Robyn Hitchcock w/ Ken Stringfellow, John Wesley Harding "The Threepiece Sweet"
Concert appearance: Sat., 20 Mar. 2004
Austin, Texas US
part of SXSW Festival (9:00 pm)
Only the Stones Remain
My Wife and My Dead Wife
Full Moon In My Soul
Encore: Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees) with Ken and Wes
Encore: W Sucks (But Rumseld Is the Anti-Christ)
Encore: Ted, Woody and Junior
Encore: Baby You're A Rich Man (The Beatles)
got this from someone (thanks will!) who went to the rock star gig at
Thought you might like to know the setlist:
Only the Stones Remain
My Wife and My Dead Wife
Full Moon in My Soul
Then in the back of the club, amongst the pool tables and packed-in fans,
Robyn continued the show with Ken Stringfellow and someone else I didn't
A public service announcement with the lines "Everyone knows that W
sucks, but Rumsfeld is the antichrist"
Ted, Woody, and Junior
Baby you're a rich man
A fun show, albeit far too short, I can give some more details later if
interested and if my memory stays intact.
and the more details:
The SXSW format doesn't allow much leeway for an artist. Sound checks are
basically done on the fly and the artists are given 40-45 minutes tops and
then rushed off the stage to make way for the next act. Robyn appeared,
resplendent in a black and white diamond shirt, duck-taped a pick-up into
the sound hole of his acoustic and started off with a long instrumental
intro to Cynthia Mask. He stumbled over some of the lyrics as he warmed up
but just kept going on, ad-libing his way through. At one point, after
transposing two lines and trying to start the verse over he said in a
slow, low voice "We're sorry for the technical difficulty, the mechanism
does not seem to be operating correctly."
Some other quotes (as I recall):
"If you want to stop hearing bad news, turn off your tv. If you want the
bad news to continue, don't vote."
"You in the US have a great responsibility, you have the fate of the
worlds [pause] yeah, okay then, worlds with an 's', in your hands."
"There are two things that everyone needs: more time and more sleep. Most
people don't even need love because they don't know how to respond to it.
So if you want to give your friend a gift, give them more time or more
Robyn's time was over far too soon but the crowd kept clapping and
cheering for one more. Robyn asked the stage manager if he could do
another but she told him there was no time so to the delight of us all, he
asked the club to not turn on the loud background music and announced that
he would be going to the back of the club with his guitar and sing some
more songs until the next band was ready. The stage manager looked
confused but the crowd dutifully turned around and marched to the back
with Mr. Hitchcock and Ken Stringfellow, who together led a rousing
rendition of Staying Alive. Then he sang an anti-Bush song to many cheers
and laughs. Following this was Ted, Woody, and Junior and to finish it
off, everyone sang along to Baby You're a Rich Man. A fun and lively show.
Review from XL in the Austin American Statesman:
Robyn Hitchcock at Rockstars
Sightings from the last few days notwithstanding, Robyn Hitchcock does own
a shirt that's not polka dot, and he was wearing it last night at Rockstars
a diamond-patterned number that seemed apt for the English songwriter's
signature court-jester-on-acid routine.
In between such old favorites as "My Wife And My Dead Wife" and "Balloon Man,"
Hitchcock gave diverting dissertations on small bats, the sex lives of the
Victorians and his alleged concern that his songs' subject matter wouldn't
click with a Texas crowd.
The songs did click, of course, and every bit of eccentricity was eaten up by
a large audience of devoted fans. The eccentricity is most of the point, after
all oddball touches such as Hitchcock's smart suggestion that instead of
books and CDs, we should all give our loved ones sleep for Christmas.
If the performance was full of surprises for the crowd, it sometimes seemed
the same for the artist: During instrumental passages, Hitchcock held his
guitar as if it were a sentient creature acting according to its own will,
constantly surprising its owner.
The time constraints of a SXSW showcase were a bit unforeseen as well, but
Hitchcock handled them well: He had hoped to bring friends John Wesley
Harding and Ken Stringfellow onstage, but when the time came for the next band
to set up, he simply took his guitar and pals to the back of the club for a
short acoustic set featuring a cover of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" and an
impromptu anti-Bush number. (Earlier, he had quipped, "If you want the bad
news to stop, turn off the TV. If you want the bad news to continue, just
don't go vote.")
Not only did most of the crowd stay for this epilogue, the next band's drummer
played his sound check in time with Hitchcock's singing. Texas as a whole may
not be on Robyn Hitchcock's wavelength, but a good chunk of Austin is.
from Hybrid Magazine:
Today, I got the seemingly rare chance to witness Robyn Hitchcock play an acoustic set of material. It was humbling. Hitchcock is truly a talented songwriter, as most of us well know, but he is also a gifted performer, keeping the crowd involved and interested even during his long tuning sessions. Handing out lessons on physics and rodents, as well as playing a few pretty amazing tunes. From slide work to the more traditional flatpicking, his songs are witty and poignant, some of them even more so in an election year. "Everybody knows double-yah sucks", he sang out shortly after making some remarks about his own country's "crazy prime minister". Who knew there were politics in Hitchcock?
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