Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock
Concert appearance: Tue., 28 Sep. 1999

Oxford, England UK

Set list:

Mexican God
The Devil's Coachman
Wax Doll
Clean Steve
You've Got A Sweet Mouth On You Baby
Madonna of the Wasps
The Cheese Alarm
Queen of Eyes
Birds in Perspex
Sleeping with Your Devil Mask
Sally Was a Legend
You and Oblivion
Kingdom of Love
Adoration of the City
Beautiful Queen

This is the first time this year Hitchcock has toured the UK, having
released the new album Jewels For Sophia. The US tour was in support of the
Flaming Lips on their Music Against Brain Degeneration tour. Here in the UK,
he's supported by ex-Gallon Drunk Trumpet player Terry Edwards and his new
band the Scapegoats, who were already onstage as I arrived.The Scapegoats
play blistering old-style rock'n'roll, with a coarse, seedy edge. The line
up is interestingly guitar-free: bass, drums and trumpet/sax provided by
At the end of their set, a tall shambling figure leaps onto the stage and
grabs a guitar from its stand. It's Hitchcock himself, looking for all the
world like Prof. Hitchcock from the History Fac. He's obviously excited by
the music to the point of joining in, and the set trails off into anarchy
and the band leave the stage.Not long after, Hitchcock takes the stage and
begins Mexican God, the first track from the new album, followed by The
Devil's Coachman, an unlikely track from the disappeared Queen Elvis album.
Hitchcock seems excitable, fluffing some of the guitar lines, but this only
adds to the energy of the performance. It's been a few years since he's
played like this - he's been playing solo sets since '94 but tonight it's
somehow refreshing to see. A few more songs go by: You've Got A Sweet Mouth
On You Baby; 1974 to name two, all the songs given a live lustre, with his
between-song banter funnier than I've seen before. He mentions talking to an
American about how English people don't mind the rain and the damp because
they don't have the death penalty, and is able to take the stories to their
full extent - on other dates on this tour he's been a little drowned out due
to shouted requests, something that doesn't happen in front of the polite
Oxford audience.
Another figure shuffles on stage and picks up a guitar. It's Kimberley Rew,
original guitarist with the Soft Boys, someone Hichcock hasn't worked with
since their split. Of course this only adds to the ambience, his guitar
lending support to classic Hitchcock material such as Lost Madonna Of The
Wasps and Birds In Perspex. It's the Soft Boys material that stands out,
though, with Kimberley providing back up vocals and that famous guitar sound,
turning work-outs like Kingdom Of Love and Queen Of Eyes into regular guitar
duels."Guinness" says Hitchcock and disappears off stage, to a very good
reception. Within minutes he's back onstage, joined by Kimberley and a couple
of Scapegoats. Encore songs Beautiful Queen and the not heard before
Adoration Of The City come across very well, with the addition of drums and
sax (not the ghastly mellow kind!). Overall, Hitchcock comes across as having
undergone somewhat of a renaissance, and seems finally to have embraced his
cult status. Personally, I can't wait for the next time he comes to town.


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