The Blockheads wow the Regent

Ipswich funk fans were treated to a performance by The Blockheads this week.

The Blockheads

At the Ipswich Regent

Thursday

WHEN I was around16 years old, living at home with my parents and not earning any money, Essex University held two gigs within a week.


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Siouxie and the Banshees one week, Ian Dury and the Blockheads the next.

I only had enough money to go and see one of the bands so I chose Siouxie Sue and her dustbin bag wearing followers. Only 28 years later did I know if I had made the right decision.

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The Blockheads are towards the end of their 30th anniversary tour and, as with previous years, have teamed up with lifetime fan and comedian Phill Jupitus on 'Dury Duty' as frontman.

They arrived at The Regent to bring their own brand of Essex funk, set to Dury's punk poetry, to an audience that has obviously missed the band greatly.

It's amazing to think that after all the band have been through it still includes original Blockheads Mick Gallagher on keyboards, John Turnbull on lead guitar, fabulous bassist Norman Watt-Roy, and Chas Jankel, co-writer of many of the hits, also on guitar.

And if there is a tighter, funkier band touring today then I don't know about them.

During the set a slimmed-down Jupitus, who describes himself as “the funky fat man that can't dance”, shared the vocal work with Derek The Draw. Derek would normally front the band these days and together they led the crowd through the bands best loved tracks.

Starting the evening with Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll, I Wanna Be Straight and What a Waste, it was like they had never been away.

Between tracks the crowd were kept entertained by the wit of Jupitis who said that he felt like the boy who had found the golden ticket, and you could see that he really felt it was an honour to sing with the band.

After a couple of other tracks that included In Betweenies came the moment the audience had been waiting for - The Blockheads would present the whole of their famous first album New Boots And Panties.

Suddenly the crowd spilled into the space in front of the stage and the partying started in earnest. The band ripped through number after number from Wake Up and Sweet Gene Vincent to Abracadabra.

The crowd was singing and dancing along and the pace was frantic.

All too soon it was over, the last strains of Blackmail Man wailing to a climax.

There had to be an encore and The Blockheads duly obliged starting with their song about the Clever So and So's.

It then led into their biggest commercial success. For this number Jupitus took 20 minutes to introduce every member of the band to the audience, each getting a massive ovation and a little solo, this all set to the irresistible backdrop of 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' and including Gilad Atzmon soloing two Saxaphones at once. Lastly the band finished with their own anthem to Ada. Blockheads fans will know the one I mean.

Then it was over, two hours had just disappeared. But the band did promise to come back next year and I for one will be there.

Oh and by the way, 28 years ago, big mistake.

MARK WESTALL

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