The Blockheads

Corn Exchange Dorchester

BACK In the Victorian era of the late 1970s, the song Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll by Ian Dury and the Blockheads was banned by the BBC for, well, you can probably guess…

Fast forward several decades and the cover of the latest Blockheads album, 2014’s Same Horse Different Jockey, has been banned by Amazon for its apparent NSFW arrangement of a pint of milk and two biscuits.

As Dury himself might have grumbled in his Essex estuary growl: “It’s not like me to be suggestive, with a couple of chocolate digestives.”

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same and one constant is The Blockheads’ ability to tear the roof of a venue, which they certainly did at a packed and rather sweaty Corn Exchange.

Never has an opening song been more inappropriately named as the seven-piece outfit kicked off with Look The Other Way from SHDJ, followed by the more familiar If I Was With A Woman.

Frontman Derek Hussey, bellowing from behind a walrus-esque moustache with the swagger of a fairground showman, more than fills the boots of the sorely missed Dury, mastering the great man’s lyrical twists and adding some of his own, notably at the end of a warmly received Billericay Dickie: “I’m from Essex, in case you couldn’t tell…. Actually, I’m from Fulham, right by the Thames,” he informed us.

As with many bands from back in the day, it’s the hits the punters want and it’s the hits the punters get with What A Waste, Wake Up, Reasons to be Cheerful, Sex and Drugs, an epic take on Clever Trevor and, a personal favourite, a marvellous march through Sweet Gene Vincent, Dury’s paean to his disabled teenage idol.

Original Blockheads Chaz Jankel (guitar/keys) and Micky Gallagher (keys) more than prove they’ve still got the chops and hats off to drummer John Roberts, guitar whiz Nathan King (the brother of Level 42's Mark), one-man brass section Gilad Altzmon with extra-special high-fives to bass monster Yaron Stavi who made the sadly absent Norman Watt-Roy’s exhaustive runs on Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick look positively effortless.

A tight band? I’m no entomologist but I’ve seen looser gnats’ chuffs.

And three cheers to the Dorchester Arts Centre committee for attracting a band of this stature. I think we’re all agreed: Let’s have some more.