Dr Feelgood – The Gov Thursday 3 May 2018.
Words Geoff Jenke
While the younger generation were down the road watching The Stereophonics, mum and dad were at the Gov to see Dr Feelgood.
The band formed in Essex, England, 1971 and were kings among the British Pub Rock scene of the 1970’s with their exciting raw, uncompromising rhythm and blues sound. Their third album, Stupidity, went number one in the UK on the first week of it’s release, the first live album to do so. Interestingly, at this stage in their career, no single they had released had even charted.
They enjoyed some global success with singles such as Roxette, Back in the Night and Down at the Doctors. With legendary vocalist Lee Brilleaux and guitarist Wilco Johnson, the Doctors were a hard playing, hard drinking band. Unfortunately, Lee Brilleaux is no longer with us, having passed away in 1994 and Wilco Johnson left way back in 1977 although he is still touring solo to this day.
The line up playing tonight at The Gov does not have any original members of the band, however drummer Kevin Morris and lead guitarist Steve Walwyn both played when Lee Brilleaux was still singing for the band in the late 80’s. Current singer Robert Crane has been with the band since 1999. Basically, the band is a Dr Feelgood cover band, albeit a very good cover band.
The band gave us a run through of their biggest songs with a few surprises thrown in. Stupidity opened the evening with I can Tell quickly following. There was little banter all night with the music doing the talking. 17 songs in just over an hour tells the story. It was the singles that got the biggest reception, Baby Jane, All Through the City, Roxette, Milk and Honey and Down at The Doctors, all rolled out in quick succession.
Shotgun Blues gave the band members a chance to strut their stuff, with an extended brilliant blues jam in the middle. This was the bands first show in Australia for this tour and it was evident they were here for a good time.
The encore had guitarist Steve Walwyn solo on stage, playing a slow burning blues riff while telling the audience he will remember this night for the rest of his life. It was his first ever gig in Australia. Drummer Kevin Morris joined Steve laying down a slow but solid beat until bass player Phil Mitchell joined and then things got loud.
See You Later Alligator followed and singer Robert Kane had a huge smile all over his face. The finale was Boney Maroney/Tequila with the audience screaming out the word Tequila at the appropriate times.
While the band were tight and the night enjoyable, I had unfortunately seen the original Dr Feelgood back in the 70’s and they were far more exciting. However, on the plus side, this band is still putting out there, Dr Feelgood’s great heritage, playing to people who were not born when the original band were around. Good on them.
Support from Dave Blight and Mick Kidd was exceptional. Playing the blues, both originals and covers, had the audience on side right from the beginning. Great version of Crossroads was played in the middle of the set and considering it was only a guitar and harmonica made it even more astonishing. If you get a chance, check them out.