If it’s nearly Xmas it must be time for The Blockheads annual Xmas show and this year they’ve got a new album called “Same Horse, Different Jockey” to showcase. They’ve run a successful crowd funding campaign this year to pay for the album and videos and it’s a good mix of vintage sounding Blockhead lyricism coupled with new music. They open with “Look The Other Way”, the first track on the album, and it showcases Chaz Jankels funky piano playing, some sharp lyrics from Derek and ends with instrumentals from most of the band.
Derek the Drawer is in good form and seems comfortable in his role as lead vocalist. It’s good that he’s never tried to imitate Ian Dury as he’s an eccentric and charismatic performer in his own right, with a neat line in smutty banter between songs.
Other songs they play from the new album include “Express Yourself”, with most of the band joining in on vocals over a tight, driving rhythm. Another new one, “Boys will be boys” has Derek using a Bluesy tune to tell the story of lads down the pub getting up to mischief. A third new song, “Undercover” is an almost spoken word song telling the story of CCTV and Big Brother watching all of us. There’s some great sax playing from Gilad Atzmon on this one too.
I’ve reviewed them plenty of times before as they’re one of my favourite British bands, and I’ve still never seen them do a weak show. They encore with “What’s the deal, Mama” which has Micky Gallagher on piano for that classic Blockheads music hall sound. An uptempo Rock ‘n’ Roll tune that they do so well.
Highlights for me were two of my favourite songs “Sweet Gene Vincent” and of course “Blockheads”. Both good old fashioned raucous stompers guaranteed to get a party rocking.
The full Jazz Cafe house greets this new material as enthusiastically as their well known classic songs, and it’s clear their devoted fan base will continue to come out to see them for as long as they continue to play.