John Otway Voodoo Rooms

There’s a 62 year old man on stage in the Voodoo Rooms, leaping off tables, turning summersaults, headbutting the microphone, beating lumps out of his guitars and – in his own inimitable fashion – singing.

The same man who’s “Beware of the Flowers Cause I’m Sure They’re Going to Get You, Yeah” came seventh in a BBC poll to find the greatest song lyrics of all time, beating the likes of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. The same man whose second hit record, “Bunsen Burner” came twenty-five years after his first “Cor Baby That’s Really Free”.

It could only be John Otway. The house is packed – and most of the audience come into the age bracket that would make them fans from the days when punk rock ruled. This may sound like a very “hippy” thing to say, but seldom do you feel such love and affection between performer and audience as you get with Otway and his fans. They have supported him over the years through thick and (mostly) thin. Over 900 of them provided backing vocals on the recording of “House of the Rising Sun”, and every one of them was credited on the record’s sleeve.

John Otway is a genuinely unique performer, and with his set tonight that included the aforementioned tunes, along with a spoken word version of Sweet’s “Blockbuster” and featured as always “Cheryl’s Going Home” in a version that must surely be better known than Bob Lind’s original, he helped to make the world a better place.

Jim Welsh