Julian Cope


Keeley Forsyth

It appears minimalism by spook is an effective strategy for the achievement of crowd bamboozlement; the ageing gig-goer prevalent around no doubt expecting a forgettable dilute-Copeian derivative hell bent on attaining das capital, yet not so. Aided only by the wheezing of what probably is a faux-accordion, the vocal adopts the sombre, maritime loneliness method of performance. I suppose using archaic terminology in one’s lyrics (voyage unfathomed?) is bound to conjure up enough gothic adjectives that even mentioning them would probably negatively assimilate this article with every other review that’s ever been done on this particular individual’s musical pursuit, but forgoing that rule it does appear Julian stole this act from a miscellaneous church of some kind.

Her ability to flesh out her range with the vibrato afforded to her by the genetic construction of one’s throat eschews the need for additional musicians; they would detract from the style in a hypothetical ‘Suicide album fused with dozens of unnecessary guitar overdubs’ kind of way. Abridged: being devoid of colour works favourably in this instance.

Julian Cope

Taking the elder statesman that was once in vogue route; the billed individual undertakes a stripped back process to his extensive catalogue, switching between an assortment of guitars (strings vary), a singular synth and a bass drone to flesh out renditions without sacrificing them qualitatively, with his vocals (evident in his low range) still intact long past his youth. He opens with the track ‘Soul Desert’ from an album that isn’t his latest, in fact from 28 years earlier; I’d heard he hadn’t performed much from his latest album Self Civil War, but it seems misinformation and/or his desire to defy the setlist connoisseurs all too dedicated to a task that only serves the interests of transgressions such as lethargic journalism.

Cope engages the audience with humour, going so far as to remark his need to focus on music rather than speech, yet in a way it gives the spectator a unique moment to take away beyond listening to rehearsed music they are most likely familiar with, albeit in a different key/arrangement. To elaborate further, his promotion of scholarly exploits, his ‘intention’ to cover Gang of Four yet does not, the facets of Scotland’s infrastructure, the mockery of purchased titles and light-xenophobia regarding what was the land of the Gauls proves highly insightful in what may very well occur within Cope’s distinguished cranium. However, these pale in comparison thematically to the ever salient references to narcotics and his ironic attempts at folk songs, immortalised by crowd sing-a-longs endeared by his unexpected comedic ability.

Occasional hit song there and another there; he juggles the clamouring of the audience’s song specifics rather well, as if it’s on his terms and not their imposed fantasy, and even requests filming cease on a particular track to which all appear to oblige. The only other performer that joins him on stage is a technician that undergoes the rigours of holding down one note on the aforementioned drone, complimenting a certain track off from the final album of a certain old band of his. He goes off stage upon completion of his set and predictably his fans call for his return, invoking the classic troupe derived from theatre known to most as an encore, a parting gift for a venue that he will be present at yet again tomorrow.

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Angus Rolland

Recent career decisions have compelled me into the journalistic... thing; I could list my literary influences or even debate which 3rd rate beverage has the best economic value per litre (But I won’t). Oh, in addition, I write reviews for the Independents Network.