Robyn Hitchcock / Sean Nelson Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa ON November 16

Practically doubling as a reunion for Ottawa’s early ’80s hipster scene, Robyn Hitchcock’s early show at Zaphod Beeblebrox brought together a few dozen dedicated fans eager to witness exceptional acoustic sets from two indisputably brainy and assiduous musicians. Supporting Hitchcock for the second time in three years and promoting his forthcoming solo release, The Vernacular (recorded with Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla), Sean Nelson’s decision to perform a hefty quantity of Harvey Danger material may have been sparked as result of the small but enthusiastic crowd of fans who turned out explicitly to hear his band’s early material. After Sean closed his set and many of his merrymakers dissipated, Robyn Hitchcock wasted little time; with an acoustic guitar and wearing one of his trademark paisley shirts, he opened his set with faithful performances of his most recognised tracks. Cycling through a number of crowd-pleasing songs, including material from his latest LP, 2006’s Ole Tarantula and a cover of Bob Dylan’s "Not Dark Yet,” and seeming at ease and secure, Hitchcock delivered a commanding but whimsical performance. The mid-point of the show saw Sean Nelson join Hitchcock on stage, providing his majestic backing vocals to Robyn’s songs. A beautiful and gentle rendition of "NY Doll” and the always-witty "Uncorrected Personality Traits” closed the set but not before Robyn encouraged the audience to personally meet with him at the merchandise booth. A short encore saw Hitchcock and Nelson venture onto Zaphod’s dance floor to perform a trio of songs while onlookers accompanied Nelson on background vocals. But it was Hitchcock’s witty stream of conscious banter, his excellently constructed set list and his decision to personally autograph each and every one of his t-shirts sold after the show that demonstrates why his music is still so revered and adored by fans.