By DAN MACINTOSH
LOS ANGELES – Robyn Hitchcock returned to the Largo at the Coronet with a set of songs mainly drawn from internet fan requests. In fact, he oftentimes took a little extra time to dedicate songs to the ones that requested them. Hitchcock requests, however, are not your typical fan suggestions, where sets would be mainly comprised of hits and popular radio selections.
Hitchcock fans share his off-kilter sense of humor, and their requests are just as eclectic as the artist. One fan this night wore a “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” T-shirt, which is a Monty Python reference and tells you a whole lot about the sort of nerdy, intellectual (but also humorous) lot that makes up Hitchcock’s fanbase.
While every Hitchcock show is unique, this one was particularly special because he seemed to take a real liking to the house piano. This resulted in more piano-accompanied songs than usual. Hitchcock, who regularly closes his concerts with choice cover songs, saved the best for last with a raving cover of John Lennon’s “God.” His encore section also included version of the relatively obscure Bob Dylan song, “Dear Landlord.”
Other highlights included the three-part harmony of Hitchcock, Emma Swift and Eric D. Johnson (of Fruit Bats) for “Trams of Old London.” This song featured Hitchcock on acoustic guitar, his usual accompanying instrument of choice. Hitchcock is a better than average guitarist, and likely admittedly a rudimentary pianist, but his piano playing this night was nevertheless highly effective.
The cozy Largo was decorated with a Christmas tree and presents covering the foot of the stage. Maybe it was still a little too soon for holiday music, but Hitchcock didn’t play a single seasonal song. Perhaps there just wasn’t room enough at the inn, so to speak, along with all the requests for his own material.
While it was not a holiday show, any concert by Robyn Hitchcock is reason for celebration. He may not have ever achieved rock star status, but – as this night’s two sets of music decidedly demonstrated – he’s amassed a deep treasure trove of songs to choose from. Therefore, Santa can’t give him anything he doesn’t already have.