The Incompatible Otway & Barrett
Otway or any way possible
This article is from 2009.
One’s waited 30 odd years to see the John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett experience, therefore their arrival on stage 10 minutes late was easily forgotten. Like some adolescent kid accompanied by his grumpy grandad, jester John and Wild Willy playfully spar between each track, suggesting (no, depicting) their alliance has had a fair share of musical ups and downs. A punk-poet of his generation (or so he tongue-in-cheekily likes to tell us), Otway is a master of the quip, always best served up live and in-yer-face.
Pigeonholing this duo at your peril, their old 45s come thick and fast through cow-punk (‘Louisa on a Horse’), manic-metal (‘Jet Spotter’, disjointed disco (‘Body Talk’) and even pop (through Otway’s squeaky attempt to conquer Eurovision).
Otway’s facial expressions and bare-chested antics while playing theremin, his lyrical genius on ‘Beware of the Flowers’ & on sole hit ‘Really Free’, and broken mic antics on ‘Cheryl’s Going Home’, remind us why the late 70s were such a hoot.
Barrett, meanwhile, delivers his dead-pan humour by utilising a brown bin lid for wah-wah effect, while also sawing into and hammering at his acoustic guitar. Amazing.
The Spaces on the Mile@The Raddison Hotel, 07917321772, until 29 Aug, 9.45pm, £12–14.