Wilko Johnson, Robin 2, Bilston – review
The great rhythm and blues survivor Wilko Johnson was on top form as he thrilled a sold out Robin 2 with a punchy set packed with songs old and new.
The former Dr Feelgood guitarist, looking lean and mean and with his pancreatic cancer battle behind him, featured many songs from his band's Blow Your Mind album of last year, which featured his first new writing in 30 years.
Marijuana, Take It Easy and I Love the Way You Do were great additions to the set, but it was the Dr Feelgood classics that got the Black Country fans going the most with huge cheers for Going Back Home and Roxette.
Wilko's long term sidesmen Norman Watt-Roy, the former Blockheads bass player, and drummer Dylan Howe are both fantastic musicians and the trio's playing is tight and dynamic, but they are not afraid to improvise on extended versions of some songs.
The 71-year-old guitarist delivered his familiar jerky movements on stage and machine gun style delivery with his voice holding up through the set.
The band finished with more Dr Feelgood – a powerful Back in the Night and a more subtle She Does It Right, but quickly returned to encore with an extended cover of Chuck Berry's Bye Bye Johnny that sent everyone home satisfied and energised.
Earlier Squeeze singer-songwriter Glenn Tilbrook delivered a great solo support set.
His long performance showed just how good a guitarist he is as well and his warm and friendly manner won over Wilko's fans.
The affable 61-year-old musician fitted several cover versions into the set including Lou Johnson's (There's Always Something There to Remind Me), Peter Green's Oh Well and Dave Edmunds' I Hear You Knocking.
There were also plenty of new songs like Schadenfreude, Still, Little Ships and Nought to 60, but it was the Squeeze favourites that really delighted with Glenn treating the Robin 2 audience to Slap and Tickle, From the Cradle to the Grave, Tempted, Pulling Muscles from a Shell and Is This Love.
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