HRH Xmas Party 2019 Feat. Doctor & The Medics And Pulp Friction –

O2 Academy 2, Sheffield, Friday November 29th, 2019

Welcome to the HRH Xmas party that featured two bands who entertained us for a good while in the O2 Room upstairs after some crazy drinking fun from the various crowd members.

First up are Pulp Friction - a colourful covers band with a lot of theatrical stuff going down who drew all their material from the songs in the soundtrack of films by Quentin Tarantino – hence their band name. A great deal of dancing, wigs and costume changes were to be found with props like guns at times or chairs and fake ears as a tribute to Reservoir Dogs, not to mention a nice bit of nurse and needle action as well – mmmmmm.

Their act was very well rehearsed and borderline cheesy but this was the general idea anyway – not to be taken seriously at anyone's costs – hahaha. Kinda baffling on why they went to so much trouble but it was a laugh all the same – take the rubber snake for instance – proper B-Movie brilliance right there.

When you have two great female singers who are dressed provocatively in much of their set it gets a definite thumbs up from us guys especially. It works for me to say the least and the musicianship is top notch too with the sounds coming from that lead guitarist being extremely impressive. Worth seeing.

Set List: Intro (Thunderbirds)/Perfect World/Love Shack/Terrified/You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)/No-one Loves You When You've Got No Shoes/More/Kids In America/Molecatcher/Instant Heaven/She Sells Sanctuary/Spirit In The Sky/Rebel Yell.

When it came to the headliner, Doctor & The Medics, the sound crew were having a lot of major technical issues such as in-hear monitors not working, monitors on stage left way too loud etc that was causing the band members grief and prolonging their set starting at the allotted time of about 11 pm. They bared with it though on this small stage with the Doc and backing singer, Melissa Weeks telling them what they needed an awful lot.

Since they are pro's they got through it with the Doctor exclaiming, “I don't care if my ears bleed as long as you all have a good time”. Not that anyone wanted him to harm himself of course in the process. This caused one of the guitarists to stop at the back for a lot of the set because it was too loud for him but came closer later – they must have sorted it at that point. The band have had different line-ups now and again over the years but Clive Jackson (the Doc) has always been their fronting the outfit.

 

Their set features a healthy splattering of both original material and some covers with tonight being a special occasion of them placing more Medics material in. To be honest I think their songs are just as good, if not better than the material they perform by others as well. I absolutely loved a new song they did that will appear on their new album next year – an amazing cut called 'Terrified' if I remember right that the Doc exclaimed was some very enthusiastic clapping I gave to the number – it truly deserved it though.

'Instant Heaven' is one hell of a number that really gets you emotionally as well, coming from the album of the same name as well whilst 'No-one Loves You When You've Got No Shoes' has become a major rocking, funking wacky fave of mine for it's great melody and random lyrics. And don't forget they had 4 number one's – that famous 1968 Norman Greenbaum cut was one but let's not forget the other three – since 'More' got to Number 111 in the UK Charts!

 

Of course, no gig is complete without some audience participation and tonight we were invited to shout just two words: the 'Whoah Oh' part of Kim Wilde's 'Kids In America' that the crowd had to be coaxed into and warmed up a bit to get a decent response – the people got there in the end though and the band seemed impressed after a while. At one point it was hilarious when a drunk fan with a broad Sheffield accent was trying to tell Doc that he was the 'Dogs B*ll*cks' and he was trying to comprehend was she was saying and what she meant by it.

A Christmas hat was thrown by a friendly fan they knew that Miss. Weeks wore and at one point the Doc was made to wear for a while – much to his displeasure – nothing like the audience and other band members ganging up on you and backing down to peer pressure – hahaha. Though he did inform us he had a great place or two with swimming pools at one point which was rather funny – the actual banter escape me as I am getting on a bit and the memory ain't what it was.

 

Yes, we were treated by that obligatory number that took the band to number one in the 80's that goes by the name of 'Spirit In The Sky' that went down an absolute storm in Sheffield but there was so much more on offer in this show than just a lead-up to this epic revamped song. We got an encore in a brilliant bit of Billy Idol with the Doc coming out to meet fans after the show, have pics with them and sign a few albums too.

A band I will look forward to seeing again and again as it such an emotion, joyous musical experience that is hard to put into words experiencing Doctor And The Medics until you have done – it's a spiritual moment like the song itself. The concert has a vibe and energy that oozes through everyone and makes their lives feel better in the Medic presence. Something that the Doctor really seems to love to give to his audience wherever they play. It's a visual and musical therapy for us all.

Be sure to see them if they are playing at a venue near you and if they aren't they are worth travelling to see. The female backing singing from Maria and Melissa is simply out of this world as well. In fact, I was so impressed with the show that I bought both albums that were being sold (the 1986 debut 'Laughing At the Pieces' and 2018's 'Instant Heaven' that I can't recommend enough to you all) and am also looking forward to seeing the Doctor compere the main stage at Rock And Blues 2020 in Pentrich as well that he's done for many years.

 

I cannot think of a better way to spend a Friday night than being in a room with artists of this calibre.

10/10

 

Review By Glenn Milligan

 

Photographs By Simon Dunkerley