Sunday, March 27, 2005

Robyn Hitchcock at Maxwell's 

Robyn Hitchcock played a delightful two-hour solo show last night at Maxwell's that spanned the globe to bring the lucky audience the constant variety of...songs. The acknowledged Dylan acolyte opened with a cover of "Gates Of Eden" and later reprised the bard of Hibbing by playing the second half of "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" (he'd apparently done the first half in Brooklyn on Friday).

The former Soft Boy gleefully took handwritten song requests passed up to the stage scrawled on napkins and torn sheets of notebook paper, touring through pretty much his whole career. Songs like "Television" and "Sometimes A Blonde" from his recent album Spooked stood tall among staples like "I Often Dream Of Trains" and "Queen Elvis." (One of my favorites from Spooked, "We're Gonna Live In The Trees," is featured on Hoboken Rock City Show #2.) About three-fourths of the show was played on an acoustic, but he did play some electric guitar in the second half of the show. When he switched from an amp that was slightly feeding back to one that worked perfectly, it seemed to inspire a spontaneous blues vamp of Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" into "Who Do You Love."

After two hours, running late, and with the club needing the clear the room for a late show by Stand and Michael Brunnock, Robyn went to the edge of the stage, off-mic, and mentioned something about needing to clear out the house. He began smiling as he strummed his way around the room, stopping at different points and inviting audience harmonies and humming with a medley comprised of KC & The Sunshine Band's "Keep It Comin' Love," George McCrae's "Rock Me Baby," Dr. Hook's "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman," Bowie's "Sound And Vision," and closing out with a little Carl Douglas "Kung Fu Fighting" action. At that point, if the audience had asked for more, we would have been just plain greedy.

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