In sharp contrast to headliners One Eskimo’s mellow set at the Beachland Ballroom last night, London-born, Thailand-raised Hugo got the audience moving with a more high-energy rock & roll set. Sounding like a mix of Tom Petty, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and even a little Howlin' Wolf, Hugo was an original, but also really familiar.
Even with his face obscured by a flat-rimmed fedora, Hugo’s self-assurance and stage presence was one of a star. With strong songs like “Bread & Butter” and “Olde Tyme Religion” (as well as his popular cover of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”), it won't be long before Hugo really is a star.
When One Eskimo took the stage, the atmosphere changed from charged rock to mellow melodies, but it was no less interesting. Jamie Sefton tackled both bass and horn for a surreal (and often heroic) combination. Drummer Adam Faulkner was a show all by himself, with a personalized kit that allowed him to create the quiet backbone to Eskimo’s most popular songs.
When singer Kristian Leontiou let loose the opening lines of "Kandi," the audience was hypnotized, swaying and singing in unison. Even when One Eskimo introduced a few new songs, the crowd stayed with them through every single mellow note. —Crystal Pirri; photo by Mark Pirri