We didn’t realise quite how popular Robyn Hitchcock, the bard of all things surreal, is. The Big Top Tent at End Of The Road Festival was literally packed this evening.
Or could the hordes have been there to see his sidekick, a meek man by the name of John Paul Jones? He’s from some band called Led something. Anyway, this dude’s hot, you should check him out sometime. Let’s hope Robyn keeps him for more than one gig.
Hitchcock was in his usual fantastic form tonight, spewing out bizarre anecdotes that will no doubt refuse to translate on your screen while sporting the best neo-psych shirt we’ve seen today.
Many of the songs the duo performed were unknown to us (the former Soft Boy does have an astounding number of solo albums), but at no point did the set drag, thanks in part to Jones‘ wonderful instrumental accompaniment. While not only playing the largest acoustic bass guitar we’ve ever seen anyone shoulder, the maestro also took on mandolin, slide guitar and backing vocals over the course of the set.
Highlights for the audience were ‘Balloon Man’ (“That’s just a taste of what you’ll see at the O2 tent on November 26,” quipped Hitchcock), the sublimely trippy ‘I Often Dream Of Trains’ and the title track of the recent ‘Ole! Tarantula’ album.
To be honest, Jones might be the more famous musician, but most of the audience were in fact here to see Hitchcock and his Barrett-esque tales. The fact that he was accompanied by one of the greatest instrumentalists of the modern age is an amazing bonus.
Words: Tom Pinnock
Pic credit: Michael Chapman