Sunday, 25 January 2015

Live in 2015: Julian Cope - at The Globe, Cardiff on Saturday 24th January 2015

'It's about time'. That's me describing the fact that I have not seen Julian Cope live, ever. Julian is one of those artists who I just haven't crossed paths with despite my liking his music from day one.
From those early Teardrop Explodes albums through his varied and eclectic solo career - he is always an interesting man.

I did not catch the name of the support artist who played half an hour of instrumental guitar music driven by effects pedals and feedback. Not my cup of tea but I'm sure somebody appreciated his efforts.

Julian took to the stage armed with 3 acoustic guitars and a couple of pedals including a Wah Wah. Oddly enough he had a Fender 12 string which was strung as a six string.

But he played a very strong set which plucked songs from throughout his industrious career.
Julian is one of life's true eccentrics and he didn't disappoint tonight as he regaled us with stories of his life in music and even his antiquarian pursuits.

You kind of knew what to expect when the opening song is called I'm Living In The Room They Found Saddam In.

He had family in the audience tonight - yes, he IS Welsh, as he was born in Wales - and his banter with the audience is fun and entertaining - as long as you're not easily offended on the language front.

He worked his way enthusiastically through songs such as Cromwell In Ireland and Psychedelic Revolution which are featured in his recently released retrospective Trip Advizer.

Although the exquisitely titled A Liver In Hartlepool (an inversion of Pete Wylie's A Heart In Liverpool) is a highlight not included on the new CD.

There were quite a few die hard fans there in the audience who sang every word to every song, and he sung quite a few.

He commented on how The Teardrop Explodes second album (Wilder) was not well received - well, for me it was one of the best albums of the 80s - but when he sang Culture Bunker I think the audience let him know what they thought. He was wrong.

Highlights for me included terrific versions of The Greatness & Perfection Of Love

and a great version of Sunspots where he told an entertaining story of the album Fried, Japanese release.

At one point during the show - a guy approached the stage with what he said were bones of the Newport Charterists - a very odd thing indeed - and rattled them along to the music for the rest of the evening. Only at a Julian Cope gig, I guess.

Julian then described his search for an Xmas song and about a song he wrote 'having a go' at various infamous characters in history. A version of it is below, but beware - it's not for the faint hearted.

Julian is also an author and poet and when a member of the audience ran to the front to present him with one of his books to sign - it did it right there and then on stage.

A person who handed him a CD wasn't so lucky as he put his foot through it and launched it.

Julian then read out a peace of his latest prose on stage to thunderous applause - only in Wales, maybe.

While preparing for this dig and digging out some of the older albums I'd forgotten what an excellent singer/songwriter Julian actually is. He's so varied and experimental in some places in his career but still has an ear for a tune.

He encores with Robert Mitchum (the song, obviously) and a show stopping version of Treason from the first Teardrop Explodes album, Kilimanjaro. Which he said he hadn't played for a while.

If only he had played world Shut Your Mouth then for me it would have been the perfect gig.

A triumphant return to the land of his birth and another chance to see that he's a spirit we should cherish. A true and unique performer.

Globe videos come from his 2011 visit and are ere to just give a flavour of the performance.

Twitter - @HeadHeritage

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