Former Green On Red man plays Birmingham gig. While MVM Scribe aghast at unisex toilets

My first visit to the Ooblick since its opening and my first impression is of a scout hut or church hall. One difference though are unisex toilets.Yep, unisex toilets!!

First up tonight is the support Jonah Tolchin from New Jersey who has just released a new album called “Clover Lane.” “I’ll be Gone,” “Mockingbird”, “Diamond Mine,” “Starry Skies” and “Motel # 9″are all aired in this short but intense set. The album is well worth checking out and a name to remember if he gets back to the UK.

A short break and out walk the Mission Express and Chuck Prophet.
Straight into “Rock and Roll Heart,” a Lou Reed cover. One of their own is next up in the shape of the gloriously titled “Countrified Inner City Technological Man” off his recently released “Night Surfer” record.

“The Truth will out (Ballad of Melissa and Remy),” “Wish Me Luck” and “Try To Tell You That I Love You” quickly follow. Prophet says he’s in a talkative mood tonight and shares and early experience of playing at a dump called the Breedon Bar around 20 years ago. Well Chuck, it’s no longer there now, it’s a block of flats and I certainly have fond memories of seeing bands there, including your previous one Green on Red.

But he’s not finished there. He talks about when “Balinese Dancer” was released and visiting the record company in London and being told by the CEO Derek Green, that the band were making waves and they were “chuffed” a bit of slang that Chuck wasn’t sure was good or bad at the time. He was told the he should keep in touch and handed over a card which turned out to be a BT phone card, how times have changed!!

A shout out from the singer of “Where’s Dave Kusworth?”, which receives some laughter as the last time Chuck played in Brum, at the Hare and Hounds, a somewhat inebriated Kusworth kept shouting up to His friend and at one time tried to get on stage.

The song “Just To See You Smile,” written with Kim Carnes is dedicated to long time partner in crime and Keyboard player Stephanie Finch.
“Doubter Out Of Jesus (All Over You) and “Freckle Song” follow before the band are introduced.

James DePreto on guitar, Kevin White on Bass, Vicente Rodriguez on Drums and Stephanie Finch on Organ and guitar. A noise goes out and it’s thought that it might be a dry ice machine starting up, only to be confirmed as a hand dryer in the toilet. Chuck seems happy that it sounds like a vintage one and not a modern Dyson blade type…. how do you follow that?

Well, by admonishing the audience filming the show – albeit with tongue in cheek – as we are told there are a number of people filming the songs and that they have to understand that this has been Chuck’s living for the last thirty years so if you are recording please include the title track of his latest release “Night Surfer” which follows.

“Automatic Blues” is next up, then the track “Temple Beautiful” about a burnt out synagogue in San Francisco where Chuck went, when he was 15 and saw eight bands. The last one being the Flamin’ Groovies. With that he gets philosophical and we are told to follow our dreams and Ozzy gets a name check as he managed to get out of a Birmingham factory, all this from song which has the chorus rhyming the lyrics with Manchester United!!

By now he’s waxing lyrical and subsequently “The Left Hand The Right Hand” is dedicated to Stephanie Finch, brothers Phil and Don Everley, Phil and Dave Alvin, William and Jim Reid, Tony Iommi even though he’s not a brother and succeeded despite losing some fingers, the brothers from Spandau Ballet and finally Dave and Ray Davies in the hope that they reunite and play Glastonbury 2015.

The final song of the set is dedicated to Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants as the San Francisco Giants are currently in the World Series final it’s called Willie Mays is up at Bat. It gets an airing after Chuck says he’s watched a lot of, but still can’t understand our sport of Cricket (the man is uneducated – Ed).

The encore consists of Stephanie singing “You Are” and an audience participated version of “You did (Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp).” To conclude a blistering show of over two hours in length.

I always think of Tom Petty when I see Chuck Prophet and would wish him a slice of Tom’s success. I’ve seen Mr Prophet over the last nearly thirty years and this guy is like Dorian Grey, he doesn’t seem to age! Long may it be so.