ROCK / Shaky rattles and rock's rollin' again

I HAVE seen the future of rock'n'roll and his name is Shakin' Stevens. Christened Michael Barrett, Shaky was born in South Wales at around the same time as the National Health Service, and he looks in much better shape. On stage at the Dominion, he straddles the generation gap like a Brylcreemed colossus. His commercial heyday may have passed - in the Eighties he spent longer in the British singles charts than any other performer - but his uniquely benign brand of showmanship still delights young and old, and Shaky flags still flutter proudly in the air conditioning.

His band are excellent - a much tougher rockabilly experience than might be expected. The guitarist has that real, deep Scotty Moore twang, and the keyboard player has a top hand that just won't quit. Lean and serene at the centre of it all, Shaky occasionally demonstrates that lightning flash of the arms beloved of Elvis impersonators, but he brings to it a grace that is all his own. The set is largely composed of established favourites from his recent evocatively titled compilation album Shaky - The Epic Years (Epic), with the odd extra Ricky Nelson number thrown in.

It's a rare sight, so many people genuinely enjoying themselves. The true loyalists have a different, absurdly complicated hand routine for every song. This is a practical means of participation as well as a comfy one, since the bomber-jacketed bully boys of security stamp down hard on anyone endeavouring to stand up and dance. Until, that is, Shaky gives the signal - by launching into one of his lesser-known standards, 'Turning Away' - at which point the crowd rises as one to rush the stage. Engulfed by a tidal wave of grans, kids, mums and dads, the bouncers are powerless to resist. Shaky goes off and comes back, and everyone dances into the night. Respect, as the saying goes, due.

Another Welsh wonder returns at the Royal Albert Hall, but the atmosphere there is not so warm. Shirley Bassey's audience is a slightly uneasy mix of a loyal and lively gay constituency and an uptight Rotary-Club-dinner crowd. The tension is not diminished by the opening stand- up comic, whose ill-considered Chinese takeaway routine prompts someone to give voice to their sense of offence, and so splits the crowd down the middle, putting paid to any nascent sense of community.

This poses no problem for Shirley, who is no stranger to feelings of alienation. The tight- as-a-drum quality of her voice and the pent-up, hand-twirling drama of her interpretations have always reflected a sense of being an outsider. When fans bring her flowers between songs, it feels as if she's earned them. She begins with 'Goldfinger', and goes on from there. It's not just strength through kitsch. Her familiarity with the material does not seem to diminish the passion she brings to it, particularly towards the end of each song. There might be something of the riding- school pony breaking into a trot at the sight of the stables about this, were she not moving at a constant gallop.

As a voice, Shirley Bassey only really has one gear, but what a gear it is] Though, strangely, it is now, with soft-rock landmarks such as George Harrison's 'Something' or Foreigner's 'I Wanna Know What Love Is', that she scales the greatest heights of emotion, rather than with traditional show-stoppers such as 'Without You' or 'I Who Have Nothing'. Her more playful, uptempo numbers are the most entertaining. During 'Kiss Me Honey Honey' she summons admirers from the front row with an imperious wiggle of the hips, and company directors turn Olympic sprinter in the race for her lips. She also fakes a magnificent tantrum with her orchestra leader, throwing an unfavoured piece of music to the floor with a curt 'That's a phase of my life I've left behind.'

Surprisingly, there is not one costume change - unless you count the unboxing of a huge and suspiciously real-looking fur cape at the end. Perhaps Shirley feels that various pop whippersnappers have stolen her thunder in this respect. She may well be right, but she can rest assured that none of them will ever match her for star quality.

Patrons of the last night of the Acid Jazz label's 'Funky Nation' tour at Camden's Jazz Cafe are invited to 'show their groove allegiance'. They do this by wearing those panelled leather jackets that always look too small, and by cultivating intricate sideburns. Corduroy, the first of the night's two bands, are much the better. Their music is reminiscent of the chase accompaniments from The Rockford Files, and they play it really well. Even the revelation that half of them used to be in heinous fashion-criminals Boys Wonder cannot dim their allure. The headliners, Mother Earth, mostly look like Grateful Dead roadies. They play a similar blend of guitar and Hammond organ with considerable aplomb, but give too much prominence to a singer who isn't, currently at least, quite up to the job.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing