I went to see 'Way to the blues, the songs of Nick Drake' at the Barbican in London last night where a group of musicians performed a selection of his songs accompanied live by the original string arrangements of the late Robert Kirby. Scott Matthews, Lisa Hannigan and Nick Drake's original double bassist, Danny Thompson were among some of the acts paying tribute to him. Scott Matthews and Lisa Hannigan stole the show, they were both leagues above everyone else. Scott Matthews was pissed off his face but managed to sing perfectly and Lisa Hanngian's jazzy rendition of Black Eyed dog was easily the best cover I have heard. Unfortunately everyone else were less impressive. Punk rocker from the 60s, Robyn Hitchcock was the opening act and thrusted like a porn-star in every song. Think karaoke in a stale pub and during his personal 'ode to Nick Drake', he was rightfully booed off the stage by some bloke in a tank top.
The rest were fairly average too. Singers Krystal Warren and Kirsty Ameilda had incredible voices but didn't seem to coincide with the sound of Nick Drake which is perhaps why it was less enjoyable. However the backing orchestra could have done a tribute by themselves, they were so good. Danny Thompson played like a genius and you could instantly recognize his style which reduced many of the crowd to tears. Thompson and Zoe Rahmen, the beautiful pianist in a striking slik red dress did a refreshing instrumental duet to 'One of These', a cover that showed just how brilliant Drakes writings really were.