Robyn Hitchcock | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Robyn Hitchcock Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Fri., March 5, 10:30 p.m. 2010

I'm a longtime Robyn Hitchcock fan, but I've written him off several times—there have been a few albums over the past three decades where he's seemed too pleased with his own eccentricity, or where he's deployed his wacky psych-pop template lazily, without adding anything to it. But when he makes a record like last year's Goodnight Oslo (Yep Roc), all is forgiven. Recorded with the Venus 3, a trio of rock vets that includes Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Young Fresh Fellows auteur Scott McCaughey, the songs are consistently catchy and concise. Hitchcock makes a few stylistic missteps—the retro-rock vibe he attempts on "Saturday Groovers," for instance, sounds generic and toothless—but most of the tunes are firmly rooted in his post-Syd Barrett sound world, which he can still mine for strong, fresh material when he puts his back into it. The stripped-down arrangements and delicate vocal harmonies on the best songs remind me of my favorite Hitchcock record, I Often Dream of Trains, and coming from me that's high praise. For these shows he plays solo, so if you're not a fan of his between-song banter you'd best prepare yourself for plenty of it. Robyn Hitchcock also plays Saturday at CIMMfest. —Peter Margasak

Price: Sold out

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