The Incompatible Otway & Barrett (4 stars)

This article is from 2009.

The Incompatible Otway & Barrett

Otway or any way possible

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.

Otway and Barrett

  • 4 stars

Intimate and hilarious entertainment and... er... music. 20 songs and one hit, culled from their glorious past and performed with due irreverence. If you've never witnessed these two antagonists together, you're in fora night to remember.


1. Galen Burnett29 Aug 2009, 2:08pm Report

Im just thanking Otway and Barrett for helping me out of a very sticky situation, as they will probably recall, on the 22nd at the Spaces on the Mile. They know what I'm talking about, thank you so much guys. I'll come and see you when you come to Cardiff or anywhere in South Wales.

Yours Gratefully, Galen Burnett.

P.S. hope you get this.

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