Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

The Soft Boys with Young Fresh Fellows
Concert appearance: Fri., 30 Mar. 2001

Chicago, Illinois US

Set list:

You'll Have to Go Sideways
Queen of Eyes
He's a Reptile
Old Pervert
My Mind is Connectedů
Bells of Rhymney (Pete Seeger/Idris Davies)
Kingdom of Love
I Wanna Destroy You
Evil Guy
Only the Stones Remain
Underwater Moonlight
Sudden Town
Insanely Jealous
Human Music
Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd)
Train Round the Bend (Velvet Underground)
Mr. Kennedy
Rock 'N' Roll Toilet
Pulse Of My Heart
The Face of Death

recording archived at

The short review is: this was one of the most exciting shows I've
seen in years. The band was full of energy, playing off each other,
clearly delighted be stepping back to late adolescence and rocking
out. Of course, I was also full of energy, going bananas because I
finally got to hear a band whose music I'd loved and collected for
years -- my fellow fegs and Matthew Seligman (who we stood in front
of) can both attest to my muppetlike bouncing up next to the stage.
If you like the Soft Boys you should make a real effort to travel
to one of these shows, even if you have to drive five hours with a
gimp leg!

. . .We got all of Underwater Moonlight except for Positive Vibrations
(maybe they didn't have a sitar) and I Got The Hots (though we did
request that one). It seems like the band is re-learning (or, in the
case of Matthew Seligman, learning) the older stuff as the tour goes on.

Matthew, who I got to see best, really looked like he was enjoying being
in a rock band again. He decorated the stage with our balloons. It was
enlightening to me to see how simple his bass-lines were -- a lot of the
stuff I had assumed was bass-guitar work was actually Robyn hitting the low
strings (e.g. the intro to Insanely Jealous), but what he did play was
rock-solid and invigorated the music -- like John Entwistle in The Who.
Robyn started the show looking very tall and old, like one of those mighty
rainforest trees, and as the show went on he got more and more menacing
(Old Pervert worked better now than at age 30) until he was just wonderfully
creepy -- perfect. Kimberly Rew was, of course, having a blast; the muppet
analogy is right on. He looks like a happy Soft Boys fan playing air guitar
(facial expressions, singing along to himself, hair shaking, big grins)
except it's real guitar and it's got that old Soft Boys harsh counterpoint
that the Egyptians missed. Morris I couldn't see: his head was behind a
cymbal, but he sounded lick-for-lick accurate to me.

There were several new songs which you probably want to hear about.
. . .What's interesting to me is how they sounded like Robyn's
current work -- Mr. Kennedy starts like Beautiful Queen. When the SB's
reformed last, in 1994, Robyn wrote a "new Soft Boys song" called
Zipper In Your Spine; it really did sound like '79 all over again both
musically and lyrically. It was a real throwback that wasn't really
done justice by the acoustic K Records solo single it was released on
(try to get a copy of the SB's Mark Radcliffe show to hear Zipper in
its full glory). But, on the other hand, that didn't go anywhere --
it wasn't Robyn's current style or direction. The new songs I heard
tonight (Mind Is Connected, Sudden Town, Mr. Kennedy, Pulse Of My Heart)
could easily be on the next Robyn Hitchcock CD, and I hope this means
that they'll be there with Kimberly, Matthew, and Morris...

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