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.

Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice