Support comes from Mollie Marriott (the daughter of the Small Faces front man Steve Marriott). She’s got a debut album out “Truth Is A Wolf” which I’m guessing makes up the bulk of tonight’s set. It’s a self assured performance and she possesses a decent voice, there was just nothing that particularly stood out about the set.
There’s been much written about Wilko Johnson’s battles with cancer and his subsequent operations and recovery, and after attending his farewell gig in London it’s fantastic to see him back on the road playing music. He’s backed by drummer Dylan Howe and infamous Blockhead’s bassist Norman Watt-Roy with Wilko playing his famous red and black Fender Telecaster.
The power trio kick off with “All Right” from his 1980 album “Ice On The Motorway” and it’s a shame the venue is seated as his uptempo brand of R ‘n B, Blues and Rock is more suited to great to dance to. Throughout the set we get the trademark Wilko thousand yard stare as well as the gliding from side to side in time to his choppy guitar licks. It’s a hyperactive set peppered with Dr. Feelgood songs as to be expected, including “Going Back Home“, “Roxette“, “Sneakin’ Suspicion“, “Paradise“, “Back In The Night” and “She Does It Right“. The Feelgood songs particularly still stand up and draw a great reaction from the older crowd, not bad for forty year old tunes. He also plays a cover version of the Bob Dylan song “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” as well as “Everybody’s Carrying A Gun” from the “Going Back Home” number one album that he did with Roger Daltrey in 2014.
During this song he introduces the band and we get a pounding drum solo from Dylan Howe and a funky bass solo from Norman, who by now is absolutely dripping with sweat, as anyone who has ever seen him play with The Blockheads will have seen before.
They encore with “Bye Bye Johnny” by way of tribute to Chuck Berry and that’s the end of the set. Great that Wilko is still playing his brand of dynamic, killer music. He’s 70 this year and looks to be healthy. Here’s hoping he’s around for a good while yet.