful arriving to see their guv’nor.
It was after nine when Hugh did a sound check, before disappearing to the bar.
The backing band carried the first set admirably, with the drummer taking the vocal duties.
However, when Hugh cameo on, that was the point that madness held sway over the proceedings.
When a man kicks off his gig wearing a Henry Hoover on his head you know abnormal is being offered up as workaday.
The only serious note of the evening came when Hugh delivered a powerhouse rendition of Jacques Brel’s harrowing ‘Next’.
It was made all the more poignant by the use of the singular arrangement by another southside star — Alex Harvey — but minus the violins.
The show offered some new songs mixed in with classics of the Hugh Reed genre.
The emotional plight of having your motor vehicle purloined was given added oomph with plaintive cries of anguish during ‘Car Nicked’.
“Ah’ve jist hid mah car nicked!
“Ah oanly left it furra minit!
“The keys wur innit!”
And so it went from one track to the next, each one peeling away a new layer of craziness and taking the grateful audience with it.
All of the while rising to the penultimate song ‘Living in Mount Florida’ — to the tune of James Brown’s ‘Living in America’ — which had the crowd go wild.
And with the rousing, crowd-pleasing ‘1999’, he was gone.
But such is the measure of the man that he held back to individually thank those who came along.