Robyn Hitchcocok Live At The Iron Horse Music Hall
The Message For The Week Chester, VT April 2, 2007
Although certainly not a household name in America, Englishman Robyn Hitchcock, original leader of the late 70's psych-pop band Soft Boys, is truly a renaissance man; singer, songwriter, guitarist, band leader, producer, painter, sculptor, poet, even a humorist. You name it, Robyn does it all and does it very well. Currently he takes on the role of touring musician and front man, playing small clubs throughout the U.S. in support of his latest CD release Ole'! Tarantula.
On this night Hitchcock and his current band, The Venus 3, make a stop at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. Who are The Venus 3 you might wonder? The rhythm section is made up of bassist Scott McCaughey of a band called Fresh Young Fellows, and drummer Bill Rieflin, who is also a Fresh Young Fellow and before that, surprisingly enough, Ministry. Oh-and the guitar player just so happens to be the legendary Peter Buck, who was recently inducted into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame along with his other band, REM.
Hitchock's loyal following are in full force in a packed house, and the tall, lanky artist did not disappoint with his unique "between?song" perspective and whimsical repertoire. Robyn's most recognizable (and self?proclaimed) influences are John Lennon, Beatles and original Pink Floyd front man Syd Barret and Hitchcock wears his heart on his sleeve from the outset with his acoustic
solo rendition of the haunting Barrett composition "Terrapin".
The Venus 3 would then join Hitchcock on stage, one player at a time. First the bassist McCaughey for "Queen Elvis", then the drummer Rieflin for Flanagan's Song" and finally the guitarist Buck for the rocking "Sally Was A Legend".
Robyn and the boys would run through a variety of Soft Boy and Hitchcock solo material spanning 30 years, including tasteful acoustic renditions, acid-drenched guitar riffs, mesmerizing slabs of garage rock and of course, Hitchcock's inique sense of humor.
However the greatest impact(for this reviewer)was the dueling-guitar interplay and rhythmic trance effect of "Chinese Bones", where at one point, Hitchock's warm telecaster tones blended so fluently with Bucks bright Rickenbacker that they seemed to become as one.