New Victoria Theatre, London

One of the most satisfying pleasures for any music fan is to see a band for which one predicts great things fulfil its potential and rise to stardom. Kokomo, agreed, are not exactly stars, but it was nevertheless just as exciting to see this fabulous band, which I used to watch almost weekly in London’s pub-rock venues, selling out the New Victoria theatre recently.

To be fair, this wasn’t one of Kokomo’s best gigs – I’m sure they’d be the first to admit that – for so much of their act feeds off the audience which was, for the most part, rigidly rooted to its seats. To see Kokomo in their best light you still need a fairly small, warm, atmospheric venue where there’s room to dance and where stage and audience are essentially close. Then, there’s no band to touch ’em, except possibly the Average Whites.

This set consisted mainly of the band’s two excellent albums, although the highlight was the amazing version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘With Everything I Feel In Me’, when the range, power and sustain of Frank Collins’s voice was Incredible – without a doubt one of Britain’s best white vocalists.

The rhythm section of bassist Alan Spenner, the band’s Joker, and the newest face, coloured drummer supreme John Sussewell, is surely now second to none in the soul field. And it was good to see Neil Hubbard, a paragon of modesty, catch the eye with some beautifully loose and Jazzy guitar work.

ANDREW WARSHAW – SOUNDS

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