Edwyn Collins, Roundhouse, live review: ‘Touching and humourous’

Edwyn Collins live at the Roundhouse. Picture: John Williams

Edwyn Collins live at the Roundhouse. Picture: John Williams - Credit: Archant

Peter Rowe enjoys a triumphant evening at the London venue from the Scottish songwriter.

When you think of what Edwyn Collins has accomplished not just with his post-punk band Orange Juice but as a solo artist, having survived two cerebral haemorrhages he has literally ripped up the rule book and started again. As a long term follower of his music, it was therefore with intrigue that I set out to watch him at London’s Roundhouse on Friday as part of their In The Round series.

The show debuted with his 2010 track Losing Sleep, followed by Falling And Laughing and What Presence. Throughout the evening Collins treated the crowd with humourous self-deprecating comments about his current state of heath, but these never verged into self-pity. Instead the comments were more in jest as he asked the audience, “Are you with me?”, then followed this with “Not really”.

Another touching moment was when he was joined by his son William on In Your Eyes. At the close of the track William gave his father an unprompted affectionate kiss.

More classic material was aired such as Dying Day and the seminal solo 1995 hit Never Had a Girl Like You Before. The evening’s events were heightened when Collins told the audience that he was going to stand up to sing Don’t Shilly Shally. Prior to the final part of the set, the crowd raised from this seated event with a touching standing ovation.

In spite of the wealth of material played throughout the evening, possibly the highlight of the show came during the encore as Collins was joined by guitarist Carwyn Ellis on the stunningly melancholy Home Again from his Quite Like Silver album. This was followed by a cover of Python Lee Jackson’s In a Broken Dream, while on Quite Like Silver we were treated to a magnificent saxophone solo. Finally the whole band came on for set finisher Poor Boy, and it would be remiss to leave out the efforts of this tight, accomplished group, which included long-standing compadre Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols on drum duty.