Live Review: The Rockits

On a chilly evening in late December 2011, I arrived in Liverpool’s Mathew Street to find it was all a bit quieter than expected. I love being in the Cavern, but at its busiest, the stench of bodies and the overwhelming humidity can become too much for even the most hardened Cavern-dweller. Thankfully, on this particular night, it was cool and fresh – a rare treat.

The reason I had chosen to have my new year a night early was The ROCKiTS. A 50′s and 60′s covers band who have absolutely blown my socks off recently and have secured a residency at The Cavern every Friday night through 2012. Now I’ve seen plenty of bands in my time – the last 20 years have been full to the brim of original 60′s and 70′s bands, Beatles Tributes and Merseybeat – but The ROCKiTS are a sharp refreshing blow right between the eyes.

All good honest Northern lads, The ROCKiTS do exactly what it says on the tin. If they’re in a room, they’ll ROCKiT. I was introduced to them a few weeks previously, when it turned out that bassist Chris, recognised me from an introduction we’d had a number of years ago at Beatle Week. I was flattered to be remembered and was introduced to the rest of the band, who all turned out to be just as friendly.

Ever since then I’d looked forward to tonight and wasn’t disappointed at the set list - it was a veritable feast of corkers, which made me shriek with delight at each new intro. I mean come on, when was the last time you heard live renditions of Brown Sugar, Itchycoo Park and Bad Moon Rising followed by The Moody Blues, The Kinks and The Who?? Three whole sets of classic after classic and I didn’t want it to end.

The ROCKiTS have no false sense of celebrity or over-inflated ego, they are normal guys doing it because they love it. They have a passion to keep this music alive and the energy that comes across on stage is completely addictive - you won’t stop smiling from the minute they walk on.

They also have Justin Crowe on keyboards, a true showman who opens up a whole range of possibilities that guitar-only bands just can’t pull off. The Zombies, Spencer Davis, The Monkees…and instrumentals like Green Onions – a track that had never been a favourite of mine until now. The atmosphere created in The Cavern by that unmistakable Hammond sound was completely surreal and even though I wasn’t born until 1971, it transported me straight back to 1962!

So by the end of the gig, I was on a complete high and a most splendid night drew to a close. But in true Liverpool style, there’s no need to wait too long for more….we’ll be doing it all again next Friday.