Wilko Johnson @ London Islington Academy, London

Friday 30 September 2011, Review & Photography by Dj Rex

Having been a fan of this man since I was very young, (yes he has been around that long) I was excited to be reviewing and doing pics, Wilko Johnson is one of the original unsung heroes, kicking his career off by forming part of the essential sound behind 70s era of hard blues legend Dr Feelgood, leaving Dr Feelgood in 1977, soon after this he formed the Solid Senders, who were signed to Virgin records in 1978.In 1980 he went on to team up with Ian Dury’s band the Blockheads, then came the Wilko Johnson band, he formed this with Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy and Drummer Salvatore Ramundo, later being replaced by Steve Monti who went on to team up with Curve and Jesus and the Mary Chain.

Wilko and his creations have been an influence on Goth, Rock, Blues and Punk.
So tonight’s show …. I wasn’t disappointed, watching from the photo pit, I had great clear view of Wilko giving a performance as good as any in his history, the man cannot stand still on stage, those taking photos were chasing him around, trying to catch those crazy moments with the amazing facial expressions he pulls.

Wilko Johnson
Wilko Johnson

The show wasn’t the only thing that was pure class, the music is just incredible, only a 3 piece, but this band has a sound to rival some of the hardest and biggest bands around, Wilko himself sounds as though he’s playing 2 guitars at once while he picks at the lead and strums the rhythm at the same time, interlaced with his signature moments, making his guitar sound like a machine gun and shooting the crowd.

Wilko Johnson & Norman Watt-Roy
Wilko Johnson & Norman Watt-Roy

But, it’s not just Wilko on stage that night that stole the show, Norman Watt-Roy on bass, a legend of a man who seems so far into what he’s playing it’s as though nothing else exists around him, seamless notes and perfect sound, a true genius and a legend from a band that influenced much of what we know today.

Do you know just how much of an influence Norman has been?? No? Well, I think you should!
Norman Watt-Roy, one time bassist for Ian Dury and the Blockheads, how good is the bass line on Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick? He also played on the song “Always Find me in the Kitchen at Parties, (one people love to hate), he played the bass for Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Relax, he even played on the Clash’s Sandanista, a track that caused a lot of the ska and punk crossover.
Norman is another that can be described as un-sung hero.

On the drums he were treated to Dylan Howe, also ex of the Blockheads, but Ian Dury is not the only band Dylan can claim, he’s performed with the likes of Nick Cave, Damon Albarn, Portishead, Ray Davis, David Gilmour, Paul McCartney, Mick Jones and Courtney Pine. The press has acclaimed some of the work Dylan has produced in the world of jazz.

Wilko Johnson
Wilko Johnson

I’m not going to dribble on about this show, I’m aware I could sound like a bit of a fan boy, so I shall leave you with this thought, go check this band out while you can, make sure you see this collection of un sung heroes. Wilko, Norman and Dylan have had a huge influence on the world we know today and should be kept in the history books along side the all time greats!

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