The Blow Monkeys. Farncombe. Surrey Advertiser review *****

The Blow Monkeys rolled back the years with a remarkable show, full of energy, commitment and hope. This was an exhilarating performance encompassing hits and lesser known material.

The charismatic Robert Howard, known as “Dr. Robert” fronts the band with a majestic stage presence, strong vocals and mesmeric funky guitar playing. The wonderful bass playing of MickAnker propels the band with Crispin Taylor on drums and Neville Henry on sax/keys completing the line-up.

The Blow Monkeys’ brand soul-infused pop with cutting lyrics hit the charts in the eighties alongside likeminded bands as Swing out Sister and the Style Council. Howard shows the influences that moulded his career, having collaborated with musicians including Paul Weller and his musical idol Curtis Mayfield.

The bluesy Come On Down began the set, then the groove Wings Of The Morning and the funk of Choice. A standout track was Wild River with Henry squeezing out gorgeous keyboard harmonies and justifying Howard’s statement “The music will get you there, it gives you a sense of purposefulness.”

A tremendous Digging Your Scene saw the luscious strings of the recording replaced by the jagged guitar of Howard. It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way hit the spot.

Howard was apprehensive about playing a church, he needn’t have been as everyone was up and dancing well before the encore of You Don’t Own Me, which the band contributed to the movie Dirty Dancing, and they ended with a storming version of Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly.

On several occasions Howard thanked the audience and said “We’ll be back.” Let’s hope he is as good as his word as next time you’d better get your ticket early.