The Heavy, The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Chris Difford onstage at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Paul Windsor

REVIEW: Chris Difford at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth

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Support act The Computers are a runaway rock’n’roll train. Their retro garage rock may not be the future of music, but it makes for some fine Tuesday night salvation.

And in the righteously sweary lead singer Alex Kershaw, they have a diminutive lover-man who can knock 99 per cent of other frontmen into a cocked hat.

Fortunately for The Heavy, they have Kelvin Swaby, a frontman in that other one per cent.

After the fierce testifying of The Computers, The Heavy’s opening salvo of Shortchange Hero and Sixteen seems a bit muted, but by the time they get to Curse Me Good, and some audience participation in the swaggering Big Bad Wolf, Swaby has become a dynamo, working the crowd like a seasoned pro.

The Bath four-piece (plus live additions of keyboards and brass section) are a curious hybrid, veering from soul to rock, via a touch of reggae, but are never less than utterly engaging.

Three albums and six years in, they’re super-tight as a band, with Spencer Page and Chris Ellul’s rhythm section laying down the funky grooves, while guitarist Dan Taylor weaves his riffs over the top.

They finished with their best-known song How You Like Me Now? (courtesy of a TV ad and numerous soundtrack appearances) and the answer would have to be: Very well, thank you.