Dr Feelgood at Sunshine Festival – 27th August ‘22
The prescription, to look for the Sunshine signed off by Dr Feelgood. You can’t ignore medical advice no matter its source, so Sunshine it was! The festival just 10 miles down the road. Generally, not my medicine of choice but Dr Feelgood were headlining and I was keen to catch up with the band featuring a change to the line up. Guitarist Steve Walwyn had left, and as drummer Kevin Morris put it, new/old axeman. Gordon Russell had returned to the band. Much as I miss Steve (who can forget his steel clad slide guitar?), Gordon had brought together the grouping that had last played with the legendary Lee Brilleaux. Previous ‘new man’ Rob Kane, has made the lead spot his own over the 20+ years he has performed and there are few front men who can match his performance today. It’s always a challenge trying to capture him in frame for a picture! ‘Quiet man’ Phil Mitchell, as ever keeps the all essential bass rhythm thumping out, dovetailing with Kevin’s drumbeat, the two ‘senior’ Doctors on duty as ever.
After Level 42 had suffered power outages, leaving Squeeze 45 minutes late, the stage was stripped bare for Dr Feelgood. Kevin’s drums sat ready, between the guitar amp stacks. The gang of four, stepped up, and Kane sold, ‘Drives Me Wild’ to the regrouping crowd, a full on opener that pulled back those who had drifted to the vendors wagons corralled around the fringe. ‘I Can Tell’, turned the wick up to maximum burn and the whole late night set energised the dark skies that wrapped around us. Old Feelgood songs rolled out to the enthusiastic audience, Gordon had been there before and he delivered some glorious leads. Not content with that, one of the new songs was road tested, ‘Damn Right I Do’ proved a fast rolling rocker, delivered with attitude from Rob, as Gordon’s guitar wove its way around the thundering rhythm.
You can’t think of Dr Feelgood, without coming up with the punk edged, staccato punch of, ‘Roxette’, nobody today can deliver this Feelgood classic, better than Kane. Whether he’s cajoling the crowd, on his knees, or blowing the harp, Rob Kane is up front and in your face, a complete contrast to the preceding bands. Kevin is pumping the big drum hard, Phil’s bass thumps along the bottom as Gordon fingers shred tight strings.
Vying with Roxette for Feelgood notoriety has to be the intoxicating mix of ‘Milk & Alcohol’, you’ve just gotta love this Feelgood anthem. Written by Nick Lowe and one time band member Gypie Mayo, this is the big one where audience participation is compulsory as they join in those magic lines. It’s drawing to midnight and Rob had promised, they would fire out their songs, enfilading the mob pressing up to the barrier with the rock punk, blues mix that we all love. Time to take us all, ‘Down To The Doctors’, a song that signalled Brillaux’s illness that was to bring his life to an end so prematurely. Dr Feelgood,took us just into Sunday morning, as the cork was pulled from that bottle again, to have ‘One More Shot’ for the road.
It had been a brilliant closing set from this iconic, enduring band. Fronted by Kane’s age defying antics and laced with Russell’s guitar riffs, delivered on the relentless raft of rhythm from Mitchell and Morris. A buzzing festival fevered crowd evaporated Back In The Night!
Dr Feelgood are soon to release an all new album recorded ‘live’ over a 4 day period, written by Gordon with collaboration from Rob Kane, two of which featured tonight and soundeding pretty good. With over 50 years on the road, a new prescription should keep the wheels rolling. Meanwhile, they gig on relentlessly across the UK and Europe,
By: Graham Munn