Robyn Hitchcock celebrates his new album ‘The Man Upstairs’ with a Manchester show at Band on the Wall. The Man Upstairs sees psychedelic troubadour Robyn Hitchcock uniting with legendary producer Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, R.E.M.) for one of the most unique outings of his already quite distinctive career. The album – which arrives just one year after 2013’s acclaimed Love From London – sees the British singer/songwriter musing on mortality, masculinity, and the impossibility of forever via an unexpected intermingling of self-penned originals and “songs I wished I’d written.” Modern standards like The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship” and The Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost In You” are reimagined as stark and melancholy folk ballads, and then set to powerful effect alongside haunting new songs like the plaintive “Recalling The Truth.” Hitchcock’s 20th solo studio recording – give or take a few outtake, demo, and rarities compilations – The Man Upstairs is a remarkable portrait of an artist raging quietly against the dying of the proverbial light.
From plugging in Bob Dylan’s electric guitar at his infamous 1965 performance at the Newport Folk Festival to his stewardship of an array of folk heroes – including Hitchcock’s beloved Incredible String Band – Joe Boyd has been intimately involved in some of music’s milestone moments. Boyd proposed Hitchcock made an album like Judy Collins did in 1967, an album with half originals and half covers. The record comprises equal part well-known favourites, personal discoveries, and original songs. The multi-tiered method offered the rare opportunity for Hitchcock to record as a performer, not “just another singer/songwriter laying their freshest eggs.”