Tue 20 Feb 2024
Let’s get this straight from the start. It takes a brave man to appear on an Ipswich stage wearing a green suit and yellow shoes but Kevin Rowland wasn’t going to stop a bit of football rivalry get in the way of his quirky dress sense.
For well over 40 years the Wolverhampton-born singer and songwriter has ploughed his own musical furrow with varying degrees of success. The highs of number one singles and best selling albums are in stark contrast to projects that have gone under the radar of all but his most ardent followers.
The latest version of the band formerly known as Dexys Midnight Runners have produced The Feminine Divine. It’s Rowland at his heart- wrenching best and it was performed from start to finish in what was the man’s first ever appearance in Suffolk’s county town.
We were promised the hits in the second half of the concert. Eventually we got the three big ones – Geno, Come On Eileen and Jackie Wilson Said – but not until we’d been treated to half an hour of lesser known songs including Plan B and Old.
Rowland doesn’t do things by the book and thank goodness for that. He could have quite easily but no doubt unhappily done all the other hits but that would have been playing the industry game.
It was pleasing for us Ipswich folk to see the face of soul singer Geno Washington projected onto the big screen as the band launched into the classic song named after him. The former RAF Bentwaters airman cut his teeth in the pubs and clubs of Ipswich in the sixties before his immortalisation in 1980.
That classic was followed by the aforementioned Jackie Wilson Said which came complete with a picture of darts star Jocky Wilson screened behind the band. It was a throw back to when Top Of The Pops got their Wilsons confused, much to the amusement of anyone who knew anything about music and darts.
The show closed with the Irish song Carrickfergus. Rowland sang that beautifully. It was the perfect end to a remarkable concert. Pity the place wasn’t packed. It certainly should have been.