(photo credit: Brian Blum)
Robyn Hitchcock has spanned multiple music genres and drawn comparisons with
multiple rock artists since the outset of his career in the late 1970s with The
Soft Boys. So it should have come as no surprise that his visit to Israel this
weekend, only half a year after a previous appearance here, was just as
As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the music/film
store Ozen Hashlishit (The Third Ear), Hitchcock played his entire 1990 album
Eye in an acoustic performance at the Ozen Bar on Thursday.
Saturday night, he joined forces with one of his several collaborations – The
Venus 3, featuring REM co-founder and guitarist Peter Buck, in a show that wowed
the Barby Club crowd.
Opening with the title track from the 2009 pop
album Goodnight Oslo, a haunting piece featuring Buck’s REM-trademark chimes
heard throughout much of the show, Hitchcock adeptly maneuvered through a
high-energy set that had a little bit of everything.
also from Goodnight Oslo, is strikingly reminiscent of The Kinks, one of
Hitchcock's favorites, while “Sally is a Legend,” from the 2006 Ole Tarantula
album, is a beat-pop tune with REM and Grant Lee Buffalo written all over it.
And in a tribute to The Byrds, Hitchcock and his cohorts put on a classic
display of “Eight Miles High.”
A true troubadour influenced by the very
best in the business, Bob Dylan, Hitchcock could not help but converse with the
audience between nearly every piece. Chatting about his time on a kibbutz in the
early 1970s, and labeling himself the Graham Nash (i.e. sole English member) of
The Venus 3, Hitchcock also recounted his lifelong efforts to recreate The
Beatles. Then he launched into a riveting performance of “I’ve Got a Feeling,”
very much resembling another of the artists who helped shaped his music, John
Sometimes sounding a bit like David Bowie and sometimes bringing
Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett back to life, Hitchcock also made sure the
audience wouldn’t forget his roots, closing the show with The Soft Boys’
punk/pop piece “Give it to the Soft Boys.”