Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

Robyn Hitchcock w/ Minus 5
Concert appearance: Sat., 15 Nov. 2003

Crocodile Café
Seattle, Washington US

Set list:

I'm Only You
I Got The Hots
Balloon Man
So You Think You're In Love
Wax Doll
Glass Hotel
One L
The Sound Of Sound
Uncorrected Personality Traits
Queen Elvis
Sleeping With Your Devil Mask
Full Moon In My Soul
A Man's Got To Know His Limitations, Briggs
(Theme From) Happy Days [Improv]
Queen Of Eyes
Tarotplane (Captain Beefheart)
Give It To The Soft Boys

-- (Theme From) Happy Days arose when Kurt pointed up that he was using a
"'50s guitar". there were jokes made that soon they'd be playing Rock
Around The Clock. "isn't that the theme from Happy Days?" asked scott, to
which robyn replied, "no, that's in A-Minor," and started into it. about
45 seconds, i guess.

--minus 5 rocked liked a f***ing magicus. the set included a spectacular
cover of Green River, sung by john. they were also selling copies of their
new record, *I Don't Know Who I Am*, subtitled *Let The War Against Music
Begin, Vol. 2" and comprising songs recorded during the *Let The War
Against* sessions. about as good as volume 1 and *Down With Wilco* --
which is to say, not very. how can it be that they're so dead-on in
concert, and that their first three records are so bad-assed, but that they
now can't record a decent record to save their lives?

-- funniest exchange:
robyn [looking for the correct pick]: i could've sworn i had...
scott: this doesn't really sound like a bass [peter had gone home sick
after the minus 5's set].
robyn: roll everything off the top.
scott: yeah, i already did that.
robyn: oh, well, that's the only thing i know about recording.

< bit off to me.>>

me three. i'd also agree that the verbals (including the radio interviews)
were engaging, interesting, and funny. but the acoustic set was almost
sleep-inducing. so disappointing, in fact, were the night's proceedings,
that when coupled with the disastrous pile of crapola that is *Luxor*, it
would seem that robyn's career has entered a serious "downward spiral".
speaking with cynthia on the ferry after the show, i wasn't terribly
surprised to hear that she not only felt the same way, but that she had
left the show early -- only to return after having missed the 12:45

unfortunately, while the addition of the band livened things up *greatly*
(Tarotplane was a revelation, and Give It To The Soft Boys was its heavy
metal-est incarnation since '94 reunion tour), its set was cut shut by the
1:30 curfew. chalk that up to opener brandi carlile's set beginning at
10:00 -- the croc's normal music-start time, but they should've known that
there'd be no way to get all the goods in with two opening acts and a 10:00

i can only conclude that robyn canno longer carry a solo-acoustic tour.
and when you think about it, despite all his anti-band talk since the
dissolution of the egyptians, this was his first attempt since 1990 (and
his first true solo tour since '95): '92 and '93 he toured with the
egyptians; '94 and '95 included an electric set; '96 and '97 included both
an electric set, and the additions of deni bonet and tim keegan; '99
included the rock armada, '00 was the co-tour with grant-lee phillips; and
'01 and '02 was with the soft boys.

interestingly, on the same day that robyn mailed in this performance, my
beloved huskies got their asses handed to them 9,000 ways from sunday by a
(then) 5-6 team, allowing a school-record 729 yards of total offense.
about mid-way through the 3rd quarter, according to sideline reports, head
coach keith gilbertson was reduced to pleading with the defense to "show
some pride".

i'd offer the same advice to robyn: show some pride. approach your next
record and tour as if you give a f**k. as if you've an investment in the
material. if that's just too difficult for you, then at least play
something other than the same songs that you've been playing live for ten
years, or tour with a band, or throw in lots of electric guitar and/or
piano. do *something* interesting. (i do think the idea of soliciting
requests is a good one. maybe something like the '97 knitting factory or
'88 mccabe's shows -- but for an entire tour -- would revive his career.)

KEN "The Good Lord can deceive everybody as surely as the Fallen Angel (but
he does not choose to)" THE KENSTER

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