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Mike and The Mechanics, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Mike + The Mechanics at Birmingham Symphony Hall Mike + The Mechanics at Birmingham Symphony Hall Ian Harvey

Quiet, self-effacing, unassuming...it’s sometimes hard to believe that Mike Rutherford is the driving force behind the utterly exuberant Mike + The Mechanics.

The term "side project" somehow just doesn’t do justice to the Genesis founder’s other band, especially when the hits just keep pouring out, non-stop, as they have done since 1984.

And at Symphony Hall last night, Mr Rutherford & Co found an audience prepared to give its all, on a night that won’t be forgotten quickly.

Kicking off with the title track of the band’s new album The Road, the Mechanics soon hit their stride with the likes of A Beggar On a Beach Of Gold, Over My Shoulder, All I Need Is A Miracle and a simply sublime rendition of The Living Years.

On a night when soul, pop and rock collided, it seemed more than fitting that soul star Andrew Roachford – he of Only To Be With You and Cuddly Toy fame – should be one of the Mechanics’ new voices, alongside Canadian born singer and actor Tim Howar. The pair replacing Paul Carrack and the late Sad Cafe singer Paul Young.

Howar was a revelation, injecting a youthful vitality into the proceedings, while Roachford simply exudes class.

And then there were a couple of special treats, apart from Roachford’s own big numbers, as the band launched into two Genesis blockbusters – Follow You, Follow Me and I Can’t Dance – the latter which saw one particular audience member make his way down to the front of the stage doing that walk.

Genesis may be no more, and while that band’s singer, Phil Collins, has announced his retirement from the music scene, Mike Rutherford and his Mechanics show no sign of moving into the slow lane.

© Express & star, by Ian Harvey

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