Dr. Feelgood – live | Gloucester Guildhall | 18/11/2023
Without any discernible ceremony the band clocked-on for their late shift. However, the statement of intent was reflected in their collective gaze, understated swagger and the manner they armed themselves with their instruments. Taking the stool behind his far from superfluous drum kit, Kevin Morris sported the Ukrainian flag on his T-shirt. Poignantly, we remembered there is more than one tragic conflict being fought at this moment. Throughout the night there was much to remember…
Their sense of purpose was manifest from the outset. Three songs were loaded and cocked as a barrage of relentless ashtray-full blues was triggered. No sycophantic introduction, no preamble and no need to acquiesce with unnecessary words. Dr. Feelgood were, are and will always be an unremitting live band and you would do well to remember that fact!
Singer Robert Kane works a stage in a manner the Tories would like to work the Great British public. Yet, the whole room voted for him without any questions or a need to deface the ballot paper. The mannerisms and gestures at times are so reminiscent; the way he moves his shoulders to the driven music. And the performance was as memorable as that dirty, “white suit” we all remember.
Of course, the signature songs provoked a willing audience. The opening to Roxette sent a pulse through an already lively crowd. Back in the Night fired creaking hips into involuntary spasms. Milk and Alcohol inspired some great shapes not seen since the 70s. Nevertheless the new signature tunes from Damn Right, the latest album – Mary Ann and Damn right I do – were known and were as familiar to many as escalating energy bills.
At the centre of the evening’s display of spilt-beer blues, switching between rhythm and lead guitar was the musically effervescent Gordon Russell. The solos and runs and choppy chord changes and the chugging of his fender elicited many a salutary gesture. The stalwart known as Phil Mitchell on the bass even allowed himself a smile or two as he realised the gig would linger long in the memory of those in attendance.
I have attended a number of gigs at the Hall but this is the only time I can recall feeling the floor bounce due to the inertia force of the enlivened onlookers.
Dr. Feelgood live are an act of defiance against the passing of time. The Ukrainian flag is a symbol of defiance in a world looking the other way. At least the eyes are still on Dr. Feelgood and rightly so, as tonight’s show was as polished as Brillo-padded and buffed steel.
Perhaps, Dr. Feelgood don’t take to the stage like a desperate gang of villains fleeing the Sweeney, anymore? Although, as Russell left the stage during the encore and sidled around the venue, impressively playing his guitar, we had to concur this surgery with the Doctors helped us remember Dr. Feelgood were, are and will always be a fucking phenomenal live band!
Photo: Simon Cross @ Maverick Photography
By: Swilgate Scuttler