The Hertford Corn Exchange had the perfect prescription for a good night out, courtesy of having a doctor in the house – Dr Robert and The Blow Monkeys.

We last saw the band perform at the same venue eight years previously and they certainly didn’t disappoint with a fantastic set that spanned their four-decade career. This time they were touring ahead of their new album Together/Alone, being released in May, an album that promises to be “a bit more playful and a bit more experimental.”

Before the show, Robert Howard said: “There are things on it which we haven’t done before, 50s influences, things with samba rhythms, just a bit of fun really. The four of us have played a lot live over the last 10 years, so I’ve tried to strip it down and get the essential sound of the band.”

Robert’s soulful and unique voice has stood the test of time, accompanied by the rest of the original Blow Monkeys, an outstanding group of musicians – Neville Henry, Mick Anker and Crispin Taylor.

The band opened the night with Celebrate (The Day After You), the 1987 song featuring soul legend Curtis Mayfield, which was banned by the BBC as it felt the song wasn’t appropriate on the run-up to a general election. Crazy times indeed!

The night was a real mix of high energy funk soul, fused with slow tempo blues. The band’s big hits Digging Your Scene and It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way got the Hertford crowd grooving to these much-loved 80s tracks. These classics sound just as good now as they did back then, and attract a younger generation of fans as evident in the crowd at Hertford.

We didn’t have long to wait for a house classic when the band performed a great version of the Kym Mazelle collaboration single Wait, which is currently celebrating its 35th anniversary. A real club classic, the song reached No 7 in the UK charts in 1989 and was a pivotal part of the House Music movement at the end of the 80s.

Other songs that stood out on the night included the soulful and reflective The Wild River, a beautifully haunting ballad which Robert lovingly dedicated to his wife Michele.

Time Storm, a song from the band’s 2020 Journey to You album which had a Weller-esque vibe to it, went down like an old favourite with the audience.

A real treat was in store for movie fans when the band played You Don’t Own Me during their encore, their 1987 cover of the Leslie Gore song, which featured on the soundtrack of the blockbuster movie Dirty Dancing. A great rendition of a great song.

Another fabulous night from The Blow Monkeys, whose sax-infused sound and Dr Robert’s vocals is the perfect tonic – ideally taken at regular intervals!