February 17 @ The Cockpit
EDDY Thompson’s career has not been of the whiz-bang variety often associated with the offspring of famous parents. Rather, he has, over the course of five albums, slowly emerged from the shadow of his father, Richard, and mother, Linda, both heroes of British folk music.
His latest long-player, Bella, shows a talent with a voracious appetite for American rock ’n’ roll – flavoured with good old English lyrical introspection. There is humour there too, often self-effacing, sometimes black. The result is something like Roy Orbison or Chris Isaak crossed with Morrissey.
On stage, it’s supplemented with some entertaining repartee. After the introductory number tonight, he announced his (largely American) backing band would be flying home tomorrow. “This is our farewell night,” he deadpanned. “We are all giving up music after tomorrow.”
For the four-piece’s UK goodbye we were promised new songs and “all the old classics...well, the regional radio hits”; these were duly delivered over the course of an hour and a half, with a scintillating solo spot – in which he ran through Don’t Know What I Was Thinking, What’s This?!, and Turning the Gun on Myself – being a particular highlight.
The Radio 2 favourite Looking For a Girl got the audience shuffling its feet; Thompson’s dedication of the wistful ballad Home to his mother brought a collective “ahh” from the female members of the crowd.
The surprise smash though was a brilliant cover version of Abba’s Super Trouper, complete with lovely layered four-part harmonies, which ran into a jokey, falsetto-straining rendition of the 60s doo-wop classic The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
Not even In My Arms, Thompson’s best-known tune and the show’s closing number, could top that.