Hootie and the Blowfish group hugs Leeds on their 25th anniversary tour.

Hootie and the Blowfish returned to Leeds for some much needed Group Therapy and big, musical hugs all round.

Kicking off with an updated version of Sam Jackson’s infamous Pulp Fiction Ezekiel 25:17 “The path of the righteous man…” monologue to introduce the band and we’re off with Hannah Jane. Ahhh the smell of nostalgia!

We were treated to a host of classics and surprisingly, a few well-chosen covers (more on these below). Highlights were anything from Cracked Rear View, off of which we heard Not Even the Trees, Hold my Hand, Let Her Cry, Running From and Angel, Time, Goodbye and a version of Only Wanna Be With You with Get Down on It sewn in as an encore. Darius was in a sharing kind of mood and regaled us with old University campus stories of pretty boy drummer auditions, a certain pretty boy drummer stealing girls and the same pretty boy drummer’s incredible song writing resulting in the Sonefeld penned “Hold My Hand”.

With some upcoming new material, it’s no surprise a few new tracks made an appearance. Rollin’ and Miss California were both great tracks and promise big things for the new album, Imperfect Circle due out on the 1st November. A definite purchase if you ask me!

As for the covers, we had great version of REM’s Losing My Religion (called it as soon as a mandolin appeared on stage!) nailed down, some Led Zep’, Tom Waites and a version of Champagne Supernova that if I’m honest, I didn’t get on with. But then, Darius’ and Liam’s voice couldn’t really be any different.

If I had one gripe (if you could even call it that), knowing the songs so well and dying to sing along, Darius going freestyle on the vocals did dampen it a little, but hey, they’re their songs, they can do what the hell they like (and I’d still go watch!)

It was great to see the band controlling the room and confidently strutting the stage and hopefully with the new material out shortly, they’ll be this side of the pond sooner rather than later. When they are, I’ll be there and so should you!

Until next time.

Words by: Darren Flavell