John Otway, Wilko Johnson , The Hamsters, CLUB RIGA 08.09.2005

I have to say I was quite looking forward to this gig it had been a long time since I had seen any of the three acts on show, so when we arrived to find that it was sold out and there was a queue outside of Club Riga my anticipation rose. We went into The Cricketers first. How Rock n Roll drinking in the same bar was John OTWAY and his guitarist Richard, who normally plays with Eddie and the Hot Rods. When we got into the Club I was surprised how much room there was as it was given as a sell out although it was as hot and sticky as a Sumo wrestlers jock strap. It didn't help that we had a drunken middle aged biker who kept bumping into us, but discretion being the better part of valour we all chose to ignore him. To those of you who haven't been to Club RIGA, it is a small cosy venue but always seems to create a good atomsphere and well worth a visit.

First on was John OTWAY who you could straight away recognised as the mad. He still does his head rolls along the stage and the jumping from the step ladder, but as now added to this a double headed guitar which seems to have no use at all. He started and ended his set well with 'Cor Baby thats really Free' at the start and 'You ain't seen nothing yet' to finish. But what came in between was mediocre crap with maybe the exception of 'Crazy Horses'. The lowest point being a song called 'Body Talk' where he stuck a number of drum pads in his pockets and then hit himself. Richard must think to himself there are easier ways of making a living, he is a good guitarist and must wonder what he is doing there. Having said all thata OTWAY was odviously enjoying himself and as always throwing himself into it with great gusto. Paul described it all quite well when he called him a novelty act, which he is but I think for me the novelty has worn off.

Next on was the main reason for going the man in black himself Wilko JOHNSON, although I have seen recent photos of him it is quite a shock when you see him he is almost bald, skinny and he is so white, he must only go out at night. He looks like a younger version of Maurice without the tan. Still as soon as he started he seemed to regain some of his old sparkle, I was told by the others that the last time they saw him on Canvey he appeared to be going through the motions. There was no sign of that he knocked out the songs in his normal aggresive fashion gliding across the stage and shooting the crowd with his machine gun. He completed a number of great songs including 'Dr Dupree' 'Don't let your Daddy know' and 'sneakin suspicion'. He has always was on stage with the man who has now taken over from Shaun MAGOWAN as being the ugliest man in rock n roll, Norman WATTROY on bass, some of the faces he pulls would win him a gurning competion. Still he certainly pounds it out and seems to be in a world of his own when playing. At the end of his set I got to speak to Wilko who was wringing wet he told me, 'It was so hot on stage, but I love playing here as it brings back memories of watching Micky JUPP here in the 60's' Norman said,'We will get better' There was no need for that as they seemed alright to me.

Last on were The Hamsters the first thing I noticed was Barry wearing an excellent shirt beige baggy button up with Sex Pistols Pretty Vacant Coach on it. Unfortunately he said it came from America so I can't get one. There set was a curates egg good in places. Barry is an excellent guitarist but sometimes gets too carried away and over does the solos they should stick to what they do best covering songs. By far and away the best part of the set was towards the end when they went from 'Rocket in your pocket' to 'Star Spangled Banner' to 'All along the watch tower' finishing with one of my favourites 'Sharp Dressed Man' I have seen them do that loads of times from the days at Sniffters, thay still walk through the crowd, but now swap instruments with each other and can carry it off. They were then joined by OTWAY when they all did his other hit 'Bunsen Burner'

the finale was all three bands on the stage doing 'Born to be Wild' each taking the lead a great end to the evening. All in all a good night and well worth going to. It odvious that youngsters don't know real music, there was too many people under the age of 35 there, which was nice as it made me feel quite young.

And to make things better no disagreements on the way home a good night with good company.

Review by Colin Egleton Sept 11th 2005