Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The

Sensational Alex Harvey Band

ABC, Glasgow, Thu 14 Dec


What’s the best comparison to make? A headless chicken running around the farmyard, blood splurting from its neck? Far too harsh. A hesitant army unsure what to do after losing its beloved general? Still too harsh. The Argentinian football team, once Maradona’s been sent off? Ach, something will come to me.

Because despite legendary Scottish singer and frontman Alex Harvey dying way back in 1982 from a massive heart attack, on the day before his 47th birthday, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band are coming to town.

And not for the first time. Since that fateful day almost 25 years ago, the remaining original members of the band - Zal Cleminson, Hugh McKenna, Ted McKenna and Chris Glen - have reformed in a number of different guises, with limited success, but this time round seems a bit different. In 2004, with new singer ‘Mad’ Max Maxwell in tow, the band decided to call it a day with a farewell tour. Ironically, the tour went so well, they decided to go on. Since then, the band have played to bigger and bigger crowds, at major rock festivals and supporting the likes of Def Leppard and Cheap Trick, as well as releasing a live album, Zalvation earlier this year.

So, what is SAHB like in 2006 compared to the vintage 70s model? Well, pretty much the same, except heavier and louder, as it happens. All the old flamboyant offbeat rock style is there, and then some. The band’s idiosyncratic mix of glam, blues, folk, vaudeville and rock is still as heady a brew as it ever was - let’s not forget that SAHB were voted fifth best Scottish band ever in this very magazine.

Of course, the one missing ingredient is Harvey himself. The man was such a larger than life character that the band were never going to manage to replace him, but Maxwell does a decent shift at making the songs his own, and has plenty of charisma in his own right.

So what about that comparison? How about a phoenix emerging from the flames, will that do? Yeah, that just about fits.

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