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Julian Cope: About more than just the music – Part 3, Bristol

21 Feb 2006 / in music and gigs

Cleo and Moth eagerly anticipate the gig
In 1979 at the age of 16 I went to my first gig; I saw The Buzzcocks at Coventry Theatre. Last night Moth and I took my 16-year-old daughter Cleo to her first gig; to see Julian Cope in Bristol. She’s probably heard more about Julian’s opinions on prehistory than listened to his music, but she jumped at the chance to come and see him play anyway.

For the full-on gig experience, we stood right at the front, pressed up against the barrier, with a load of Cope fans who thought it very cool that Cleo was here at all.

And suddenly there he was, launching into one pumping song after another, posing and strutting around the wide, uncluttered stage. He does The Rock Star Thing very well. It is, after all, his job. He smiled and joked, and was relaxed and engaged with the crowd. Great stuff.

Cleo watches Julian sing
He jumped off the stage and swaggered around in front of us, at one point so close I was nose-to-nose with him. I wondered if I should pucker up and slap one on him but thought better of it – not least because my husband was standing just a couple of metres away from me… And because I didn’t want my teenage daughter to think that it’s OK to go round snogging rock stars whenever the opportunity arose.

The vibe was superb and although the music sounded great, Julian’s vocal was way too soft. At times I could hardly hear him sing at all.

His usual mix of part-rock star, part-stand up comic, part-philosopher, part-best mate shone through and I was loving it. And to my delight, so was Cleo. But what felt like only 10 minutes after he started, he discovered he’d only got half an hour before the 11pm curfew. Argh!

He only managed one song at the mellotron before finishing with that ‘Shut Your Mouth’ song and ‘Spacehopper’. The curfew meant he was only on stage for less than an hour and a half and we had no encore. I felt a bit cheated especially because he was on such good form.

“He’s about so much more than just the music, isn’t he?” Cleo observed sagely. “Can we go and see him again?” she asked.

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