Wilko Johnson with special guest Mollie Marriott performing at Rock City Nottingham on Friday 21st April 2017

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Wilko Johnson must be pinching himself every time he sets foot on to a stage to perform not only his own songs but also those of the legendary Dr Feelgood. The reason for that is in 2012 he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer but a doctor in the audience at one of his concerts, realised that his prognosis was not as dire as first thought, and the rest his history.

Supporting him last night at Rock City was Mollie Marriott, the daughter of the late great Steve Marriott of Small Faces and Humble Pie fame. With her tight five piece backing band she delivered a set from which songs from her album Truth Is A Wolf were given an airing.

Along with some classic rock tracks, she showcased some gentler ballads such as A Million Miles and the very funky title track from her album. Saving the best for last with single Control, she is definitely one to watch out for and will no doubt be headlining her own tour very soon.

Making an entrance on to the stage before the houselights had gone down, Wilko Johnson along with The Blockheads’ Norman Watt-Roy on guitar and Dylan Howe on drums, burst into opener All Right from his 1980s Ice On The Motorway album, and the bar was set.

With his bug eyes and jerking head reminiscent from his Dr Feelgood days, his vocals underline why he wasn’t the singer in the band, but what he did show that as a guitarist, he was simply magnetic. You cannot take your eyes off him with his terrifying forward stare and his machine gun struts as he delivered the likes of the brilliant Roxette.

Giving the audience his trademark evil stare with his piercing eyes his set list contained many of Dr Feelgood songs including fans favourites Sneakin’ Suspicion, and Back In The Night. Going Back Home was propelled along by Howe’s robust drumming with Watt-Roy showing off his subliminal bass guitar skills.

Dr Feelgood’s favourite She Does It Right brought the main set to a close with the crowd lapping up the chance to shuffle their feet, but it was the choice of encore that delighted this crowd as the customary Bye Bye Johnny got everybody dancing.

What Wilko’s voice may lack in star quality, he makes up for in character and there is no doubting that he has plenty of that. Given that this is a man who did not think that he would see 2013, it was great to see him back, not just strutting his stuff but entertaining, and that has to make him a hero too many.