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Concert Review by Nick Morgan
THE BLOCKHEADS with Phil Jupitus and Martin Freeman
The 100 Club, London, December 22nd 2006
Did you know that you can become a Blockhead, well an honorary one, for only forty quids? You get a nice badge that gets you backstage (hasn’t worked for the Photographer yet but she’s still trying), a photo, and best of all a karaoke disc of instrumentals of a handful of Blockhead hits, and a lyric sheet. If you’ve ever wanted to appreciate Ian Dury’s art as a lyricist and performer then a Blockheads Karaoke night is the way to do it. We tried with Jozzer when we were at Cropredy, he being a bit of a leery geezer and a market trader at that, thought he’d have no trouble in producing a passable imitation of the late great man. Well, though he certainly rocked the caravan he couldn’t get through any of the songs word perfect, even with a crib sheet, and of course trying to achieve Dury’s vocal rhythm and timing was almost impossible.
Johnny Turnbull, Norman Watt Roy and Gilad Atzman
Below: Phil Jupitus and Micky Gallagher
I was reminded of this as I watched comedic rock wannabe and TV quiz show presenter Phil Jupitus stumble badly over the words to ‘Reasons to be cheerful’, to the accompaniment not of a karaoke disc, but rather the Blockheads themselves, on stage at the 100 Club. Phil, you may recall, made a pretty good fist of singing and playing for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band at their gigs earlier this year, and it turns out he’s performed a few times with the Blockheads during the summer, and will also play with them next year as they celebrate their 30th anniversary. But I have to say that he seemed a bit out of sorts on this occasion, and I wasn’t particularly convinced that The Office star Martin Freeman added a great deal to proceedings either. What Jupitus did do however was relieve the band of the additional burden of vocals, so their playing – or so it seemed to me, was excellent. The great Norman Watt Roy was simply a one man rhythm machine, Gilad Atzman’s saxophone playing was urgent and incisive, and Chaz Jankel and Johnny Turnbull were both on fire. A great ensemble piece, and a wonderful last gig of 2006. - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)

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