sun 24/10/2021

Julian Cope, Glee Club, Birmingham | reviews, news & interviews

Julian Cope, Glee Club, Birmingham

Julian Cope, Glee Club, Birmingham

An intimate evening with the Arch Drude and cheerleader for 'the psychedelicised'

Julian Cope - the Arch Drude

While Julian Cope’s albums are usually fairly expansive affairs which employ a vast array of instruments, an audience with the Arch Drude is a more intimate affair these days. There’s no backing band and the man takes to the stage armed only with a 12-string acoustic guitar, a microphone and a few effects pedals. There’s also a big bass drum set up on stage with “You can’t beat your brain for entertainment” written on the skin – but that’s just a prop and doesn’t get played.

Cope started up by launching into “I’m Living in the Room They Found Saddam In” from 2005’s Citizen Cain’d album, and the audience of aging hipsters were on-side from the first strum, listening reverently to the music and laughing loudly to the comic asides throughout. This was followed by “The Culture Bunker” from Cope’s 1980s pop star years as leader of The Teardrop Explodes, and such wide-ranging plunder of Cope’s back catalogue set the tone for the evening. Early solo career highlights such as the breezy “Sunspots” and sublime “Greatness and Perfection” were soon rubbing shoulders with the more recent and more forthright “Cunts Can Fuck Off”, “Cromwell in Ireland” and “Autogeddon Blues”. As the Arch Drude said: “As I’ve got older, my songs have got more profane because I’ve realised that I can only sing about how much I hate all the bastards but can’t do anything about it.”

Things didn’t descend into comical howling at the moon though, as there were also plenty of songs about Cope’s self-proclaimed “eternal motif” – “that the rest of the world wants to be as out of it as me”. “They Were On Hard Drugs”, from 2013’s Revolutionary Suicide, raised cheers when Birmingham was mentioned in this ditty about the ancient and continuing lust of people all around the world to be “rat-arsed”. “Psychedelic Revolution” was also given an airing, with its call to spike the government with LSD. The druggy songs were followed by the self-proclaimed visionary drinking songs. “As The Beer Flows Over Me” and “Liver As Big As Hartlepool” led to calls for an interval in some parts of the room to allow the bar to reopen, but this request was expertly batted off. As was a call for “Up-wards At 45 Degrees” from Cope’s pagan masterpiece Jehovahkill. “I can’t play it fast enough anymore,” proclaimed the Arch Drude. “I don’t want to be venerable. I want to be bad!”

Returning for an encore, Cope broke into “Robert Mitchum” from 1988’s Skellington album, after saying that the previous night’s crowd in Cardiff had been so drunk that there were people calling for “Robert Redford”. “We tried to write that one on the way up today but it isn’t finished!”

It seems as if Cope’s performance has finally moved from psychedelic rocker to acoustic troubadour with jokes, and it made for an entertaining evening. It would be great if he got a decent band together and let the acid rocker loose again though.

Cope’s performance has finally moved from psychedelic rocker to acoustic troubadour with jokes


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article


Similarly excellent show in London last night - just one question: I've heard of hirsute, but the picture above depicts a smooth shaven Drude, and yet last night the monster beard of recent times was definitely in evidence?!!

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters