It’s been a while but it’s a great feeling to be back in the room with the extraordinary talent that is Chuck Prophet. A man who should need no introduction, a man who can make a Telecaster weep like a baby and sing like an angel a man who was a member of the best Americana Rock n Roll band Green On Red. A man who leads the Mission Express to steam through venues far and wide with consummate ease and make this Rock and Roll lark seem easy when we all know it’s not. But he has the gift and thankfully he keeps on giving.
Thanks to the Bristol traffic I missed the beginning of balladeer Kris Gruen (yes the son of the famous photographer) Some of the songs I did catch he played in this very same venue when supporting Jesse Malin a few years ago and you could have heard a pin drop when he closed his set with a near perfect rendition of the Johnny Thunders classic ‘Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memmory’ and the applause he received were well deserved.
Onto the main event and the one and only Chuck Prophet and The Mission Express. A show I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. Taking to the stage at 9 pm and delivering a two-hour set was an absolute joy and boy was Chuck on form delivering the banter between songs making people comfortable in the confines of the compact Fleece that was near capacity for this one during the school week it was a set mainly comprising of songs from the last couple of albums with some deep cuts being knocked out of the park by a slick band who oozed class and rocked up some of the more relaxed material on albums. ‘Bobby Fuller Died’, and the spine-tingling ‘High As Johnny Thunders’ were dispatched early doors with Prophet stalking the stage putting on a show as you’d expect.
It was a familiar set mainly lifted from ‘The Land Time Forgot’, ‘Bobby Fuller’ with the odd song from from ‘Temple Beautiful’ and beyond with some of the highlights being the superb ‘Jesus Was A Social Drinker’ and ‘In The Mausaleum’ to the more rockin’ ‘Best Shirt On’ and ‘Ford Econoline’ with some really amusing banter exchanged with the relaxed Bristol audience. For me the highlight of the set was a flawless take on ‘Nixonland’ and the awesome ‘Willie May Is Up At Bat’. It was an absolute joy to watch a performer like Prophet lay his fingers across his fretboard at such close quarters It was a performance of Americana Rock n Roll I didn’t want to end from one of the most underrated writers and players the West Coast ever gave the world and ably supported by an exceptional Mission Express and Stepanie Finch on Keyboards, vocals, and Cowbell.
As soon as the show was over and the band was being showered with the ovation they thoroughly deserved I was wondering when I can get the chance to see Prophet again and when he will make another studio album. One of the best just delivered one of the best shows I’ve seen in the venue for a long time and I saw The Hives and Jesse Malin there fairly recently Long Live Chuck Prophet and The Mission Express they play Rock and Roll.
Author: Dom Daley