When I think back on all the times I could have--should have--gone to see Robyn Hitchcock play live, I think of the loss and the missed opportunities. When he appeared at The Black Cat in Washington D.C. on April 22nd, I was able to see what I have missed. Damn it all anyway.
The Black Cat did it the right way. They set up folding chairs in front of the stage and they let us in eventually. I don't know how many people were there to see Eugene Mirman. I wasn't and I didn't even bother to stay to see what it was about. I don't watch animated shows on Fox so, there you have it. I was there to see someone play music. This venue is in a part of Washington D.C. that caters to hipsters and couples on dates. I don't think I've ever been more out of place. And I enjoy that sort of thing, obviously, because I've never fit in anywhere. The music of Robyn Hitchcock has given me a lifetime of pleasure, derived almost entirely from the fact that being weird is our natural state. We're all deviants, even the fellow with the straight pants and the diet coffee.
Hitchcock ended up playing first. He played "I Got the Hots For You" and it was sublime. He played a stunning version of "Vibrating" and he played for what seemed like forty minutes, if that. I didn't focus on how long the gig was. I was focused on how perfectly executed the singing and playing was and I enjoyed the banter in between the songs. None dare heckle Hitchcock. His whimsy can slay dragons. His voice hits the room and everything stops. Who does it better than he does? That's an obvious rhetorical question. But it has the added advantage of being true. Nobody can sing and play guitar like Hitchcock. He is masterful.
My abbreviated review matches the abbreviated show. I will go see him again and I hope he will be in a situation where he plays longer. There are only fifty songs I want to hear right now, and probably a hundred more that would be wonderful to hear. If you have Hitchcock's catalog, you can dump box sets on the public and they'll never hear it all.