Wilko Johnson – live at Koko 6th March 2013.
While waiting at Mornington Crecent tube station, I spot the first ticket tout who goes by the name of Terrence, as I’m soon to discover. He looks every inch the low life scum bag you’d expect and within minutes he’s joined by an equally disheveled colleague who hands him a £20 note as his share of a deal. Terrence though, can’t quite work his sums out and gets into a heated exchange with his colleague who derides him as a useless, thick c**t. Saved me the job of doing it.
Luckily I don’t have to wait too long for my friend to arrive and after grabbing a drink we find a space to the right of the stage near the front. It’s already filling up nicely and before long, support band Eight Rounds Rapid take to the stage wearing black suits with skinny black ties. I’d been looking forward to seeing them for a while and wasn’t disappointed. With Wilkos’ son on guitar there’s a familiar choppy guitar sound, while the vocalist reminds me of ATVs Mark Perry in places. It all adds up to a great blend of punky, New Wave R&B, with some great songs such as Steve, Britain's Got Talent and the single Channel Swimmer. Before long Koko was heaving as The Who’s Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy entertained us before Wilko took to the stage for the first of his two London dates on his farewell tour and was welcomed on stage like a conquering hero back from the crusades. From the first moment he fixed his stare, peppered the audience with imaginary bullets and strutted back and fro across the stage, the crowd responded with cheers. This was a celebration of a man whose unique guitar style was pivotal to the sound of Dr Feelgood and influential on the punk movement and for many in the audience, they’ve been with him since the Feelgoods first kicked open the doors in the back rooms of pubs up and down the country. Wilko certainly seems to be enjoying himself as Dylan Howe and Norman Watt-Roy supply the powerful rhythms to his staccato guitar chops. The man I feel sorry for is the cameraman focusing on him as he darts across the stage, Wilko doesn’t stop all night as he runs through his set, including the Feelgoods era classics Roxette, She Does It Right and Going Back Home. Alison Moyet joins him for two songs including All Through The City and she’s sounding as good as she looks. Wilko soon takes charge again and finishes with Bye Bye Johnny, with everyone waving back to him during the chorus. Wilko departs but the audience demand more and he returns for a second encore. He looks humbled at the adulation as he leaves for the last time and the audience go home happy that Wilko is still very much alive.
Eight Rounds Rapid