Review: Julian Cope – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, 25.10.14

Julian Cope by Miriamaok

Words: Ralph Mexico
Photo: Miriamaok

Jesus may have the same initials, but he’s not Julian Cope.

Jesus may have risen from the dead, but he never wrote ‘Jellypop Perky Jean’.

Jesus may be everywhere, but he wasn’t in Hebden Bridge last Saturday night.


From the nifty opening number ‘I’m Living In The Room They Found Saddam In’ to the psonic closer ‘Out Of My Mind On Dope & Speed’, this was an unmitigated triumph.

Let’s lay it on the line here, space kadets: this was the gig of the year, so far. And unless John Cale reforms The Velvet Underground with Little Richard on guitar and Miles Davis on vocals then it’s safe to say no concert in 2014 will better it.

Julian Cope is a proud rock beast with a wholly humble heart and a gaggle of songs Irving Berlin can only dream of in his scented Woodlawn grave.

Cope’s Saturday night set-list would bring a tear to a glass onion: ‘The Culture Bunker’ and ‘Sleeping Gas’ from The Teardrop Explodes dayze; ‘Sunspots’ and ‘The Greatness & Perfection Of Love’ from his lower reaches of the charts bothering years; ‘Psychedelic Revolution’ and ‘Robert Mitchum’ from his present “making a complete cult of himself” times.

And most “Oh-my-Lord-this-must-be-what-its-like-to-levitate-over-Tibet-with-Carol-Vorderman”-ly the opening songs from his early 90’s triple whammy bammy take LSD with mammy run of masterpieces Peggy Suicide (‘Pristeen’), Jehovahkill (‘Soul Desert’) and Autogeddon (‘Autogeddon Blues’).

“You want more, you worthless guacamole-breathed backwash slimeballs?” he didn’t say, but Julian still played for us a round of drinking songs – ‘As The Beer Flows Over Me’, ‘Liver As Big As Hartlepool’ (his wry response to Pete Wylie’s bombastic ‘Heart As Big As Liverpool’) and referenced his drinking in Cork inspired ‘Clonakilty As Charged’.

He played a song to explain the mammoth achievements of ancient warriors and ground-breaking innovators: ‘They Were On Hard Drugs’. He played his attempt at writing a Christmas hit which would probably have trouble getting airplay between ‘Santa Baby’ and ‘White Christmas’ ‘cos he called it ‘Cunts Can Fuck Off’. He played a song about how different countries have different hate figures called (Oh Yes!) ‘Cromwell In Ireland’.

And in the gaps between playing stone cold, card-carrying, reserved seating at the top table, get your yah-yah’s out classics he was funnier than a hermit playing the kazoo on a unicycle.

Julian told us about going back drinking after 20 years when visiting hobgoblin-haunted caves in Armenia; about his surprise when Kate Bush reformed; about his record company hassles when “the greedheads” tried to bring him down; about buying the huge 90 year old Salvation Army drum that stood proud and silent like a Macedonian statue at the side of the stage throughout.

The whole shebang was a psychotic reaction and carburetor dungarees soul-satisfying mind bomb. Feel free to come up and see me sometime in my candy-coloured space-hopper if you have any questions, pussy-katz.

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About Noise

Cork music since 2010
Millroom 2,
3rd Floor,
Thompson House,
MacCurtain Street,
Cork City,
Conor O'Toole
Graham Lynch