The Venus 3

Robyn Hitchcock has spanned multiple music genres and drawn comparisons with multiple rock artists since the late 1970s.

By ELIOT ZIMELMAN
March 25, 2012 22:20
1 minute read.
Venus 13

Venus 13. (photo credit: Brian Blum)

 
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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 diverse.

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.

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And on 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.

“Saturday Groovers,” 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 Lennon.

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.”

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