Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Rock's great survivor is a riotous delight

At Saturday afternoon's showing of his new film John Otway styled himself "rock and roll's greatest failure".

However, I would describe him as one of its great survivors.

He now can't even lay claim to the soubriquet 'one hit wonder', having fluked a Top 10 hit with Bunsen Burner in 2002.

"A pop star and a movie star" as he genially introduced himself for the Saturday night gig at the Black Box, launching into a really free version of first hit Really Free, with an obstreperous fuzz box standing in for Wild Willy Barrett.

Though his instinct is to play it for laughs, there was a recognisable folk tradition in songs like Poetry and Jazz which in the right hands (ie, not his) could be a modern Where Do You Go To, My Lovely.

His comedy was nothing if not inventive.

Body Talk made extensive use of percussion and theremin, and indeed Otway's body, and only just failed to collapse into chaos.

Like all good comic turns John Otway had the perfect foil on stage in his sidekick Dedley the Roadie, who played a mean harmonica on a Dylanesque reading of I Will Survive and was there to catch the guitar on a flagrantly health and safety-defying version of You Ain't Seen Nothin, Yet.

I would have liked to have heard more of songs like Josephine proving Otway has the musical chops to go with the clowning, but this was entertainment of the highest order.

Long may he headbutt the microphone.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Leo:

You are outgoing and energetic. People are receptive to your ideas. This is a wonderful time to share your knowledge and know how, make a presentation or work on collecting support for an idea. Having a clear, concise outline will attract lots of support. Don't waste valuable time hemming and hawing. If you fail to get someone's attention within the first thirty seconds of your pitch, you'll lose their interest. Making an intriguing proposal and then support it with compelling statistics.More