Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express at Islington Assembly Hall
Chuck Prophet, ex-frontman of 1980s cult-Americana heroes Green on Red, arrives in north London with his latest band the Mission Express in tow. Much of his solo material has been of the wistful, singer-songwriter type, but tonight is a full-on rockin’ out evening.
Some tracks are Springsteen-esque, but the playing is more reminiscent of the early 1970s southern rock of Lynard Skynard and the Allman Brothers. This all goes down very well with the grey-haired audience, the vast majority of whom are male and unlikely to see the earlier side of 50 again.
A native of San Francisco, the city acts as a muse for Prophet, particularly on the 2012 album Temple Beautiful, much of which is played here. Standout tracks are the title one, Castro Halloween, The Left Hand and the Right Hand and White Night, Big City (dedicated to Harvey Milk, the assassinated gay San Franciscan politician).
His keyboardist and wife, Stephanie Finch, picks up an acoustic guitar and joins him for a couple of songs, the second being a blistering version of David Bowie’s Sorrow, which, as ever, ends up with a 90-second guitar solo. In truth, the lengthy jams with his rhythm guitarist James DePrato are done to death, but when you’re as good as Prophet is, some indulgence is granted. There are certainly no complaints from the audience, and an elongated encore version of Chuck Berry’s Tulane is met with much whooping and cheering. Prophet has undoubtedly developed his playing agility and subtlety of old, there are few greater guitar warriors on our small planet.
Photos: Bartek Odias
For further information and future events visit Chuck Prophet’s website here.
Watch the video for You Did here: