Julian Cope, Tom Hickox: Arts Club, Liverpool

Julian Cope

Julian Cope

After avoiding the former Teardrop Explodes’ frontman’s solo shows for so long, Getintothis’ Banjo starts to regret not going to see him sooner. 

Tonight the Arts Club saw an evening of sartorial extremes. On the one hand, well tailored support act Tom Hickox looking dapper in a three piece suit and on the other, headliner and honorary Liverpudlian Julian Cope looking like he had a particularly violent sneezing fit in a Hell’s Angel’s wardrobe.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have – part one. Tom Hickox, looks like his ideal job is in a gentleman’s haberdashers. His set tonight, accompanied only by the wonderful Shez Sheridan on a variety of guitars, is an absolute corker. Pared down versions of songs from his War, Peace and Diplomacy win over the crowd with ease and his honeyed voice fills the room and warms the early arrivers.

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Dress for the job you want, not the job you have – part two. Julian Cope would appear to be coveting the position of caretaker in Valhalla. Whilst he has a look that suggests the kind of person one would cross the road to avoid, Cope has easy charm and charisma by the bucketload. A natural raconteur and performer, he is also blessed with a varied and impressive catalogue of songs, both old and new.

Tonight’s highlight, The Great Dominions, sees Julian accompany himself on the keyboards by taping three notes down before returning to his guitar. The two come together to create a beautiful moment in a beautiful set. The spoken introductions to the songs often seem as long as the songs themselves, and it is easy to form the impression that Cope could fill an evening’s worth of entertainment just by talking, so amusing, diverse and beguiling are his verbal flights of fancy.

This writer has avoided Cope’s solo shows before now, on the grounds of not wanting to spoil old memories. It is not a mistake I shall make again.

Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Waters