After enjoying the Wilko Johnson concert in September and writing the blog post about it, in which I had been lamenting the fact that I had never seen ‘The Blockheads’ live, it got me reading up on them. Imagine then my joy to learn that they had not disbanded following Ian’s death in 2000 but continued by public demand, and were scheduled to play a 35th anniversary residency at Ronnie Scotts in Soho from 21st to 24th November. I couldn’t believe my luck! We had already planned a long weekend in London from the 25th to 27th. So I booked the additional night at the hotel and booked us tickets for Ronnie Scotts on the 24th.
The Blockheads most recent album ‘Staring Down The Barrel’ is a masterpiece! I can honestly say there isn’t a weak track on the album – and of course the musicianship is superb. This band are so tight you couldn’t slip a cigarette paper between them.
The music writing credits go to Chas Jankel and the the lead vocals and lyric writing credits now go to Derek ‘The Draw’ Hussey – formerly Ian Dury’s minder/stage chaperone. In my humble opinion this is as fine a collaborating duo as Dury/Jankel ever were. I would recommend this to everyone and anyone with an appreciation of good music – and witty often humorous lyrics. Although the language is very colloquial London/Essex based and may not be clearly understood outside UK.
The Ronnie Scotts gig was everything I expected, superb! It really doesn’t get any better than this – to be able to listen to your favourite band in an intimate atmosphere such as Ronnie’s. I was particularly struck by the broad fan base. Of course The Blockheads have a back-catalogue that stretches back to the seventies and original fans of the band and their music are now in to their 50s. I witnessed several family groups where the teenage offspring had also been converted and were enjoying this gig with their elders. A truly family affair. By the end of their set the whole place was jumping – both audience and staff bouncing around to ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful’ and ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’.
The Ronnie Scotts band lineup:-
- Gilad Atzmon – Saxophones
- Mick Gallagher – Organ, Piano and Synths
- Derek Hussey – Vocals and Ambience Co-ordination
- Chaz Jankel – Guitars and Keyboards
- John Roberts – Drums
- John Turnbull – Guitars
- Norman Watt-Roy – Bass