Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Classic Grand (18 January 2007)

Erm…Robyn Hitchcock used to be in a band called The Soft Boys. He then had a backing band called The Egyptians. I saw this band do a couple of songs on The Whistle Test (or possibly The Tube) in the mid-eighties and spent quite some time afterwards searching through shelves of his albums and never really deciding on what I should be buying (mainly because I couldn’t find the song that really knocked my socks off).

So, I’ve been aware of the man for near on two decades without actually knowing his work at all. I know that he’s monumentally influential. In fact, not only have REM sung his praises on more occasions that I care to count AND lent him their guitarist Peter Buck, but they even joined him on stage on the first night of this UK tour to ensure that there was screeds of free publicity for the man. Not only has Jonathan Demme used his music incidentally and given him roles but also made a film purely of a performance from him. (Remember, not only is Stop Making Sense the greatest concert movie of all time, but he’s now a serious force in hollywood.)

A serious cult. He played last year. It was a Monday, I was skint and still it was a tough decision not to go along. So, he comes back mid-January when everyone’s skint. Idiot. This time, however, I’m not missing him.

And thank god for that. Hitchcock has one of those eccentric reputations (see also Cope or the late Syd) that only seems to get turn up in English singer songwriters, but does so in spades. And, as with the other two, it’s slightly skewy pop tunes that are the order of the day. He talks like http://www.petercook.net/ (with hilariously surreal between song flights of fancy, incorporating zombies and aliens) and walks like Peter Perrett (meaning that he actually sounds quite like him, not the dribbling useless junkie bit). All topped off with Buck’s guitar and the drummer from Ministry. Not the kind of thing you imagine in a half full venue on a dull January night.

How does this fit into Celtic Connections? Who cares, it was a great night? Come back soon.

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Written by Tony Kiernan

19 January 2007 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Gigs

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