Faithfull, Marianne : London Barbican

...It’s a lot like watching 'Ab Fab'’s Patsy doing karaoke...

[a]Marianne Faithfull[/a]

is famous for knowing other, more famous people. From her teenage dalliances in the 1960s with Mick, Keef and Brian to performing songs written for her by[a]Beck[/a], Blur and [a]Pulp[/a]

on her latest album ‘Kissin’ Time’, the silver-haired hedonist has stretched her 15 minutes thinly across five decades.

That she can pack out a respectable venue such as the Barbican is not sadly a testament to[a]Marianne Faithfull[/a]

’s musical ability; indeed, it’s the songs which largely ruin one’s enjoyment of the evening. Mostly these are played in a

spare, funky indie style and are roasted by[a]Marianne Faithfull[/a]’s catarrhy rasp – the ‘sexy’ voice anyone gets after a lifetime puffing coffin nails. It’s a lot like watching ‘Ab Fab’’s Patsy doing karaoke, especially when her heel snaps and she falls midway through her suite of songs with New York guitar maestro Marc Ribot, or has make-up applied onstage by an assistant.

The bushy-bearded Will Oldham shuffles out for a couple of duets and it’s lovely to hear someone else’s voice; his cracked delivery provides welcome contrast to La[a]Marianne Faithfull[/a]

’s fruity foghorn. [a]Pulp[/a] arrive at the end to save the show from being a total disaster, transforming ‘Sliding Through Life On Charm’, the track Jarvis wrote for [a]Marianne Faithfull[/a], into one of their buoyant electro-rock wig-outs. The evening’s highlight? A joke told to [a]Marianne Faithfull[/a]

by an audience member. What do you call a sheep with no legs? A cloud.

Piers Martin