Mono – 14/11/13
First things first; this review will avoid falling victim to the overused comparison of Robyn Hitchcock to Syd Barrett (although you can infer from this that he sounds more than a smidge like Syd Barrett). Though everyone would unanimously agree that this is a good thing Hitchcock is far more than the Barrett tribute act he is sometimes labelled as. The mature audience assembled in the intimate setting of Glasgow’s Mono, not to mention Hitchcock’s sipping on what appears to be a ‘nice cup of hot chai’, create the perfect atmosphere for his acoustic solo set. Apart from the older, drunker version of Peregrin Took who runs away when advised by a barmaid to trade in his pint for water, everyone seems set for a relaxing evening of good music and Hitchcock does not disappoint.
Every song resonates with the dead-silent Mono crowd and the setlist is more heavily weighted towards slow, simple folk songs than the abstract psychedelia one might expect. Hitchcock’s emotive delivery is endearing and contrasts with his signature light-hearted, stream-of-consciousness ramblings keeping the audience engaged throughout. There were no thrills or frills but the authenticity of both Hitchcock and his songs made for a delightful air of nostalgia that put a smile on everyone’s face. When the set appeared to be drawing to a close, Hitchcock declared ‘I’ll now play some songs from my record collection’. What ensued were covers of ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ by Bob Dylan, ‘Soul Kitchen’ by The Doors and, yes, ‘Octopus’ by Syd Barrett. When Hitchcock made his way into the crowd to give an unplugged rendition of ‘A Day in the Life’ by The Beatles on request, this provided a particularly heart-warming end to a great show.