Gig review: You can’t pass the Buck!

GIG REVIEW: ROBYN HITCHCOCK + THE MINUS 5 @ THE JUNCTION, JANUARY 22 Although aware of Robyn Hitchcock s reputation as a respected, influential and interesting musician, there was only one reason why I was at The Junction on Sunday. Peter Buck, lead guita

GIG REVIEW: ROBYN HITCHCOCK + THE MINUS 5 @ THE JUNCTION, JANUARY 22

Although aware of Robyn Hitchcock's reputation as a respected, influential and interesting musician, there was only one reason why I was at The Junction on Sunday.

Peter Buck, lead guitarist of R.E.M. and architect of many classic albums, was playing as part of The Minus 5 and this man's presence on stage is more than enough to bring me to any venue - especially one so intimate and close to home.

Also present were R.E.M. "additional musicians" Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin who are contributors to both their live shows and recent albums.


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Often at concerts, the music is secondary to the atmosphere and occasion and in many ways Sunday's was a special, if not great, show.

Robyn Hitchcock first came to prominence as part of Cambridge band The Soft Boys. In the late 70s and early 80s, that outfit is said to have influenced Peter Buck and his upcoming band from Athens, USA.

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When local boy and former Soft Boy, Kimberley Rew joined the band mid-way through the show I thought I was hearing about as much jangling electric guitar as any venue could take.

This is not however something I would ever complain about. If only Roger McGuinn had walked on stage - perhaps some record might have been set. However, the impressive and immensely enjoyable sound was rarely matched by songs as good as Buck's guitar arpeggios are used to wrapping themselves around.

I'm unaccustomed to Robyn's songs, yet their quirky and eccentric style met my expectations. Between tracks he was at his most entertaining, with surreal, abstract comments that owed more to Monty Python than any frontman I know. The quirky Englishman certainly seemed at ease in front of the Cambridge audience and even proud to be bringing this one-off line-up to the city. Perhaps it is because I spend so much time listening to American music that I most enjoyed the few songs sung by wild-haired Scott McCaughey.

These were introduced as being from the new Minus 5 album - and although nothing spectacular, came across immediately as being strong, fun rock tracks.

CHRIS BOLAND.

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