Sunday 2 March 2014

Last night Wilko Johnson played down our street

How blimmin’ cool is that?

Norwich Blues Festival happened yesterday at the waterfront, and what a damned fine event it was. It was a fairly loose interpretation of the blues for some acts but it was mostly enjoyable all the same. The first act on was a duo from Doncaster called Rita Payne. Great music/singing and witty repartee between songs. I need to investigate them a bit more. I kind of think they’ll blossom and grow. Check them out as they are well worth a listen!

Rita Payne

Another act I was well impressed with was Connie Lush and Blues Shouter who came on just before Wilko. Connie I think in musical terms comes under the category of ‘good time gal’. There’s no way you can stand still when Connie and the band are on. In stage presence and giving it her all she reminds one of George Melly. I mean that in a very flattering way I might add. Connie is a true blues diva. She can’t ‘alf belt them out. It was a fantastic set, great musicians and proper blues!

Connie Lush giving it what for

The Waterfront was heaving. It must have been a capacity crowd; certainly I’ve never seen it so full. Then the moment we’d all been waiting for, and a moment I never thought I’d see Wilko Johnson and his band took to the stage. The great man looked tired, which is hardly surprising, but as soon as he started playing he changed instantly; attacking his guitar like a thing possessed; a highly animated aficionado of rocking R&B. He ripped into much of his own work plus a few classics one after another. There was no let up. This man has a stage presence that is like no other. He still does his trademark walk back and forth. He still has the staring wide eyes. He still plays a mean and furious guitar. He even mimicked Chuck Berry on one of his songs. It’s a glib and easy remark to make because it’s so often been said but that really was one of the best performances by anyone that I’ve ever seen. Wilko Johnson is a rare talent. A guitar genius. And it was a concert that I’ll never forget. Thank you Wilko. You made a lot of people very happy last night.

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