Robyn Hitchcock hit Liverpool to the delight of a devoted crowd, Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman was regaled with some choice covers, cheese and drinking fish.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Robyn Hitchcock as he shuffles on to a chilly Kazimier stage on a freezing cold Sunday evening.
Despite his recent collaborations with assorted R.E.M. members and the love and admiration of many a left field hipster, he has singularly failed to make the jump from cultish hero to national treasure.
A quick look around the sparse, seated crowd tonight reveals Hitchcock’s usual band of middle aged male followers are still ready to support their 60-year-old hero through thick and thin but instead of lamenting his lot, he treats us to an hour of wonderfully intimate acoustic whimsy.
“It’s Sunday night so let’s delve into the record collection,” he suggests conspiratorially as this solo set begins with a carefully curated collection of covers.
Opening with Simon and Garfunkel’s The Only Living Boy In New York, Hitchcock proceeds to play a beautifully fragile version of Love’s And More Again followed by a run through of The Kinks’ Fancy.
Such is Hitchcock’s great skill at interpreting other songwriter’s work and in doing so laying his influences bare, he’s often dismissed as a slavish Syd Barrett wannabe, happy to ride on the coat tails of other so-called genuine psychedelic masters.
But a quick listen to some of Hitchcock’s own work should quash these unfair accusations.
Robyn Hitchcock at the Kazimier, Liverpool
Bass’ surreal fish based lyrics (“The juicy flounder and the tender chub will swim around you when you leave the pub“) sum up the Cambridge troubadour’s singular appeal while The Cheese Alarm (“a song essentially about coming to terms with cheese“) draws some hearty laughs from the assembled throng with it’s tributes to “juddering Stilton with your blue-blooded veins.”
A moving nod to Lou Reed comes in the form of New Age, one of the recently passed Velvet Underground maestro’s finest songs, before Hitchcock nips off stage for a glass of wine, returning to jubilantly take requests from the faithful.
Hitchcock does himself a disservice when he subsequently describes his back catalouge as a collection of “noir drolleries” – tonight’s gig was special and so is Hitchcock.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Tomas Adam.
Further reading on Getintothis:
Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Manchester Apollo
Villagers: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
The Fall, Evil Blizzard, The Temps: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool