With his unkempt hair, sticker-covered acoustic and half-filled wine bottle for swilling, Bob Evans looks every bit the perennial student. But as he sheepishly welcomes everyone to the new university year, he recounts his own academic career, which came to an end after “a year and four weeks”. It’s a typical Evans story, marked by the same mixture of humility and easygoing charm that makes his songs so easy to like.
A typically restless student crowd might be mainly here for the gentle beauty of ‘Don’t You Think It’s Time’ and ‘Nowhere Without You’ (and the cheap drinks), which are delivered with aplomb, but it’s the quietly moving B-side ‘Sister’s Wedding Day’ which steals the show. ‘Friend’ also hushes the crowd with its strikingly simple refrain that “I believe in love”, while ‘Me and My Friend’ comes across as the perfect ode to student bars everywhere: “Let’s find somewhere different where the carpet ain’t clean”.
He’s funny too, posing melodramatically in the path of the billowing smoke machine and strumming the opening notes of ‘Tears in Heaven’. In the encore there’s a cover of ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’, which he explains is “completely unrehearsed, so be gentle if I fuck it up”. Kevin Mitchell doesn’t, of course, which is just as well, because as he explains, “I really don’t want to get a real job”.
Originally appeared in: Mess and Noise