Robyn Hitchcock & Yo La Tengo played ‘Black Snake Diamond Role’ & more at Bowery (pics, video, setlist, review)
Robyn Hitchcock played his second Black Snake Diamond Röle show with Yo La Tengo as his backing band on Wednesday (3/1) at Bowery Ballroom, one of the more enjoyable shows I’ve seen in a while. As someone who got to see Robyn a few times with The Egyptians, it was a real treat to see him electric with a band, especially one as game and talented as Yo La Tengo. Georgia, Ira and James’ proclivity for covers (and of course excellent musicians) make them ideal. “Ira also wrote a really nice review of the album in New York Rocker at the time,” admitted Robyn. “So they got the job.”
In addition to getting to hear all BSDR songs, like “Do Policemen Sing?,” “Acid Bird” and gorgeous album-closer “Love,” half the fun of this show — any Hitchcock show — was his between-song banter, and his sharp, extemporaneous wit kept the crowd (and Yo La Tengo) in stitches. Some microphone issues hampered things a little, but this was a loose show that seemed to happen mainly for the fun of it, and he weathered the hiccups with panache.
For the second set, Robyn returned with a new shirt (the only polka dots Wednesday night were on his guitar) and a set of songs chosen by Ira, which was almost identical to Rough Trade (three Soft Boys songs and Robyn’s old bandmate Kimberley Rew’s “Going Down to Liverpool”). This time he and the band tackled Bob Dylan’s “Obviously Five Believers” and, in the encore, Love’s “Stephanie Knows Who.” No songs from his forthcoming solo album. Setlist and a few videos from the Bowery show are below, and pictures from the Black Snake Diamond Röle set are in the gallery above.
SETLIST: Robyn Hitchcock & Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom 3/1/2017
Set 1: Black Snake Diamond Röle
The Man Who Invented Himself
Brenda’s Iron Sledge
Do Policemen Sing?
I Watch the Cars
Out of the Picture (McNew backing vocals)
City of Shame
Wey Wey Hep Uh Hole (The Soft Boys)
It’s a Mystic Trip
Give Me a Spanner Ralph
I Often Dream of Trains
Let There Be More Darkness
Obviously Five Believers (Bob Dylan cover)
Going Down to Liverpool (Katrina and the Waves cover)
Kingdom of Love (The Soft Boys)
He’s a Reptile (The Soft Boys)
Rock ‘n’ Roll Toilet (The Soft Boys)
Stephanie Knows Who (Love cover)
photos by Greg Cristman