Friday, April 11, 2008

"Heart Of The City"

Elvis, Nick & Robyn,
Manhattan Center, April 9th '08

Nick Lowe and Robyn Hitchcock played contrasting sets in the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom, this past Wednesday night. Robyn's was bent, cerebral and had moments of righteous clarity while Nick's was brilliant, uncluttered pop with the occasional pervy twinge. They each backed themselves with just an acoustic guitar and both their voices get purer and better with age. Highlights of Robyn's set were Full Moon In My Soul, Daisy Bomb, Glass Hotel and a new commission called (I think) 'I Declare', honouring the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. Apparently, David Crosby was invited to supply a song to be sung at a festival in Holland but couldn't get it together.
Nick's set focused mainly on his YepRoc years and included I Trained Her To Love Me, Shelley My Love, Soulful Wind, The Beast In Me, Has She Got A Friend, When I Write The Book, Man That I've Become, Lately I've Let Things Slide, People Change, Long Limbed Girl,
Cruel To Be Kind, (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding and I Knew The Bride. He debuted a tune called 'I Read A Lot' and for his encore brought out Robyn to assist him on a spin through Johnny Kidd & The Pirates' 'Hungry For Love'. Next, he brought out Elvis Costello for Indoor Fireworks and then they all did The Beatles' 'If I Fell' and Elvis Presley's 'Mystery Train'. A very successful, satisfying show and the audience left happy.
Robyn wasn't finished though, and after a change of shirt, a glass of wine and some handshakes, he sped off downtown to the Knitting Factory where Gary Lucas was curating 'A Celebration of the Music, Poetry and Art of Don Van Vliet', who is known to most as Captain Beefheart. A surprise guest, Robyn joined Gary and his National Steel on-stage to perform 'China Pig', 'Sure Nuff 'N' Yes I Do' and 'Click Clack' to the delight of the punters that were still there after a long night of Beefheartian artistry. Sadly, we missed Alan Vega reciting 'Orange Claw Hammer' but Gary said he done it good, Brooklyn-style.
Gary Lucas
23rd Street, 2000

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