Lee Brilleaux Memorial 2013
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Lee Brilleaux Memorial Oyster Fleet Hotel 10/05/2013

Canvey Island again for the 20th Lee Brilleaux Memorial, with this one being on his birthday. As usual we had a big turnout of Dr Feelgood fans who have been watching them since the early 70’s. We missed the first band Doctors Orders, I have seen them before, a decent Feelgood covers band from Belgium I think. We managed to get in to see Pete Gage and the Canvey Cowboys though. They were probably the nearest to the true spirit of Dr Feelgood. Pete Gage was the chap who took over from Lee. He didn’t do a bad job either for the couple of years he was with them. The band consisted of Sparko on Bass and the great Lew Lewis on harmonica. Lew looked in good health which was great to see, they went through several R&B blues numbers starting of with Feelgood favourite “I can tell.” It’s a shame that Gypie Mayo wasn’t with them as normal but it was still a great set enjoyed by all of the audience.

Next on were who I think are the best live band on the smaller club scene, Eddie and the Hotrods. To me they are the connection between Punk and Rhythm and Blues. High powered, High Octane rock and roll. Going through all of the regular numbers and finishing as usual with “Gloria.” Another fantastic act with a rip roaring set, can’t wait for next month at the Garage. The Reverend David Tudor on next, I think he was a bona fide vicar doing a bit of stand up and a quite moving eulogy about Lee Brilleaux.

After the rev was another band I am going to see next month, R&B stalwarts Nine Below Zero. They played the first ever memorial show back in 1994 and I think this is the first time they have returned. Another good set was enjoyed by all, not as frenetic as the Rods or as bluesy and raw as the cowboys but still a great band, again all the usual numbers ending with “eleven plus eleven.”

The band that call themselves Dr Feelgood were on next, I know that they all played in the band at the end of Lee’s life and I saw them at the Town and Country Club with Lee still alive and as frontman, (a gig I enjoyed greatly) but I am still not sure about them. How can you have a Geordie as the lead singer for Essex’s finest. Steve Walwyn is a fine guitarist but as Rat pointed out he is more Gary Moore than Wilko Johnson. Unlike last year, I did watch all of the set but you couldn’t help but notice that the crowd seemed a bit thinner and made up mainly of our European cousins. Maurice had a good time when they were on, he stayed downstairs chatting to Lew Lewis about the Chelmsford Punk festival amongst other things.

Another year over and another good line up, we really are very lucky to see such high class acts all in one night and this is just for £25 which all goes to charity. If you have not been before and this music is your cup of tea, I do recommend that you go, but you have to be quick to get the tickets as they sell out quick. There were a lot of rumours that Wilko was going to play, he didn’t and I hope he is ok, but I am not so sure that I would like to see him whether he was in sparkling form or not, I am not a great one for sadness. Also good to see mad Bob the fluteman back. This will never happen either but I think they should change the running order and perhaps put Dr Feelgood on as the second or third act. Will I go again next year, probably as long as I have someone to go with.

Duncan, May 2013

(photo's Maurice Hyde)