Wales, Llangollen Fringe Festival
6 July 2012ÃÂ
Wilko Johnson performs a superb set of solo and Dr Feelgood classics at this year’s Llangollen Fringe Festival.ÃÂ
Llangollen Fringe is established as one of the best music and arts festivals on the circuit and this year is no exception, offering a wide range of literature, spoken word and live music.
The appearance of Wilko Johnson was hotly anticipated by a sell out audience at Llangollen Town Hall, an atmospheric yet intimate venue right at the heart of this small North Wales town that is so culturally vibrant.
Torrential rain earlier in the day had done nothing to dampen the expectations of this knowledgeable crowd and they would not be disappointed as their hero took the stage to rapturous applause.
Pausing only to adjust his guitar with its famous spiral red lead, which has the desired effect of making Wilko look like he’s on a spring, he launched straight in to a set that comprised both Dr Feelgood and solo classics.
Cheers rose from the crowd as he performed his first of many shimmies and struts across the stage before launching into his trademark use of the guitar to imitate a machine gun. ”ËIf You Want Me You’ve Got Me’, ”ËThe More I Give’ and ”ËBarbed Wire Blues’ are followed by the classic ”ËRoxette’ and ”ËSneakin’ Suspicion’.
Standing right by the stage we are fortunate to see close up Wilko’s mastery of the guitar as he blasts out both lead and rhythm riffs without using a plectrum. With the tightest of rhythm sections, Wilko only needs to play the opening bars of a song before the others come in with well-honed, high class R and B.
Watching Norman Watt-Roy would be worth the admission money alone as he seems to be waging a constant war to dominate the animal bass in his clutches and working up an honest sweat in the process. What a performer he is and we are rewarded later in the set with a mind-blowing bass solo followed by a fine drum break.
The set builds to a climax with ”ËDon’t Let Your Daddy Know’, ”ËBack in the Night’ and of course ”ËShe Does it Right’. Wilko returned to reward us with an extended encore of’ ”ËBye Bye Johnny’ before leaving the stage for the final time having proved again what we all knew already, that there is simply no substitute for pure talent.
Wilko recently described his live performances as ”Ëthree chords, twelve bars and lots of whizzing about’, but those who spilled out onto the wet streets of Llangollen know for sure that the words ”Ëunparalleled’, ”Ëlegendary’ and ”Ëunique’ are an equally suitable description of Wilko Johnson and his special talent.
Wilko is on tour in the autumn; make sure you catch him if you can. For further info, please visit his website.
All words and image by Dave Jennings. You can read more from Dave on LTW here.