Robyn Hitchcock w/ Scott McCaughey
Concert appearance: Wed., 12 Nov. 2003
Portland, Oregon US
I'm Only You
I Got The Hots For You
You Remind Me Of You
No I Don't Remember Guilford
Uncorrected Personality Traits
Keep Finding Me
Speed Of Things
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask
Full Moon In My Soul
Encore: A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs w/Scott McCaughey, Bison Flavor
Encore: Queen Of Eyes
So I saw this Robyn guy you keep talking about... I didn't know anything
about him, so I was curious to check him out. He was playing at the
Aladdin, a mere stone's throw (if you can throw about four blocks) from my
house... I girded my loins with cheap girders* and set forth.
The line was positively clogged with fegs and I talked to Carole, the Sloop
John B, Viv, Michael Keefe and his charming wife Liz, and so forth... John
said he had taped a radio show with Robyn which we will all be hearing
soon... we went in and I saved seats for Jane the Timeline Chick, her
laconic hubby Jason, and Red Eye Distribution guy Steven King, who actually
looks like Jackson Browne. Scurrilous tales of Wilco bassist John Stirratt
were told. I talked to Carole and her friend some more as well. Finally,
Scott McCaughey (or "McOi" as Jane calls him) came out in his omnipresent
glasses and cowboy hat. As I explained to Viv in line, I had left my rat's
ass at home and therefore couldn't give one about him, but his set was
pleasant enough... he played the only songs I actually remember from "Down
With Wilco," "Retrieval of You" and "The Town that Lost Its Groove Supply"
(which suffered, naturally, without Jeff Tweedy's vocals). He was joined by
a bassist and drummer who had been collectively dubbed Bison Flavored, and
Robyn came out - looking very spruce in a sort of Nehru-style black suit
coat and cobalt-blue trousers - to play harmonica on a few songs. "McOi"
ended with a cover of my all-time favorite Wilco song, "I'm Always in Love"
- - he made it sound a bit wussy, but only a death-metal treatment could ruin
a song of such sterling perfection. (And even then, I'd be curious to hear
The intermission was short, as no set-up was needed, and Robyn re-emerged in
a polka-dot shirt (same trousers). He needs a haircut, as usual. I believe
the root of his hair problems is a natural wave in his hair that no barber
has apparently ever been able to deal with adequately; thusly, when he got a
bit ruffled, his hair stood up on either side of his head like bull's horns.
He seemed to be in a very chipper mood and talked about the "Zenith (tm)
School of Leaning, serving musicians throughout the Northwest, now available
in Portland, Oregon" and invented an angst-ridden children's book. He was
relieved that large areas of downtown remain intact since his last visit to
Portland two years ago. He played the same acoustic he always plays, no
electric this time. I forgot what an excellent guitarist he is - lots of
very rapid and expert finger-picking, his long fingers fluttering on the
fretboard like spider legs.
He did many songs that I had never heard him do before, such as "The Speed
of Things," "I Got the Hots for You," and "Uncorrected Personality Traits,"
and songs that I had never heard him do acoustically, such as "Balloon Man."
Someone else probably can post a setlist. It was funny to hear people
laughing during his songs - I just sort of assumed that everyone attending a
Robyn show would already be familiar with his stuff and therefore the jokes
would no longer be giggle-worthy, but it was not so. I didn't mind, I'm
just sayin' (as they say on Postcard). The songs from Luxor (surprisingly
and gratifyingly few - just two or three, I think) didn't sound any more
interesting live than they do on record, but at least he didn't play that
godawful song about yams. Bison Flavored and "McOi" joined Robyn for the
encore, and they did "Queen of Eyes" and some other stuff. Robyn suggested
that Tad Hutchinson from the Young Fresh Fellows (you know, the drummer with
the wok on a spring) be President. I was expecting them to do "Viva
Sea-Tac" but they did not. The show ended prematurely because there was a
punk show right afterwards. This had puzzled me greatly when I found out
about it, but the guy at the box office said Robyn had wanted to play an
early show. Go figure.
Anyway, afterwards Carole's friend Mary bought drinks for everyone (Carole,
she went looking for you, by the way), I gave Scott McOi a tinfoil bird
(hey, he's really nice, and he does have good taste in Wilco songs), and
both Jane and her hubby proclaimed their newfound love for Robyn! Yay!!
Converts!! I urged them to join the list since Jane is already famous
amongst the fegs. I also got a bag of Young Fresh Fellows pins from Steven
King. Now I have our future president Tad next to Elvis Costello on my coat
*I stole that line from Spike Milligan.
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