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A DVD review - The Feelgoods do it right,
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This review is from: All Through The City (With Wilko 1974-1977) (Includes Bonus DVD) (Audio CD)
This fantastic anthology has much going for it,from a complete overview of the recorded Wilko years, to a stunning DVD that shows beyond doubt that the Feelgoods kept the rock and roll flame alive in the grim mid seventies before the advent of punk and new wave in 1976. And,as the fantastic DVD shows the Feelgoods had menace,attitude, and a rock and roll heart hardened by years of touring the clubs,pubs, and festivals of Britain.
This review will leave the music to others [ and , besides the music speaks for itself], and concentrate on the DVD, purely because there are some real gems to be found in its hour plus length, and it serves to tantilise the what might have been if Wilko hadn't jumped ship in 1977 [ my personal feeling is that they would finally have broken the US, and sold millions with just a couple of small pushes]. Still,there is this brilliant live anthology to enjoy so here we go.
The Geordie Scene - Feb 1975
This set of seven numbers has the Feelgoods in blistering form in front of a shy, and slightly bemused audience of Geordie teenagers [ who were probably really waiting for the Bay City Rollers]. The real joy is watching Wilkos manic stage craft as he runs about the stage like a man possessed in "She Does it Right", whilst Lee Brilleaux, John B Sparks, and The Big Figure just add to the bands overall menace. With great versions of Boom Boom, Roxette, and Riot in Cell Block #9, this early TV appearance shows a band who know exactly what they are doing and where they are heading.
Old Grey Whistle Test - March 1975
A slightly more subdued set from the band as they blaze through "Keep it out of Sight", "Roxette", and "She does it Right", but the sound is great, and theres a great mini showcase for The Big Figure in the first number. Maybe it was the BBC's resources, or lack of an audience at the show that gives this 3 song set more subtlety. Thats not distracting from the band, its just that the genuine live stuff is so much better.
45 With Kid Jenson
Regretably only Back in the Night, but again the band look great.The sound is also so clear I suspect this version may be mimed or supported by a backing track.
Live at the Kursaal Southend - November 1975
Although already released on DVD [ with a great audio cd to boot], this is one of the best live shows I have ever watched on DVD. Its grainy quality just adds to the down and dirty vibe of the band, as they lay waste to an adoring home town crowd. This is live British rock and roll at its finest, and by the time of Im a Hog For You Baby [ with Wilkos most manic performance running across the stage like his life depends on it,to Brilleaux's white suit looking like its been lived in for months], this incarnation of Dr Feelgood show just why their legacy remains untainted. Simply put, this is brilliant stuff.
Kuussrock Finland - July 1975
Two songs " She Does it Right" and " Roxettte" filmed close to the stage, means that you see every bead of sweat, every sneer as the band thrill,and bemuse an enthusiastic Scandinavian audience.
However,what really makes this set is an unintentially great interview, where the band politely answer a series of banal questions from a slightly awestruck interviewer.The band do their very best to appear interested as the hapless interviewer struggles to make his points, whilst the band drink their beers and try to make the discussion work.
Overall the material on this DVD is a real testament to the early Dr Feelgood, and serves to enhance their reputation even more in the wake of Oil City Confidential. The tragedy is that Lee Brilleaux didnt live to see his band take their rightful place in British music history.
EMI have recently reissued this set for a paltry £16.99.Although now housed in a conventional thick 4 cd box, there really is no excuse not to buy this set if you were previously sitting on the fence.Like much great music, the whole set just gets better with every listen!!