Otway & Barrett the Final Straw tour
3 Apr 2016 Leicester Sq Theatre, London
I accidentally saw their tour poster on the web and it was so good I decided it’s about time I saw the boys again. So I smooth talked my wife into coming to this one, she’d never heard of them before (but then again thinking about it she’s in the majority!). I told her it would be an eventful night, and John and Willy exceeded my wildest expectations. It was truly a great evening out – songs (ok some aren’t that good in my humble opinion), banter, humour, audience participation all honed to a fine art over many years of experience. They reminded me of a comedy act, straight man and a somewhat wild eyed maniac, whatever it worked wonderfully. A thoroughly engaging act from start to finish.
An the best bit I managed to talk to them, have my photo taken with them and get stuff signed, plus I managed to record a few of the songs and in-between song banter which I’ve placed on my YouTube channel (links to which can be found further down this blog). Pre-gig they mingled with the assorted punters and were more than accommodating for any requests for photos, autographs etc..
The set was bare minimum – a butcher’s rail will all Willy’s assorted guitars, violin, banjo, bagpipes and homemade musical contraptions and a couple of guitars for John (let’s face it you don’t need any when your collective guitar skills amount to 6 chords – and by the way that’s 2 more then I know!!) plus a Theremin. The usual wheelie bin with speaker inside – which was used to much comical effect in various songs.
John is still as demented as ever, he always looks like’s he’s having the time of his life and so happy to be there – a mix of ‘bewilderment and wonder’. This is the 4th time I’ve seen them live but in fairness it’s been many years since I saw them last, 1981 to be precise, and John is showing the ravages of age, stress and rock n’ roll failure (a Max Wall caricature but with better legs!). Willy on the other hand just looks older and less wild! John still jumps about and rips his shirt open and plays his 6 chords with great enthusiasm. I managed to buy a picture of them from the ‘this is how I remember them’ old days which was dually signed by both, and had my picture taken with them (my wife says I should get it all framed).
The set list and hyperlinks to the videos are listed further down, so I’m just going to mention a few songs.
- Apparently ‘Natasha you’re a Smasher’ is the worst song John has written according to Willy, well not in my books it was the highlight of the show. OK so he’s not gonna win any competition for the lyrics but they played a blinder on this one.
- On ‘Body Talk’ John is in his element with drum sensors strapped around his trousers – the human drum machine! He also has learnt a new instrument – the Theremin (apart from The Tiger Lillies he’s the only act I know that uses one) which showcases John at his rabid best.
- ‘Two Little Boys’ – WHY???
- ‘Racing Cars (Jet Spotter of the Track)’ – Willy is great at producing car engine noises on one of his home made guitars whilst John kills the song with his voice – as Willy says he just can’t sing!
Set List and hyperlinks
- Louisa on a Horse
In-between Song banter
- (Cor Baby That’s) Really Free
- Best Dream
- If I Did
- I’m separated
- Natasha You’re A Smasher
- Bluey Green
- Body Talk
- John and Willy jamming
- Two Little Boys (Rolf Harris cover – Why?)
- Real Tears from Both Eyes
- Beware of the Flowers (‘Cause I’m Sure They’re Gonna Get You, Yeh)
- The Snowflake Effect
- 21 Days
- Come Back Darling
- Cheryl’s Goin’ Home
- Racing Cars (Jet Spotter of the Track)
Geneve Pt2 – where Willy starts sawing up his guitar, bashing it with a lump hammer and playing the bagpipes (he’s multi-talented). The clip finishes with Willy talking about the guitar (which was sold at the end of the show – hope it covered the cost of a new one £29.99) and prizes for the winner of their competition.
The show closes and they both mingle with the audience for one last session of autograph’s and photo’s. Please guys come back, don’t make this the Final Straw.
Ps – My wife had a great night, she’s really glad she came!
PPs – I bought his book ‘Cor Baby, That’s Really Me’ at the show (thanks for signing it John) and couldn’t put it down. Compelling reading. I’ve just ordered the follow up..
Marko 16 April 2016