Friday, September 28, 2001
Celebration Of Tim Buckley
posthumous cult of American singer-songwriter Tim Buckley is a remarkable phenomenon.
Twenty-six years after his death from a heroin overdose, Buckley's influence hangs
heavy over the British music scene. Bands name themselves after his meagre-selling
albums. Tonight they are literally queuing up to pay homage, performing a Buckley
number and a song "inspired" by him.
most of the artists who claim the late singer's influence sound nothing like him.
It's difficult to imagine music more different than Starsailor's plodding trad
rock and the testing free jazz and yodelling vocals of the album from which they
took their name.
fact, one suspects that the constant name-dropping has more to do with Buckley's
beguiling image as a wide-eyed mystic and musical savant - a Van Morrision who
never grew fat, old and bald - than with his records. He may be less an influence
than a mere signifier.
the show confirms your worst fears about the Buckley cult. Quite why some of these
artists are here remains a mystery. Irish funk rockers Relish appear to be paying
tribute to Toploader. Lowgold trudge doggedly through Sing a Song for You.
"We're supposed to play something of ours inspired by Tim Buckley, so here's
a song with a funny little keyboard on it," offers their singer, uselessly.
pick up when Anglo-Indian vocalist Susheela Raman links a yearning, aged southern
Indian lament to Buckley's celebrated Song to the Siren: "Same sentiment,
same mood, just 300 years older," she quips. Same vocal gymnastics, too.
Jane Siberry's cover of So Lonely is appropriately mysterious and darkly
Drawn Boy collaborates with Buckley sideman Danny Thompson. His onstage faffing
is sharply chastised by the veteran bass player, but the eventual Phantasmagoria
in Two has an irreverent charm.
evening's biggest surprise comes from Embrace singer Danny McNamara, a man reviled
for possessing a tuneless foghorn of a voice. Incredibly, his reading of Morning
Glory is delicate, tender and entirely in the right key. The audience offers
Contrary to expectations, both McNamara and tonight's concert have proved a minor
2001 Petridis/The Guardian