Review: Hokie Joint – Garston Royal British Legion – 10 June 2011
Posted on: Monday, Jun 20, 2011
Having feasted royally on individual acoustic artistes and a range of bands specialising in Chicago, Texas and funky-edged blues styles, on this occasion the Liverpool audience was introduced to the unique flavours of the Hokie Joint cuisine. Fronted by their hypnotic singer, Jojo Burgess, the band from Colchester delivered a rootsy, largely homemade banquet to suit a variety of palates, starting with the steady rocking “Apologise” and the driving beat of “Force Of Habit”, followed by the slow and bluesy “This Body Of Mine”, which saw Joel Fisk switch to slide guitar.
The next course on the menu was a rare, non-original dish, a fine version of Charley Patton’s “Tom Rushen Blues”, which featured a wonderful, full-toned harp solo from Giles King as he went on walkabout among the audience, followed by a splendid guitar solo from Fisk while the excellent rhythm section of drummer Stephen Cutmore and bass guitarist Fergie Fulton played a blinder. In his introduction to that number, Jojo confessed that his only other visit to Liverpool had resulted in his rejection by ‘The Cliff Richard School of Music’, as he described the Paul McCartney-inspired Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts.
“The Music Starts To Play” had a distinctly Eastern European flavour and a taste of Bo Diddley was offered in the shape of “Bald Dog” before the first set was closed with the mournful “The Crying Song”, which allowed King and Fisk another opportunity to demonstrate their considerable flare.
The second set opened sedately with “Watch What We Eat”, which made way for the catchy and recently penned “Dead Man’s Chest”. “Jackie Boy”, complete with another dose of Eastern European magic from Giles King, then tempted the dancers onto the dance floor where they stayed to enjoy a flight of fancy with the soaring “Aeroplane” and a marvellously tight and vibrant rendition of “Ghost”. Finally, “The Way It Goes . . . Sometimes” completed the superb second session after “Franklin”, another hard-driven number, had benefitted from a terrific slide guitar solo from Joel Fisk.
Hokie Joint boasts four top class musicians who provide a terrific platform for the enigmatic Jojo Burgess to shine with his gravel-laden vocals and engagingly dead-pan banter. Their musical style incorporates elements of The Rolling Stones, The Hoax and even Madness in addition to the aforementioned Eastern European dimension, all of which combines to produce a mesmerising performance. Rejected in Liverpool? Eat your heart out, Cliff Richard.