Robyn Hitchcock Tim Keegan
Concert appearance: Wed., 28 July 1999
San Francisco, California US
Music Against Brain Degeneration Revue
My Wife and My Dead Wife
De Chirico Street
from Chris F:
So, at about 8PM at the Fillmore, the strange guy from Iqu is doing his
DJ thing, when suddenly.. BLAP!
then the emergency lighting came on. Soon thereafter, the building
manager at the Fillmore announced that the whole block, at least, was
without power. They'd be calling PG&E, but until then, just sit tight.
Soon the folks from Sebadoh came out with an acoustic guitar and a
bullhorn, and goofed off for a few songs. They played Foreigner's "Cold
As Ice" with such (mock) dead seriousness and urgency that the crowd was
Wayne gave an update about the power situation, and said that until
something was resolved, they'd just do acoustic improvs into a
megaphone. The crowd roared its appoval.
Sonic Boom wandered onstage and hunkered down over an acoustic guitar,
Neil-Young-style. He then sang "Transparent Radiation" into the
megaphone someone held in front of him. Awesome.
Wayne and some other Flaming Lip appeared with some sort of synthesizer
which needed no outlet. A megaphone held up to it allowed the Lip whose
name I don't know to do something fun, albeit hard to describe. Wayne
and he were about to launch into "Waterbug" when the lights finally came
back on. The crowd convinced them to play it anyway. Someone with a
flashlight held it up to Wayne's bullhorn, making patterns on the screen
behind them, a la Stop Making Sense. They were doing everything
possible to make it fun for everybody in the dark.
I could have left at this point and been happy.
Anyway, Wayne announced that everybody would still do their sets, but
they would be a bit abbreviated to get everyone in. Last night, Wayne
narrated the whole thing, talking a bit between each set. Not tonight.
The bands started as soon as their equipment was ready. Iqu didn't even
have their lab coats on.
I really dug Iqu (which apparently is not an acronym) a lot, enough to
buy their CD. I don't think I'd recommend the disc, but it's definitely
worth showing early up to catch the first MABD band. Today they skipped
the long, incongruous warmup noises and launched straight into their
more rocking stuff. Nobody knew who they were before they played, and
they won over the house. Enough said.
Then Sonic Boom did his thing. That man is going to wreck his back on
Then Robyn. Now, I know he's been doing shorter than average sets on
this tour. And tonight was to be shorter still. But FIVE songs?!
The weird thing is that even though it was an obscenely short set, I
found it hard to feel really cheated. It was that good.
Okay. The facts.
shirt: Black, with white polka dots.
My Wife And My Dead Wife.
enter Tim. "Tim bought that shirt in Santa Monica. All by himself."
"This is what we were going to play yesterday, but I broke a string."
Robyn dons an electric guitar
away goes Tim
At other points on this tour, some have said that it wasn't really
Robyn's crowd, and he lost the audience early on sometimes. Not here.
Everyone went nuts when Robyn started with the "My wife lies..." line.
DeChirico, though not one of my favorite songs, was the best I've ever
heard it. BQ is great in this arrangement. And what can I say about
IJ. Robyn just shredded in the solo, and played with an energy that was
Robyn Hitchcock, he of the 25-year surrealist Britpop career, followed with
a trademark Learish monologue and then songs. Half were drawn from his
latest Jewels for Sophia LP, and probably none required the use of
headphones. Still, in his special spastic way, Hitchcock was captivating,
mastering melody and madness together. It probably takes more than
half-an-hour for Hitchcock to really get going, which means he never really
did, but just hearing one of his famous monologues is worth, well, a fifth
the price of admission, which means four or five bucks.
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