Robyn Hitchcock Presents

So, I saw Robyn Hitchcock live last night at the City Winery in Manhattan. Too bad I don’t like wine. No, even if I did I likely wouldn’t have bought any, because I come to concerts to see the artists, not to support the venues. I had a seat at the bar, and as more people showed up it became incredibly cramped. It didn’t matter so much once the show actually started, but unfortunately having to wait for things to start just drives home how crowded and uncomfortable the situation is. Robyn has so much output that I haven’t heard, but he did do quite a bit I did know, and some of the others were ones I immediately liked. “The Devil’s Coachman” was a good one I hadn’t heard before. I don’t recall hearing “Old Pervert” before, but I guess I must have, since I do have Underwater Moonlight. I knew “Victorian Squid” from the rarities collection While Thatcher Mauled Britain, and I have to say it makes me a bit hungry. Most of the show was just Robyn singing and playing guitar and sometimes harmonica, but Dave Depper showed up to play piano for the last few, which included “Cathedral,” “It Sounds Great When You’re Dead,” and “The Man Who Invented Himself.” I understand he’s going to be joined by Tanya Donelly in Boston and Kelly Hogan in Chicago. How come I got the one I hadn’t heard of? That’s not a crack at Dave, mind you. For the encore, he played three covers: the Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You,” Roxy Music’s “To Turn You On,” and Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman.” He did a good amount of between-song banter during his set, demonstrating his absurd and sometimes dark sense of humor, and doing a running gag about how excited he was that the LP version of his newest album has gatefold sleeves. In addition to the aburdism, I’ve noticed a definite trend in his lyrics to address death and decay.

I bought a copy of Robyn’s newest album, The Man Upstairs, but I’ve only listened to it all the way through once. The Furs and Roxy Music covers are on it, as are three other covers and five originals. “Somebody to Break Your Heart” is probably my favorite so far, but that’s subject to change.

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