Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Blockheads hit the high notes

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

The Blockheads perform in Belfast tonight

In the deserts of Sudan and the gardens of Japan. From Milan to Yucatan, Ian Dury lives on. The Blockheads frontman may be wielding his Rhythm Stick in a celestial Billericay - but the band keeps his name alive here.

One of the big draws at this year's festival is tonight's show by The Blockheads, whose latest album, Same Horse, Different Jockey, is keeping the group's loyal fanbase satisfied. The album cover, designed by Sarah Lucas, has raised a few eyebrows with its picture of a milk bottle and two gingernuts illustrating the same bawdy humour Dury used in his lyrics. The more things change, the more they stay the same...

The Blockheads formed way back in 1977 to promote Dury's album New Boots And Panties on the first Stiff Records tour of the UK. They're fronted by Derek 'The Draw' Hussey, who was Ian's best friend and is now the band's vocalist and wordsmith. He writes the songs along with Chaz Jankel, while Norman Watt-Roy, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher still remain from the original band.

Keyboard player Mick says it was hard for the band to grab their own identity after Ian's death in 2000, but they've managed to make their own mark on the music scene, with a sound that combines soul, fun, rock, jazz and American Blues.

These legendary Brit-funkers will be playing all the old favourites and new material. As Derek will probably say at the start of the gig: "We are the Blockheads and we sound like this..."

They're not the only irreverent stage acts, either, as they will be followed tomorrow night by Irish liggers The Rubberbandits, who'll be giving two performances of their Continental Fistfight. The Bandits have bombed up from Limerick, complete with plastic bag masks, to give us a taste of their new musical which features "dazzling new songs, great big hits and at least one puppet".

The hip-hop duo smashed their way to stardom via their YouTube hit Horse Outside. Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome, along with their sidekick Willie O'DJ, have left audiences open-mouthed at their performances at Electric Picnic and Oxygen. Expect a night of foul-mouthed, frenetic songs and deeply offensive humour. It'll be a blast.

* The Blockheads play the Festival Marquee tonight at 8pm. The Rubberbandits play the Black Box tomorrow at 7pm

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