Artist: Robyn Hitchcock & The Sadies
Songs: You're Still on My Mind [Luke McDaniel cover, via The Byrds] + One Hundred Years from Now [Gram Parsons cover, via The Byrds] + Lucifer Sam [Pink Floyd cover] + I Wanna Destroy You [Soft Boys cover]
Recorded at The Drake Underground, September 13, 2015.
This was about the fifth or sixth year that Robyn Hitchcock has made an annual stop in the basement at The Drake, with the last few being multi-night mini-stands, where RH would show off his super-deep catalogue by playing for two or three nights in a row without repeating a song. This year saw a couple nights of solo balladeer action, but this Sunday-night closer was a special one-off, seeing Hitchcock being backed by specialists-in-all-styles The Sadies in a night billed as "Jewels From The Vault".
That was a hint that there'd be covers a-plenty, but all expectations were surpassed when the set turned out to be a start-to-finish recreation of The Byrds' iconic country-rock foundation-stone Sweetheart of The Rodeo. This night was a follow-up to the same pairing covering The Band's Stage Fright in full at the Winnipeg Folk Festival earlier this year, and a few selections from that were played, as well as a pair of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd tunes. Dipping into Hitchcock's own back pages to finish with rocked-up versions of The Soft Boys' "I Wanna Destroy You" and "Queen of Eyes" was just icing on the cake. And all of it was delivered with Hitchcock's signature surrealistic élan, whether musing on the poles of the karmic wheel or making an impassioned tribute (in French!) to his cup of tea with soy milk ("sans vache"). As always, an annual highlight.
[As there are just too many gems to pick from here, I've gone ahead and uploaded the entire set to the Live Music Archive, so you can stream or download the whole thing there.]