OK, so last week I wrote about having an earworm which was all about The Stranglers and JJ Burnel’s basslines in particular. The only way I could stop it was by playing a lot of their songs and booking tickets to see them next month. Tonight I’ve just started several earworms off at once.
I went to see The Blockheads at their first gig this year. It’s fair to say it was an intimate venue, and I was by no means the oldest person in the audience! Three words to explain the earworms which I know are coming: Norman Watt-Roy. Much as I love SLF and Ali McMordie’s playing, and JJ Burnel’s basslines for The Stranglers, I’m left in total awe of Norman’s energy, fretwork, speed and accuracy. As you can see from today’s image, I struggled to get a picture where his hands weren’t a blur! I do wonder sometimes whether he regrets having written such complicated and beautiful riffs in his youth.
If you’ve not heard much of The Blockheads (with or without Ian Dury), I can recommend starting off with Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (which has been on my Bucket List of basslines to play and I can’t even get close), Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, What a Waste and Reasons to be Cheerful. Those and others are going to be rolling round in my head for quite a while I think!
As a band they obviously love what they do, and there’s a lot of interaction between the various members. There were a couple of hiccups but they dealt with them really well, laughing and joking with each other while continuing to knock out brilliant (and very familiar) tunes. As Dee said, it’s a bit surreal watching people you’d heard in your teens or even younger, some 30 or more years later, but they were brilliant!