Wilko Johnson | Barbican | York | 22 April 2017
Reviewed for The Northern Echo
That Wilko of course is still with us at all, let alone performing incendiary sets like he did at York Barbican is little short of a miracle given his 2013 diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer, but his remarkable recovery has given him new vigour.
The former Dr Feelgood member - and Game of Thrones star - looked fit and well as he prowled the stage, jerking away from the mic during instrumental breaks, eyes glaring and mouth agape in astonishment, as he skittered back and forth in his manic, trademark manner.
His guitar style of course, which enables him to play both rhythm and lead at the same time means he often does the job of two men, his black and red Telecaster working overtime. Bass player and former Blockhead, Norman Watt-Roy cavorted at his side displaying a remarkable range of shapes and faces as he wrestled his instrument, while the comparatively youthful drummer Dylan Howe powered the songs along in his no-nonsense style.
Opening with All Right and If You Want Me, You’ve Got Me, the tempo never let up. Dr Dupree led into Going Back Home then to Roxette. There was also a cover of Dylan’s Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? and an affectionate nod to the late Chuck Berry with the final number Bye Bye Johnny.
It was vintage Wilko, and proof, if it was needed, of why he is a national treasure. A special mention too for Mollie Marriott - daughter of the legendary Steve Marriott – who provided a fine opening set. She’s got plenty of stage presence and a great voice. Look out for her new album in September.
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