London SE1 Royal Festival Hall

...It's meant to be really good, this weird shit [B]Cope[/B] pushes; outsider art that by sheer force of personality ([B]Cope[/B]'s) has made it to the Royal Festival Hall. ...

“Brain donor, brain donor, brain donor!” goes the chorus to metal mickey-takers Braindonor‘s second best tune, ‘Braindonor’. It’s a tempting thought. By the end of Cornucopea, this two-night April Fools’ trip inside JULIAN COPE‘s brain, we anticipate with gusto the relief that a lack of pesky senses and higher motor functions might bring.

If we went into Cornucopea on Saturday loving the Drude, we exit on Sunday broken people. It’s meant to be really good, this weird shit Cope pushes; outsider art that by sheer force of personality (Cope‘s) has made it to the Royal Festival Hall.

It’s really not. It’s dreadful.

Julian‘s on form, of course, lighting up the lobby on Saturday evening with guitar and Mellotron versions of ‘Pristeen’ and ‘Upwards At 450’, playing the holy fool. There’s a Krautrock colouring competition in the corner and the smell of sonic adventure in the air.

It proves to be the smell of old men pissing around. THE GROUNDHOGS are revealed to be hoary pub-rock choresmen, rather than the proto-metal underdogs of repute. SKYRAY‘s wishy-washy ambience palls quickly. And as for QUEEN ELIZABETH – aka Cope and Spiritualized‘s Thighpaulsandra – their 45-minute paean to Dead Di, ‘She Diana’, basically amounts to swathes of pointless oscillating.

Bloopy bores COIL plumb even greater depths of arseholery on Sunday, their excellent camp yeti outfits excepted. By mid-Sunday evening, even Cope‘s scattergun charisma begins to resemble the most wrongheaded of ego trips. He lazily reprises his Saturday set, talks extended hippy giblets, and saves a rendition of ‘Sleeping Gas’ with ex-Teardrop Paul Simpson for a welcome finale. It’s the first – and best – of the weekend’s much-vaunted reunions, the second being Kosmische titans ASH RA TEMPEL.

The young Cope loved Ash Ra‘s wigged-out psychedelics, the way they took the MC5‘s proto-punk into orbit. The two nice German men and their onstage NASA pod, however, have other intentions tonight. Namely, noodling proggily like toad-licking maths teachers on a dozen keyboards. And then noodling some more.

This shitshow’s saving grace comes late on Saturday, in lurid face-paint, platform boots and armed with two double-necked guitars. BRAINDONOR are Cope, new Spiritualized axeman Doggen and drummer Kev‘s “bubblegum metal” incarnation, and their Sabbaf-goes-motorik riffery utterly justifies all Cope‘s big, daft ideas. They are a cosmic Kiss on a budget, pillaging garage and glam for divine madness, “false metal” their gonzoid aim. But even taken straight, it’s terrific.

You almost forgive him for the ten hours of unadulterated twaddle surrounding it. But not quite. Kitty Empire