This was one of the most bizarre gigs I’ve experienced. Maybe it was the same for anyone who didn’t personally know Gordon Anderson, aka Lone Pigeon, but there weren’t many such people here tonight in a venue littered with ex-Beta Band and Fence Collective members.
For the first half of a two-hour set, Anderson managed about three or four five-minute songs, taking 15 minutes or so between them to show off his array of impressions, acrobatics and general hilarious repartee. It took the phrase ‘shambolic charm’ to new heights.
Then half way through it was as though he was bitten by conscience, and after apologising for so much fooling around he launched into song after song – often ignoring the fact he had broken two guitar strings (having none spare, he soldiered on with four) and a synthesiser he had no clue how to use.
Anderson is often referred to in the press as ‘troubled’, having spent years institutionalised for his mental problems. He remains a peculiar gentleman, but is ‘untroubled’ enough now to have spearheaded The Aliens, his new band, and gain a reputation for an epic live show in the past year.
Variations on Only Waiting, Robot Man. Honest Again and She Don’t Love Me No More sit well entirely stripped down next to the mournful tunes he has penned as Lone Pigeon, such as Boats or the very lovely Waterfall. The contrast between the farcical nature of his conversation and the utter heartbreak and loneliness of his lyrics is stark – this is a man who has run the gauntlet of unhappiness and emerged not entirely unscathed.
Other japes included a waltz through the audience to pillory his Aliens bandmate John Maclean and a wrestle with his mic stand, causing one audience member to take pity and help him out. To allude to another unhinged genius (because genius is what Anderson approaches very often), here is one of the greatest minds of our generation, not quite destroyed by madness… but made all the more fascinating for it.