Robyn Hitchcock, Mono, 8th June 2015
Not difficult to instantly dip into a Robyn Hitchcock gig and feel gratified when his opener is a stunning cover of Dylan’s Not Dark Yet. It oozed with warmly toned vocals, exquisite guitar playing, and a flow that enthralled the audience.
There was no dip in the sheer joy factor in all that followed. The witty introductions to songs, his clear fondness for Scottish venues – The Ferry and The Bungalow in Paisley – and memories of playing them solo or with The Soft Boys in years gone by and, most of all, his laid back but endearing rapport with us.
Hitchcock, in a dramatic blue and white spotted shirt, was intense but utterly cool at the same time: a languid wordsmith and amusing observer on a range of issues, including how tuning his guitar was puzzling with the strings seemingly having minds of their own.
My Wife And My Dead Wife from his 1985 album with The Egyptians, Fegmania was wonderful, but picking highlights from such a real-deal triumph of an evening is no easy task.
Hitchcock is a true lover of excellent songwriting and this was clearly demonstrated throughout the two-hour set. He gracefully, and with great affection, delivered songs by Robin Williamson and Townes Van Zandt, whose classic Pancho and Lefty involved support act, Emma Swift in a tear-jerker version. Emma, it should be noted, returned to the stage for a number of outstanding duets, including a soaring Queen Elvis, title track of Hitchcock’s 1989 release.
A truly glorious evening was enhanced by an audience that had turned up to listen intently yet enthusiastically with no request shout-outs or a surge of mobile phones to record the event. If only all gigs worked out pure and magical like this one.
Photo: Paul Kerr